Indigenous Top Ten

September 21, 2022

SKG to celebrate grand opening on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (SKG) will be celebrating its grand opening as part of a Commemoration Day being held in Sault Ste Marie. SKG is an Anishinaabe postsecondary institute that is accepting its first cohort this year. The institution’s focus is on preserving the integrity of Anishinaabe knowledge and understanding in cooperation with society to educate present and future generations. The grand opening will include guest speakers, panel discussions, dancers and singers, and guided tours of the building and architecture. “That evening, we are concluding the day at the Silver Creek Golf Course with a spectacular drone show,” said SKG Communication Manager Lindsey Ackland. “Silver Creek is in Garden River First Nation and it will be just beautifully amazing with 200 drones flying over the night sky, telling the story of truth & reconciliation.” Newswire | CTV News (ON)

MNGV, MNBC, Greater Victoria School District co-develop culturally responsive education system for Métis youth

Métis Nation Greater Victoria (MNGV), Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), and the Greater Victoria School District have co-developed a tripartite Métis Education Agreement for Kindergarten through Grade 12. The agreement, which is said to be the first of its kind in Canada, will see the three organizations working together to provide Métis students and their families with culturally relevant education and early learning services. The three parties will provide resources and supports that will foster success for Métis students as they enter the school system, complete each grade, and continue on to postsecondary education. Elders, community members, and staff helped to co-design the agreement, and the Métis House and Greater Victoria School District staff will continue to review topics related to Métis students, curriculum, and representation. “No one knows our Métis children like we do and to be working as true partners in this historic agreement we will make a difference!” said Métis Nation British Columbia Minister of Education Debra Fisher. “In recognizing our shared responsibility in improving educational outcomes for Métis learners … we hope that our work in the Greater Victoria School District sets a higher standard for collaboration and consultation in the Education system.” Nation Talk | SD61 (Agreement) (BC)

PSE hold vigils, pause events in respect of the losses at James Smith Cree Nation, Weldon

Several institutions in Canada have issued statements in response to the losses in the communities of James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon, Saskatchewan. First Nations University held a smudging ceremony and vigils on its campuses, as well as a prayer gathering that was offered with the University of Regina, Luther College, and Campion College in Regina. Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies paused all programs and travel to give its community time to process and grieve together, and held a moment of silence. The University of Saskatchewan postponed several large gatherings and announced new safety measures for events, as well as creating an emergency fund for students who were affected by the violence. Out-of-province institutions such as Yukon University, Assiniboine Community College, and George Brown College also issued statements of support, shared how community members could reach Elders and counsellors on campus as needed, and encouraged the community to take care of one another. FNU | Regina Leader Post | USask | CTV News (USask) | SIIT | Yukon U | ACC | George Brown (National)

Three Indigenous communities, AB form Fort Chipewyan education authority

Leaders from three Indigenous communities in Fort Chipewyan and the Government of Alberta have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a community-based education authority. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Mikisew Cree First Nation, and the Fort Chipewyan Métis will collaborate with AB to develop a framework for collaboration, address mutual concerns, and support students. The education authority will incorporate Indigenous knowledge, wisdom, tradition, and culture into the school curriculum. “We just want to make sure our Indigenous peoples speak for themselves,” said President of the Fort Chipewyan Métis local Kendrick Cardinal. “As time goes on, we’re getting more enhanced with education as well. Indigenous people are becoming smarter, they’re taking a [hold of] their lifestyle and culture, as well as their identity.” AB | Cabin Radio (AB )

ECU adjunct professor steps down following Maclean’s article challenging claims of Indigenous heritage

Emily Carr University Adjunct Professor Gina Adams has resigned from her tenure-track position following the publication of an article in Maclean’s that challenged her Indigenous heritage, reports The Vancouver Sun. The Sun reports that Adams describes herself as a contemporary hybrid artist of Aboriginal descent. Maclean’s writer and former ECU staff member Michelle Cyca discussed Adams’ employment at the university, the accusations levelled against Adams’ claims to Indigenous heritage, and the events that followed. ECU issued a statement indicating that it “takes very seriously the allegations that a member of our faculty made a false claim to Indigenous identity,” and indicated that the university will be undertaking an Indigenous-led external review to secure recommendations on how it can assess identity in a culturally appropriate manner. Maclean’s | ECU | Vancouver Sun (BC)

New Pirurviapik Inuit child-care centre opens in Ottawa

The Inuuqatigiit Centre has opened a new Inuit child-care centre in Ottawa called Pirurviapik, which means “a place to grow” in Inuktitut. The new centre will operate out of a space in the Rideau High School which underwent three years of renovation to fit Inuit design elements. Pirurviapik will provide up to 49 Inuit children between the ages of six months and five years with an environment where they are immersed in Inuktitut and provided with culturally significant toys and games. “The Inuit culture has tried to survive in an urban setting,” said centre executive director Stephanie Mikki Adams. “Ensuring that our children still have the knowledge and capability to speak, write, and understand Inuktitut is very important to ensure that our culture and language thrives.” CBC (ON)

Lakehead, USask, GDI, Lethbridge install symbols promoting reconciliation, awareness on campus

Lakehead University, the University of Saskatchewan, the Gabriel Dumont Institute, and Lethbridge College have installed new symbols and images of reconciliation on campus. Lakehead has unveiled a permanent Every Child Matters crosswalk on the Orillia campus and raised a Survivors’ Flag for the month of September. “The Every Child Matters crosswalks remind us that every child matters and as a post-secondary institution, we must be vigilant in our education, research, outreach, and community service,” said Lakehead Vice-Provost, Indigenous Initiatives Denise Baxter. USask and GDI unveiled a Métis Red River Cart on campus that recognizes the importance of Métis students as well as the relationship between USask, GDI, and Métis Nation—Saskatchewan. Lethbridge College has unveiled a new logo of a bear with an arrow created by Blackfoot artist Monte Eagle Plume for its sports teams and redesigned its gym floor to include new Indigenous images and phrases such as “Welcome to Ohkotoki'aahkkoiyiiniimaan.” TB News Watch (Lakehead) | USask | Lethbridge | Lethbridge News Now (ON | SK | AB)

U of King’s College launches cohort tuition waivers for Mi’kmaw journalism students

The University of King's College has announced that, starting in 2023, it will offer a dedicated cohort program for Mi’kmaw students studying journalism. The institution is dedicating $600K over five years to fully cover tuition for up to three Mi'kmaw students each year who are pursuing a Bachelor of Journalism (Honours). The tuition waiver will ensure that the students, their families, and their communities are not responsible for bearing the financial burden of tuition. Further supports include funding an Indigenous Student Advisor, maintaining a dedicated space for Indigenous students, strengthening relationships with the Elder-in-Residence Program and Indigenous Student Centre at Dalhousie University, and working with Mount Saint Vincent University on making additional resources available to Indigenous students. “Our youth have an interest in this field of study, to tell our stories, create understanding, hold truth to account, and to participate fully in an industry that has typically left Indigenous Peoples and issues underrepresented,” said Post-Secondary Consultant with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Ann Sylliboy. U of King’s College (NS)

Oak Park High School unveils outdoor Indigenous classroom

Oak Park High School in Winnipeg has celebrated the recent unveiling of an outdoor Indigenous classroom. The classroom is designed to be a place for ceremony, authentic teaching, and work toward reconciliation, and is a response to student calls for more engagement with Indigenous practices, traditions, and teachings. It includes a Bison rubbing stone at the centre and an oxcart wheel to honour the Métis people. The classroom’s creation was sparked by ideas shared by Jodi Fourre, who was a Grade 10 student at the time and has since graduated. “I showed them [my ideas] without knowing what would come of them … and now I’m a graduate and I’m sitting here on an idea I made when I was in Grade 10. It’s very inspiring,” said Fourre. CBC | CTV News (MB)

Universities launch Indigenous language initiatives to make learning accessible, fun

Four universities have launched Indigenous language initiatives to teach community members in innovative ways and make learning accessible. The University of Prince Edward Island is offering a free online Mi’kmaw language course to Indigenous PEI community members who want to learn the language, while Laurentian University is hosting an 8-day camp focused on learning the Anishnaabemowin language. Two First Nations University of Canada professors have written and translated a series of First Nations Language readers that tell traditional and new stories in languages such as Cree. Solomon Ratt joined the project to help with writing and translating the fourth book, which he hopes will help people learn to read in Cree. At the University of Victoria, Theatre Professor Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta combined applied theatre techniques with language learning for an Indigenous Theatre Festival called Reawakening Language on Stage. Sadeghi-Yekta led a group of around 60 participants who developed their language skills in Hul’q’umi’num’ in order to perform fully in the language. CBC (UPEI) | Laurentian | CBC (FNU) | UVic (National)