Two sisters who received scholarship money after claiming Inuit identity recently were investigated by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI), where they were enrolled as members, for possible fraud. Nunatsiaq News reports that a woman named Karima Manji claimed that her two daughters, Nadya and Amira Gill, were adopted from an Inuk woman. The two sisters had NTI enrolment cards and studied at Queen’s University, where they both received Indspire awards. Amira also reportedly won HydroOne and RBC scholarships reserved for Indigenous students. APTN News reports that the two sisters have now been removed from the Inuit Enrolment List, and the Kingstonist adds that the woman’s oldest son plans to file a report with the RCMP to investigate the situation further. University of Saskatchewan professor Karla Jessen Williamson, who is an Inuk from Greenland, has called for postsecondary institutions to develop strategies to handle allegations related to individuals claiming Indigenous heritage for financial gain.
Two student housing and dining buildings at the University of Victory have received lək̓ʷəŋən names: Čeqʷəŋín ʔéʔləŋ (Cheko’nien House), which means “Village of Big Fire,” and Sŋéqə ʔéʔləŋ (Sngequ House), which means “snow patches.” The names reflect the lək̓ʷəŋən village sites that were on the same land that the university currently sits on and the surrounding area. “The building names will be a constant reminder of the history of these lands and will hopefully inspire critical reflections and educational opportunities for the campus community,” said UVic VP Indigenous Qwul’sih’yah’maht, Robina Thomas. The lək̓ʷəŋən names were shared by Elder Dr Elmer Seniemten George, one of the last fluent speakers of the language, and revealed after a consultation process between the university and Chiefs and Councils, Elders, and community members.
A mother in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories has expressed outrage after a photo was published online that appears to show her daughter being “dragged” across the parking lot of Líídlįį Kúę Elementary School by a teacher, reports CBC. A person who observed the incident reportedly sent the photo to Shannon Cazon, who identified the child in the photo as her daughter and said that the teacher was not her regular teacher. Cazon says that her daughter no longer wants to go to school and that she has complained of a sore back and neck. Turtle Island News reports that the incident was reported to the RCMP, which investigated but did not lay charges. “This is the kind of stuff that you pray will never happen again in our lifetime, especially most of us coming from residential schools,” said Dehcho First Nations Grand Chief Herb Norwegian. “It’s pretty traumatic for us.” The teacher has reportedly been suspended until the Dehcho Divisional Education Council completes their investigation of the incident.
Collège Nordique francophone and the Tłı̨chǫ Government have signed an agreement to support the teaching of the Tłı̨chǫ language. The agreement will give more people access to Tłı̨chǫ language courses with the aim of encouraging greater enrolment. Course costs will be fully covered for Indigenous community members and the agreement will also provide no-cost training for a Tłı̨chǫ instructor who will teach the language in communities. “This is a partnership that is a testament to our shared commitment to the revitalization of Indigenous languages and reconciliation,” said CNF Executive Director Patrick Arsenault.
The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division (SRSD) Board of Education has approved an education partnership with East Central First Nation Education Authority that will work to better support students and the education system. Three Cree First Nations are in the East Central First Nation Education Authority: Cumberland House Cree Nation, the James Smith Cree Nation, and the Shoal Lake Cree Nation. The agreement must be approved by other parties before it can move forward. “We have got a really good education services agreement that is more than just tuition, so it’s a good place to be,” said Director of Education Robert Bratvold. “[W]e believe that it’s done, that it’s in a good place, and we will have some formal signing of it to ratify it at the end of May.”
A recent study from Statistics Canada has identified several childhood factors that are associated with the high school completion and higher education participation rates of young adults who are First Nations living off-reserve, Métis, or Inuit. The longitudinal study found that factors such as suitable housing, a higher household income, and academic performance are associated with high school completion or higher education. The study also found that older students were more likely to have completed high school or postsecondary than their younger counterparts, which aligns with other research that suggests that not all Indigenous people have a direct path to high school completion.
In a new article from The Conversation, Humber College Professor Louise Zimanyi and Elder and Research Partner Albert D Marshall discuss work on the creation, teaching, and evaluation of a new Two-Eyed Land-Based Play and Co-Learning course in Humber’s early childhood education (ECE) program. Zimanyi and Marshall write that the Two-Eyed Seeing course has inspired a rethinking of Humber’s postsecondary ECE training and its outdoor play. The authors discuss a key approach called “walking together,” which focuses on learning the language of the land, reconnecting with the land, and using two-eyed seeing to restore balance between the natural and human worlds. “Two-Eyed Seeing helps us to know the environment through human eyes while also seeing things from another’s perspective,” write Zimanyi and Marshall. “With this braided knowledge, we are enriched and transformed.”
Université de Moncton’s Shippagan campus and the Esgenoôpetitj First Nation community recently signed an agreement to co-develop an arboretum. The project includes planting over 100 trees and shrubs on campus and creating an Indigenous people’s medicinal plant garden, a wigwam, an outdoor teaching pavilion, an interpretive centre, and walking trails. The arboretum plans focus on reproducing an Acadian forest with 26 species of woody plants, addressing the coastal zone ecological crisis, and acting as a gesture of reconciliation Acadian and Indigenous communities.
Classes at O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation’s Thunderbird School have largely resumed after the school was damaged by heavy snowfall and strong winds. Classes resumed at the school after engineers evaluated the damage, but five classrooms–which Frontier School Division superintendent Reg Klassen estimates is 20% of the school’s capacity–will be closed until repairs are completed. Chief Shirley Ducharme said that the community has been in need of a new school for some time due to structural concerns with the current building, but that disagreements with the federal government over the placement of the school and a water line have delayed the process. Klassen said that in 2018, an architecture firm recommended that the school be demolished; approximately $1M has been spent on repairs to keep it operational.
An initiative launched by two University of New Brunswick students is making learning spaces at the university safer and more inclusive. Student Shilin Pentz created the Heart to Heart program, which is modeled after the Building Bridges program at the University of Saskatchewan and focuses on bridging the knowledge gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Pentz, who is a member of the Indigenous community, worked with student Arnab Mehfuz Taranga to develop a groundwork for the program, including a logo, foundation for the organization, and research on how to present information. Their work resulted in a poster campaign that was displayed in UNB’s Student Union Building, and next year’s activities include plans to engage people in the program. “The most important thing for us was to make sure that we didn’t base our perspectives on outdated information,” said Pentz. “There were times when we would find information in a book, but then two pages later would realize that it was problematic.”