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




Some days, staying inside and out of the hot sun is a good idea. It's always good to give you and your family the chance to rest, relax and recharge, especially during the hot summer months. At ISWO, we know it can feel a little daunting to have to find something to do inside (especially with little ones in the house), so we compiled a list of podcasts, comic books, children's books and YouTube shows to keep you and your family busy, with a little learning and culture mixed right in.  





Canadian Youth Reconciliation Barometer 2019 - Environics Institute


Canada's relationship with the Indigenous Peoples who first inhabited this land continues to be largely unresolved and fraught with controversy. While today's reality is much improved from that of previous generations, there are currently a host of unresolved issues, ranging education reform in Aboriginal communities, proposed pipelines crossing native lands, treaty rights and land claims.

In 2019, where do we stand? The past few years have witnessed many expressed commitments of goodwill and intent, dialogues and discussions have taken place, and programs launched. At the same time, it is unclear what impact these efforts have had, and what progress has been achieved with respect to the awareness, attitudes and actions of individuals, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. And, perhaps most importantly, what is the perspective of the country's youth - the emerging generation on whose shoulders the promise and challenges of reconciliation rests most directly?

The Canadian Youth Reconciliation Barometer is a new social research study intended to establish benchmark indicators for the state of reconciliation among the country's youth that can also provide a foundation for monitoring progress over time. The primary focus of this research is on beliefs, attitudes, priorities, behaviours and experiences as they pertain to relevant dimensions of Indigenous-non-Indigenous relations and reconciliation in particular. This initiative is a joint venture of the Environics Institute for Survey Research, Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE), and the MasterCard Foundation.

Read the full report below: 



Former northern Ontario chief to develop housing centres to 'create a sense of security' for evacuees

The former chief of Kashechewan First Nation is using his experience as an evacuee to help "create a sense of security"  for others who are forced to leave their community during forest fires or other emergency situations.

Derek Stephen said the housing centres will be located in Timmins and Thunder Bay

Christina Jung · CBC News · Posted: Jun 20, 2019 7:30 AM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago 
President of Cree-Ative Structures and former chief of Kasheschewan First Nation, Derek Stephen, said he wanted to "create a sense of security" for evacuees who are forced to leave their homes during an emergency situations. This is one of the proposed permanent housing centres where families can stay together. (Cree-Ative Structures / submitted)

The former chief of Kashechewan First Nation is using his experience as an evacuee to help "create a sense of security"  for others who are forced to leave their community during forest fires or other emergency situations.

Derek Stephen said he got tired of being displaced throughout the province when he and his family were forced to leave their community every year, during the spring flood and is in the process of developing a pair of permanent housing centres in Timmins and Thunder Bay.

"It's always been a personal experience for me since I was a young kid back in 85 when I first got evacuated from my community and also in 76," Stephen explained. "One thing I looked at is all the stress that happens when all families are displaced like grandparents and great-grandparents don't know where their grand-kids end up ... because they are all over Ontario."

Through his company, CREE-Ative Structures, Stephen said he has looked into developing a solution for evacuees in northern Ontario, for the past several years.


Canada, Metis Nation sign PSE sub-accord to improve outcomes of Metis students and programs

The Government of Canada and Metis National Council have signed the Canada-Metis Nation Post-Secondary Education Sub-Accord. The sub-accord comes on the heels of a post-secondary education review announced in Budget 2017 and is described as a "historic step in closing the postsecondary education attainment gap between Metis Nation citizens and non-Indigenous Canadians." The Sub-Accord establishes new approaches for improving the eduation outcomes of Metis students and programs, as well as focusing on student support, community-based programs and services, and governance capacity. "Through this agreement, Metis Nation students will have long overdue equal opportunities to pursue post-secondary education," said Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O'Regan. "I commend our partner, the Metis National Council for providing a brighter future for Metis Nation youth through education, as Canada continues its journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada."

Changes to ON Indigenous curriculum draws praise for content, criticism for optional nature

The Government of Ontario has recently announced the updated Indigenous curriculum, to be launched this September, which has drawn  mixed responses from groups across the province. The new curriculum includes 10 electives in areas such as Canadian Indigenous contributions to art, literature, law, humanities, politics and history. Tungasuvvingat Inuit stated that they are happy to see that several of the recommendations, they made to ON were accepted by the ministry but added that the success of the curriculum will be seen in its delivery. "When we started looking at what was there, predominantly it was through a First Nations lens," said TI Director Jason Leblanc. "For us, we wanted to ensure it would broadly address the Inuit reality." Several critics have panned the decision to make the new courses electives, despite the TRC's recommendation to make Indigenous studies mandatory. "It feels like the anchor's being sent to the bottom," said Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare. "What's going to happen to all these things we've been putting in our education system? Our curriculum, books, starting to write our own language and all that?"

SaskPolytech offering free online Indigenous studies course as part of new strategy

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has launched a new online Indigenous studies course that is available for free to anyone over the age of 13. The single-credit MOOC takes about 15 hours to complete and covers Indigenous history and culture, colonization, and reconciliation. The course focuses in particular on deepening the student's understanding of Indigenous nations of Sask. "I think in the past we've had a gap in our education system around Indigenous studies and the historical perspective of it," said SaskPolytech's Director of Indigenous Strategy Jason Seright. "We're really passionate about that and wanting to maybe close that gap and allow people the opportunity to learn more about the Indigenous groups within Sask."




Canada makes 10-year, $660M commitment to Metis job training

The Government of Canada has made a new 10-year commitment to fund Metis education and training that improves upon past funding arrangements. The new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) Program will replace the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) that Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu stated was not being increased with the cost of living and was not sufficiently flexible. Hajdu explained that increasing the budget was the first step in addressing the systemic racism created by the former ASETS program, followed by increasing the flexibility in how the program funding could be used. "We will be able to go a step further and deeper to actually be able to invest in family to make them stronger. For too long this program has been treated like a bureaucracy with paternal oversight on us because we are not skilled or educated enough to run our own affiars," said Manitoba Metis Federation President David Chartrand. Chartrand noted that the program will create significant new opportunities for support and program development, adding that the 10-year commitment will allow for certainty all around.

Indigenous artis honoured with Edmonton public school naming, AU Arts Honorary degree

Edmonton Public School Board has revealed that one of the schools set to open in 2021 will be named for Alex Janvier from the Cold Lake First Nations. The Alex Janvier School, located in Edmonton's Glenwood neighbourhood, will have an arts focus for students in Grade 4 to 9. "I'd like them to become very successful in their effort of education," said Janvier, who is a member of the group of artists referred to as the Indian Group of Seven. Janvier described how his own father instilled the importance of education in him after he decided to leave art school part way through his 4-year degree program by giving him "all the dirty jobs around the farm." He said to me 'this is the life that you will lead because I've done that all my life. But you, he said, you have an opportunity to change,' said Janvier. "He said you back to schoo. You finish what you started. In real life, he said, you start something-finish it". Global News states that Janvier graduated from the Alberta College of Art and, immediately after graduation, taught community art classes at the University of Alberta. Alberta University of the Arts also recenly conferred its first honorary degree, a Honorary Master of Fine Arts, since transitioning from the Alberta College of Art and Design to Janvier.

Loyalist to offer AFOA Canada's Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager designation

Loyalist College will now be able to offer AFOA Canada's Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager (CAFM) designation. The program will prepare Metis, Inuit, and First Nations students for senior financial management positions in their communities. The program follows AFOA Canada's goal of improving the management skills of those responsible for the stewardship of Indigenous resources. "Collaborating with (...) AFOA Canada gives our students-and the College-a competitive advantage," said Ann Drennan, Loyalist College Senior VP Academic & Chief Learning Officer.

Indigenous housing at CNC to offer students "foundation for success":Lheidli T'enneh Chief

Construction has started on a housing project for Indigenous students at the College of New Caledonia. A release states that the BC government is investing $2.6M into the facilities, which will include 12 furnished student rooms; a suite for an Elder; shared kitchens and living areas; washrooms and laundry facilities; and a designated area for cultural practices, teachings, and activities. "A safe, welcoming and supportive home gives Indigenous students the foundation for continued succes," said Lheidli T'enneh Chief Clayton Pountney. "We've worked closely with our Elders and community members to get to the start of construction and look forward to the completion of the new building."