Indigenous Top Ten

September 7, 2022

Canada provides funds to support events commemorating Truth and Reconciliation for NDTR

The Government of Canada has announced a $4M investment to support events and projects that commemorate Truth and Reconciliation in honour of the upcoming National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Organizations across Canada will use the funding to remember the impact of residential schools and foster healing for Survivors, families, and communities. Schools and education centres from across the country were among those who received funding for the initiatives, including Matthew Halton High School, Allison Bernard Memorial High School, the School District of Mystery Lake, Seven Oaks School Division, the Toronto District School Board, Yellowquill University College, Lakehead University, and the University of New Brunswick. The University of Manitoba: National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation also received over $626K to offer a week’s worth of educational programming called Truth and Reconciliation Week: Remembering the Children. Newswire (National)

NVIT to bring healthcare, technology programs to rural and remote communities

Nicola Valley Institute of Technology has received $3.4M from the Government of British Columbia to purchase mobile training units and bring culturally relevant and responsive training programs to rural and remote Indigenous communities. The units will be used to deliver NVIT’s Health Care Assistant, Access to Practical Nursing, and Foundations in Innovation and Technology programs in rural communities. They feature simulators, beds, computer workstations, multi-media equipment, and more. “Some of our people are stuck in isolated living situations where they want to learn and they want to build careers but they can’t leave home,” stated Lower Nicola Indian Band Chief Kukpi7 Stuart Jackson. “Now with these mobile learning centres we’re going to bring learning to the communities.” BC | Castanet | CFJC Today (BC)

SK to implement Dakota language courses for secondary students

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced that it will be adding Dakota language courses to its secondary school curriculum. The SK Ministry of Education will develop curriculum for Dakota 10, 20, and 30 in collaboration with Dakota Nations over the course of this academic year with the intent of implementing the curriculum in the 2023-24 school year. “The Wahpeton Dakota Nation is pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Ministry of Education in the development of a Dakota language curriculum,” said Chief John Waditaka. “The new curriculum will support the revitalization of the Dakota Language, will provide an authentic Dakota Oyate worldview for the greater provincial student population and will open the doors for further authentic research of the Northern Dakota Peoples.” Prince Albert Daily Herald | Nation Talk (SK)

School meal program initiatives and research launched in SK, MB, BC to improve access

The University of Saskatchewan, Government of British Columbia, and Government of Manitoba have each announced initiatives to ensure that Indigenous students have access to nutritious food during the school day. A research project at USask will focus on the development and testing of a harmonized national food program. The project will focus on schools in Saskatoon and in nine reserve communities in northern Saskatchewan. BC recently invested $60M to expand school meal programs across the province: Districts will ensure that school communities, including local First Nations and Indigenous organizations, have their needs met. MB similarly announced that it would be investing an additional $1.3M to the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba, which supports school divisions across the province, to ensure that children are well-nourished for their days of classroom learning. USask | BC | MB (National)

Chippewas of the Thames roll out big changes to staff model, programming for Antler River Elementary

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and its education board are rolling out big changes for Antler River Elementary. Indigenous language and land-based learning will be at the forefront of the new education model at the elementary school, reports the London Free Press, and the staff and programming have been restructured and redesigned in order to better meet the culture and needs of pupils at the school. “We’re really trying to decolonize our system, not taking the traditional principal-vice-principal-director kind of hierarchy approach,” said education board co-chair JoAnn Henry. Instead, Henry explained, the school is looking at “more of a team-based approach” and has hired co-principals Michelle Brown and Jenna Southen. The school’s new education framework, called RAISE (Representation, Amplify, Inspiration, Support, and Engage and Empower), will also see teachers learning how to reflect on themselves, their pedagogy, and the school system as a whole. The First Nation is also reportedly working with the First Nations With Schools Collective to change the current funding model for First Nations schools and address inequities. London Free press (ON)

FNU receives funding to deliver Dene Teacher Education Program

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced new funding to enable the First Nations University of Canada to deliver the Dene Teacher Education Program (DTEP) in northern communities. The funding will cover the cost of instruction, as well as tuition and books for students. Students will have access to childcare and family support while they study, and graduates will be able to teach the provincial K-12 curriculum in Dene. At the announcement, program graduate Heather Piche reflected on the benefits of the program. “They made it possible for me to get an education at home and helped me succeed because it has our values, the cultural values, our traditions, and our customs,” said Piche. The program is expected to improve teacher recruitment and retention; increase student participation and graduation; and make the transition to postsecondary, training, and the workforce easier. “We have a collective responsibility, as demonstrated in this collaboration, to ensure that Indigenous languages survive as valuable Indigenous knowledges are embedded within them,” FNU President Dr Jacqueline Ottmann. SK | CTV News (SK)

Okanagan launches SISTERS’ program to train Indigenous women in carpentry

Okanagan College is offering a new program that will train Indigenous women in carpentry to meet the labour needs of the region. The SISTERS' program trains students in the basics of carpentry, including how to use tools and work with different materials. Students in the 30-week program will have their tuition sponsored by the Okanagan Training and Development Council, and will additionally receive dedicated funds for textbooks, personal protective equipment, and tools. Supports such as help writing CVs and cover letters and field trips to get to know potential employers will be available to the participants to help them start their career. “Engaging the women in all kinds of things like the subtleties on a job site … really helps the women to have the confidence to go and get those first jobs,” said Okanagan program manager for women in trades Nancy Darling. CBC (BC)

Opaskwayak Cree Nation youth shares love of science through social media

A youth from Opaskwayak Cree Nation is sharing his love of science with other kids using videos published across social media. Simon Monteith – who goes by the moniker “Simon the Scientist” – began making videos on science to share with others at the beginning of the pandemic, when he was inspired to explain the virus to other kids. Monteith is now an award-winning creator who focuses on reaching children from Indigenous communities with educational videos produced in his kitchen. “I like to look at things from two or more perspectives,” said Monteith, who looks at science from a First Nations perspective. So far, he has produced around 60 videos to explain content on a variety of topics, including geology, technology, and chemistry. “It wasn’t really a specific thing that made me interested in science,” said Monteith. “It’s just sort of who I am.” CBC | Winnipeg Free Press (Acct. Req.) (MB)

UNBC, Mitacs partner to create Indigenous Research Ambassador Program

The University of Northern British Columbia and Mitacs have partnered on a new Indigenous Research Ambassador Program. Indigenous students will be able to take advantage of 10 research internships and 12 scholarships as they learn how to introduce culturally sensitive and collaborative, community-based research tools to other students. The program will also engage students in learning opportunities, foster connections to researchers and communities, and provide leadership and mentorship opportunities. “Partnerships on such critical areas of need are vital to advancing Truth and Reconciliation while also providing rich, experiential learning opportunities for UNBC students,” said UNBC President Dr Geoff Payne. UNBC | CKPG Today (BC)

SIIT, FNCIAS partner to build Public Works Manager capacity in First Nations

The Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies and First Nations Capital and Infrastructure Agency of Saskatchewan (FNCIAS) have announced a partnership that will build programming and training capacity in member First Nations. SIIT will design a new Public Works Manager curriculum and program that will focus on cultivating capacity in the sector. The program will aim to meet the training needs of Indigenous communities in SK. FNCIAS will provide funds to support SIIT’s development of the program. SIIT | Nation Talk (SK)