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



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."

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The Globe in Thunder Bay

Hate and hope in Thunder Bay: A city grapples with racism against Indigenous people

In this Ontario city, racism against Indigenous people has taken a deadly toll. Police and political leaders are being asked to do better. How they respond could shape the future of reconciliation in Canada.


Thunder Bay

'We want them to connect:' First Nations student orientation aims to address youth inquest

A First Nations education facility in Thunder Bay has welcomed 16 new students from remote northern communities to a new city orientation program.

Students will take part in various activities and tours to familiarize themselves with Thunder Bay

Adam van der Zwan · CBC News · Posted: May 08, 2019 9:30 AM ET | Last Updated: 5 hours ago
Students from northern First Nations gather at the Matawa Education Centre in Thunder Bay to begin a five-day city orientation. (Adam van der Zwan/CBC)

A First Nations education facility in Thunder Bay has welcomed 16 new students from remote northern communities to a new city orientation program.

The group of teenagers gathered in a large room at the Matawa Education Centre Monday to begin the week-long event, which is in response to the inquest into the deaths of seven First Nations youth who died while attending high school in Thunder Bay.

Brad Battiston, the principal at the centre, said that, through fun activities such as bowling, swimming and city tours, the initiative intends to "give as much information as possible to students and parents," about the city and what kind of supports are available to them.

Many of the students may return to Thunder Bay for school in September.

Every year, youth from northern First Nations leave their homes and families for months to attend school thousands of kilometres away. Many of them have never set foot in a large city. Matawa hosts orientation session for new students. Grade 8 students get familiar with Thunder Bay and their new school at an orientation held by the Matawa Education Centre. Principal Brad Battiston hopes it will help students become more comfortable with moving south. Further deaths could be prevented. Battiston said that further deaths may be prevented by helping the students familiarize themselves with their new surroundings before moving south. "The recommendation is to try and paint as clear a picture as possible of what life would be like coming to high school here," he explained. It's important for them to "see the size of it, [...] to walk those hallways and to visualize," themselves living in Thunder Bay in a few months time. During the week, students will have the chance to tour city institutions such as the library, city hall and a couple of the high schools. They'll also partake in archery lessons with the Thunder Bay Police Service, and will eat a lunch and dinner sponsored by the city. Audio Year-2 report into 7 Indigenous youth inquest recommendations shows progress, report finds Battiston said the hope is that students will "connect in some way" with what school they'd like to go to, and with any other aspect of Thunder Bay, be it sports or cultural programs. It's also important that students be "aware of the allenges and possible negative experiences that can happen," in Thunder Bay, he added. Battiston said many of the students who'd arrived seemed nervous at the prospect of being in a school with up to 1,000  other students, "but there seems to be a lot of eagerness; there's a lot of curiosity." He said he hasn't yet heard if the program will receive the funding to continue next year, but is hoping to "hear about that shortly. "It does require a lot of planning [and] significant funding to fly the students in from the communities, to stay in the hotel," he said. "But we'd love for it to continue." Matawa Learning Centre says more eyes on city watercourses have saved lives



UNCEDED – Voices of the Land

Special Exhibition

UNCEDED – Voices of the Land

May 3, 2019 to March 22, 2020

What do Indigenous thinking and spirituality bring to the world of architecture? UNCEDED – Voices of the Land is a breathtaking multimedia installation that brings together the past, present and future of the Indigenous experience, as seen through the eyes and minds of 18 distinguished Indigenous architects and designers from across Turtle Island (North America).

Led by world-renowned Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal and co-curated by Gerald McMaster and David Fortin, UNCEDED speaks to the contribution of Indigenous architects in shaping our world with their vision, creativity and technical skills — but above all through their connection to the land and traditional ways of knowing. Organized around four themed territories, the installation features the work of architects and designers as they tell their stories of Indigeneity, resilience, sovereignty and colonization.

UNCEDED was created to represent Canada at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the most prestigious architectural exhibition in the world.

“I firmly believe that the Indigenous world view, which has always sought this balance between nature, culture and technology, is the path that humanity must rediscover and adopt for our future. The teachings of the Elders are not the teachings of the past. They are the teachings of the future.” — Douglas Cardinal, Blackfoot, Red Deer, Alberta

“Our exhibit is about storytelling. You can’t look at a building without hearing the dances. You can’t look at a building without seeing the landscape behind it or beside it. You can’t look at a building without hearing the voice of the architect and them referencing their families.” — David Fortin, Métis Nation of Ontario

“A new critical dialogue is emerging among Indigenous artists and architects, such as the value of traditional knowledge in the face of hyper-capitalism, solidarity between Indigenous peoples, and a search for strategies of decolonization.” — Gerald McMaster, Plains Cree and member of the Siksika First Nation, Alberta

An exhibition developed by Douglas Cardinal Architect Inc. and adapted by the Canadian Museum of History.