Update on things happening in Rotary and indigenous communities, including current events – Rotary luncheons with guest speakers, open community and cultural gatherings, etc.



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IndEdu200x: Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education

Engage with Indigenous knowledge keepers, educational leaders, and resources to enhance your understanding and knowledge of practices that advance reconciliation in the places where you live, learn, and work.


This course will help you envision how Indigenous histories, perspectives, worldviews, and approaches to learning can be made part of the work we do in classrooms, organizations, communities, and our everyday experiences in ways that are thoughtful and respectful. In this course, reconciliation emphasizes changing institutional structures, practices, and policies, as well as personal and professional ideologies to create environments that are committed to strengthening our relationships with Indigenous peoples.

For educators, this means responding to educational reforms that prioritize improved educational outcomes for Indigenous learners. In addition, educators must support all learners to develop their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous people’s worldviews and cultures as a basis for creating equitable and inclusive learning spaces. To support these goals, teachers, administrators, young people, school staff, and researchers will learn from Indigenous Elders, educational leaders, and culturally relevant learning resources as part of their experiences in this MOOC.

For others who want to build their own competence and the capacity of those around them to engage in relationships with Indigenous peoples based on intercultural understanding, empathy, and respect, this course will help get you started in this process.



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Dr. Jan Hare

Course Dates:

Oct 23 - Dec 4, 2018


6 weeks

Estimated time:

2-4 hours/week

Canada's youth will be the ones to chart a way forwardfor reconciliation: FineDay

There is reason for optimism in the fact that Canada's youth will be key to the cause of reconciliation, says Max FineDay, executive director of the Canadian Roots Exchange. "When Canadians are polled, it's young people that are the most optimistic that reconciliation can be achieved in their lifetime," says FineDay, noting that each generation has a different idea of what reconciliation should look like. FineDay says that Canada's Millennials will begin to shape a path forward in coming years, and will focus on building a national network of passionate people who are willing to learn from each other and help adapt solutions that have previously been successful in other communities across the country. FineDay concludes that Canada is at a critical juncture in the process of reconciliation, one in which it can either continue moving forward or retrench in the colonial mindset.

Kainai First Nations athlete calls on McGill to change Redmen name

An athlete on McGill University's rowing team is calling on the university to change the Redmen team name. "Listening to the experiences of other varsity athletes throughout the university and other Indigenous students on campus, I thought it was important to orchestrate a movement where we could demonstrate our discontent with the continued usage of the Redmen name," said McGill student Tomas Jirousek, who is from the Kainai First Nation in Southern Alberta. McGill interim Student Life and Learning Deputy Provost Fabrice Labeau explained that the name stems from colours worn by the team, but that Indigenous symbols, connotations, and unofficial nicknames were propagated by the media and fans. McGill's taskforce on Indigenous studies and Indigenous education released a report last year that included a call for the varsity teams' name to be changed within one to two years of the report. "We are very proud of our curent and former student athletes and their achievements;" said Labeau, "but we are also aware, as is any organization, of the fact that some portions of our history may not reflect current values, and of the need to reconcile past and present."

Seneca opens Odeyto centre

Seneca College has officially opened its new Indigenous centre at its Newnham campus. The multipurpose space is named after the Anishnaabe word "Odeyto," which means "the Good Journey". The centre features an office space, a computer lab, a kitchen and dedicated space for Indigenous elders. "The structure looks like a canoe resting on its side and the curvature of the roof mimics the position of the sun on June 21, the annual National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada," explained Seneca associate dean of student services and Indigenous education Mark Solomon. "A neon sign created by the Cree visual artist Joi Arcand is among the Indigenized features inside Odeyto. It's truly a home for our Indigenous students."







Youth suicide in Ontario First Nation underscores 'fourth world' conditions, MPP says

A northern Ontario MPP says the suicide of a 13-year-old girl almost three weeks ago in Bearskin Lake First Nation underscores the widespread "inequity" in remote communities.

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa rose in legislature in September, spoke of 13-year-old's suicide

Matt Prokopchuk · CBC News · Posted: Oct 09, 2018 7:30 AM ET | Last Updated: 11 hours ago
Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa says he will continue to raise the issue of on-reserve conditions at Queen's Park. (Matt Prokopchuk / CBC)

A northern Ontario MPP says the suicide of a 13-year-old girl almost three weeks ago in Bearskin Lake First Nation underscores the widespread "inequity" in remote communities.

"The MPPs and the people down here, they're very unaware of what's happening in the backyard of Ontario," Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa said, adding that includes knowledge of, and issues surrounding, "the inequity, the inequality that exists."

Mamakwa rose at Queen's Park on Sept. 20, and spoke about the death of Karlena Kamenawatamin, 13, by suicide, pressing the Ontario government to do more to stop the "pandemic" of Indigenous youth suicides. After that day's session, Mamakwa said that he spoke with Lisa MacLeod, the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and Greg Rickford, the Indigenous Affairs Minister.

The New Democrat MPP said the discussions surrounded how to best help the community in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Moving forward, Mamakwa said conditions on-reserve and how to best address them need to stay among the legislature's priorities.

Those include access, not only to mental health, but healthcare in general, education, safe housing, clean drinking water and economic development, he said.

"Some of the stuff that's happened, I kind of put it in a fourth-world condition, whereby it's third-world conditions sometimes in a rich province like Ontario," he said.

"And I want to be able to bring attention to these issues and ... we talk about access to health, First Nations communities are a minus in that regard."

Mamakwa added that many communities struggle with the other social basics, like access to education and secure living conditions.

"Sometimes the systems that are there forget our people," he said. "I realize these are colonial systems; I realize the structures that are in place, the policies, the programs, do not reflect the needs of our people and they don't ... work with us."



New training program aims to tackle housing crisis in northern First Nations

A partnership of the University of Manitoba, the Anokiiwin Training Institute and Garden Hill and Wasagamack First Nations will employ 20 students from each community to build four homes for residents.

Program will train 40 students to build homes from ground up

CBC News · Posted: Oct 09, 2018 12:16 PM CT | Last Updated: 5 hours ago
A team of architects and architecture students recently visited two remote First Nations to help people design homes in their communities. It's part of a housing initiative called Boreal Homebuilders that will train 40 students to build homes from the ground up. (Submitted by Kaoru Ryan Suzuki)

An innovative new training program aims to address the housing crisis in remote First Nations by using materials and residents who are already in the communities.

A group of 20 students from Garden Hill First Nation and another 20 from Wasagamack First Nation will learn how to build homes in their communities as part of Boreal Homebuilders, a partnership of the University of Manitoba, the two communities and the Anokiiwin Training Institute.


Over the course of 15 months, the students will receive vocational training on how to build houses from start — cutting the preparing the timber themselves — to finish, with each community ultimately getting two new houses. 

U of M Prof. Shirley Thompson visited the communities with architects and architecture students last week to start developing the houses and designing them in culturally appropriate ways. 

Thompson is impressed by the designs students came up with. (Submitted by Kaoru Ryan Suzuki)

Three national FNMI groups partner with federal government to improve early learning and child care

The Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Metis National Council, and the Government of Canada have partnered to strengthen early learning and child care programs and services for Indigenous children and families in 2018-19. The Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework establishes a vision for happy and safe Indigenous children and families, strong cultural identity, and an Indigenous-led system with accessible, flexible, and inclusive early learning child care. "Access to high-quality, appropriate and culturally-rooted early learning and child care is a fundamental component in achieving social equity and improving socio-economic outcomes for Inuit in Canada," said ITK President Natan Obed. "Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami has been proud to provide Inuit-specific guidance to the Framework and looks forward to continued collaboration on ensuring the vision it sets out is realized for Inuit children and families across Canada." The federal government has announced a commitment of $1.7B over 10 years to this initiative, an amount that is part of the $7.5B over 11 years that it committed in Budget 2016.


New survey highlights areas of greatest need for supporting Indigenous postsecondary students

A new survey by Indspire has found that Indigenous students continue to face barriers when it comes to accessing postsecondary education. Indspire President Roberta Jameson stated that the survey revealed the areas where institutions and government need to improve, particularly in the areas of financial supports, adequate supports for Indigenous student services staff, increased Indigenous content in programs, and more role models and menotrs. "We are making gains, that is clear," said Jameson. "But Indigenous students need us to join hands with others show them we can together meet their needs and ensure reconciliation is a vital part of their post-secondary spaces." The surveyed students also shared the positive experiences that they had had with having access to Indigenous student services and spaces on campus.


Ryerson partners with NAN to address housing crisis, announces Yellowhead first research fellows

Ryerson University's Together Design Lab and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation have launched a partnership to address the desperat,"e housing crisis plaguing the Nation's 49 communities. The partners will consult with NAN residents to hear about their needs and develop a comprehensive housing strategy using their ideas on how these needs can be addressed. "There is no one solution to the housing crisis," said TDL director Shelagh McCartney, who led a recent pilot study into the ongoing housing crisis in Indigenous communities. "If you truly want to fix this housing crisis, you need to be developing metrics and policies that address it on the ground." Ryerson's Yellowhead Institute also recently announced its 15 inaugural research fellows, who will be working with the Insitute to support First Nation assertions of self-determination, engaging in public education, research and analysis on Indigenous Policy.