Indigenous Top Ten

November 16, 2022

NCTR receives $28M for work with historical records, initiatives

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), which is housed at the University of Manitoba, will be receiving $28M in new funding from the Government of Canada over five years. The funding will support the NCTR’s work collecting, reviewing, and making available historical records, survivor statements, and sacred items; efforts to locate and memorialize missing children and unmarked burials; and initiatives such as the National Advisory Committee on Missing Children and Unmarked Burials. “At its core, this funding is an investment in healing for residential school survivors, and families, for communities and for our relationship with the people of Canada,” said residential school survivor Brian Normand. CBC reports that NCTR is also continuing work on its new, permanent home on a former golf course near the university. The new location will provide a place for people from around the world to learn about residential schools and the wider history of colonialism. Winnipeg Free Press (Sub. Req.) | CBC | NCTR (MB)

Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, PEI sign MOU to work together to promote treaty education

The Epekwitk Assembly of Councils and the Government of Prince Edward Island have signed a Treaty Education Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will see the partners working together on curriculum, programs, and projects. The partners will develop treaty education curriculum that will be used in schools and will collaborate on treaty education programs and projects that will reach civil servants and Islanders. “Epekwitk is home to all Islanders, and it is vital that we take time to acknowledge and learn about our true shared history,” said Chief Junior Gould of Abegweit First Nation. “We can accomplish so much when we work together in peace and friendship, as our ancestors intended when they signed the Peace and Friendship Treaties.” PEI | CTV News (PEI )

UNB launches Nutsihpiluwewicik (Indigenous) admission pathway for Indigenous nursing applicants

The University of New Brunswick has launched a new admissions pathway to help increase the number of Indigenous nurses practicing in the province. The Nutsihpiluwewicik (Indigenous) admission pathway will allow applicants with Indigenous ancestry to undergo a review by an Indigenous selection committee. Students will still write the Casper Situational Judgement Test, but will participate in the pathway rather than having their test scores count toward admission. UNB partnered with the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre and Nutsihpiluwewicik (Healing Clan) to create the pathway. “It is important that we expand the number of Indigenous nurses, and to do so in a way that recognizes the value of Indigenous knowledge,” said UNB VP Saint John Dr Petra Hauf. The university has also increased Indigenous student enrolment to 10% in each nursing program in order to help the provincial workforce more accurately represent the Indigenous population. UNB (NB)

Anishinabek Nation launches secondary school treaty education resource

The Anishinabek Nation has launched a new secondary school public education resource in recognition of the 7th Annual Treaties Recognition Week. The online resource Gdoo-Sastamoo Kii Mi: Understanding our Nation-to-Nation Relationship builds on an existing teachers’ kit and connects with the Ontario curriculum to raise awareness about treaties, mutually respectful relationships, responsibilities, and obligations. The resource is developed with diverse learners in mind so it can be brought into a variety of different classrooms. “It is so important to bring Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and community voices into all classrooms,” said Treaty educator Kelly Crawford. “Students need to understand different worldviews and be taught accurate histories of these lands. This resource guides the user to engage in learning and encourages them to ask hard questions. Having the resource online increases accessibility.” Nation Talk | Anishinabek Nation (Resource) (ON)

MMF celebrates official opening of Elbert Chartrand Child Care Centre

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) has celebrated the official opening of a new childcare facility in Swan River called the Elbert Chartrand Child Care Centre. The facility has space for 40 infant and pre-school-aged children and will provide culturally-focused programming celebrating the language, culture, and heritage of the Red River Métis. In addition to meaningful daily activities and land-based learning, the facility will offer parenting programs such as the Little Métis Literacy Program, Super Dad, and Super Kids. “These centres ensure our children will grow up with pride and understanding of who they are and what it means to be Red River Métis,” said MMF Minister of Early Learning & Child Care Frances Chartrand. “The centres also offer permanent and well-paid employment for child care workers, which creates economic spinoffs like giving families an income that can be used to purchase or upgrade homes, save for their children’s education, or perhaps even pursue education themselves.” Nation Talk (MB)

Federal government funds creation of Inuit Research Network

The Government of Canada has provided $6.4M to fund the creation of an Inuit Research Network through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) stated that the network would help Inuit define research priorities and support self-determination in the face of the unique issues and challenges they face in health research. ITK President Natan Obed told CBC that conducting research through an Inuit-specific lens will lead to a better understanding of and solutions to Inuit health concerns. "I think this funding will help in a number of ways that perhaps we can't even imagine at this very moment," said Obed. "Inuit are not looking for a completely separate approach to research, we are working with institutions, we are providing an Inuit-specific lens to the work we do." The funding will be distributed to the four Inuit regions and their land claims organizations, which will receive the funding through ITK. The Network builds on ITK's National Inuit Strategy on Research. CBC | The Star (National)

Northern MB high school closes for weeks due to mould issue

Garden Hill First Nation High School in Northern Manitoba has been closed for weeks due to a mould issue, reports CBC, and community members are calling for the issue to be addressed as soon as possible. The school, which has around 500 students, closed on October 9th. The community has not found another suitable space in which to teach the students. Garden Hill Chief Charles Knott expressed frustration with the government’s response and has reached out to Indigenous Services Canada’s regional director general to ask for assistance. “We need our students to go back to school,” said Knott. “[Students] have been missing school for the past three years, two years. When the pandemic hit, kids weren’t in school, and now this.” CBC (MB)

USask shares report addressing broader issue of Indigenous identity fraud in academia

A new report commissioned and released by the University of Saskatchewan addresses the broader problem of Indigenous identity fraud in academia. Report author and Métis lawyer Jean Teillet discussed how universities have taken positive action by creating positions for Indigenous individuals, but issues arose when they relied on self-identification to fill these positions and underestimated how this would be exploited. “It’s poison,” said Teillet. “It seeps out everywhere and then everybody is tainted by it and everybody’s damaged.” Teillet explained that universities tend to be ignorant of the complexities of Indigenous identity, resulting in inadequate checks and balances for detecting fraud. In the case of USask, Teillet encouraged the institution to take actions such as employing clear standards and warnings when handling false claims at the institution, creating a dedicated complaints process for false claims, and taking steps to evaluate how the university’s culture may undermine its Indigenization Strategy and Indigenous members. USask | CBC | Brandon Sun | Nation Talk (SK) P.S. USask has now implemented its Indigenous membership/citizenship verification policy and launched the deybwewin | taapwaywin | tapwewin: Indigenous Truth policy website to share information about it. USask

MB, Canada invest over $70M to create new child-care spaces in rural, First Nations communities

More than 1,200 new child-care spaces will be created in Manitoba’s rural and First Nations communities, thanks to joint funding of $70M from the federal and provincial governments. The funding will support the creation of modular child-care facilities that will be created in or transported to communities such as Portage la Prairie and Peguis First Nation. The buildings for the first nine communities are expected to be fully open by next summer, while the sites for the last eight facilities will be identified by the spring. “Families living in rural areas face unique child-care challenges, especially if the nearest child-care centre is far from their home or there aren’t enough children nearby to make a full-time care centre sustainable,” said federal parliamentary secretary Ya’ara Saks. Global News | Nation Talk (MB)

Schools open Indigenous-focused centres, spaces

Schools across Canada have opened new Indigenous-focused centres and spaces. Western University has opened a new centre for Indigenous learning called the Wampum Learning Lodge. The lodge supports Indigenous ways of knowing and provides a safe space for Indigenous people and allies to learn and share together, and includes gathering spaces, a medicine garden, kitchen, a wellness room, an outdoor classroom, and more. Cambrian College has unveiled a new facility called Wiidokaazawin (The Gathering Space), which is designed to encourage cultural exchange and partnership. The space is modeled after the medicine wheel, and includes a large, circular table at its centre that facilitates inclusion and equality. Sexsmith Secondary School in Alberta has opened a new Indigenous culture space in its library that showcases the Seven Sacred Teachings, ceremonial items, artwork, and more. “[We] realized Sexsmith Secondary School needed an infusion of Indigenous culture and education,” said Sexsmith teacher Angela Creighton, who partnered with another teacher to start the project. Western | London Free Press (Western) | The Sudbury Star (Cambrian) | EverythingGP (Sexsmith) (ON | AB)