The Government of Manitoba has increased funding for 27 adult literacy and learning centre operators to support increased enrolment and improved services. Brandon Friendship Centre Inc and Yellowquill College have each received a 5.7% increase in funding to expand their programming. North End Literacy Programs LWG will receive a 3.1% increase to support Indigenous learners. The Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development will receive $25K to support its adult learning centre and adult literacy program. “Adult literacy and learning centres provide a critical service to adults who need to improve their skills to fully participate in our economy,” said MB Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister John Reyes. “This funding will ensure we can support increased enrolments at certain centres and improve services at others to serve their clients better.”
The University of Northern British Columbia has embarked on two projects related to health care in the north. UNBC, the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, and Northern Health have collaboratively launched a Northern Centre for Clinical Research (NCCR). The centre will create more opportunities for clinical and biomedical research in northern British Columbia by supporting research relevant to northern, remote, and Indigenous populations; rural health workers; and research training and mentorship for students, healthcare workers, and health investigators. UNBC has also received $1M over two years for the Hearts-based Education and Anticolonial Learning (HEAL) health care project. The project focuses on improving health outcomes for Indigenous people by providing training and education to healthcare students and professionals on how to end racism and discrimination.
Parts of an Indigenous science framework were removed from Ontario’s elementary science curriculum by the Government of Ontario before its release in March, reports the Globe and Mail. The revisions removed three expectations for students: Applying ways of knowing such as Two-Eyed Seeing, examining knowledge systems, and analyzing the contributions of those with diverse experiences. Instead, the Globe reports that the expectations were condensed into a more general statement, which means they will not be part of the curriculum’s broader core values. “Indigenous knowledge systems that have been tested and true over thousands of years and have a lot to offer in terms of innovation, design, technology,” said Jodie Williams, co-chair of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Association of Ontario. “It’s just frustrating because it’s a missed opportunity.”
Indigenous spaces at schools in Parry Sound and Kingston have been targeted with vandalism. The shaputuan at Parry Sound High School, which served as a safe space for Indigenous students, was vandalized twice. The second act of vandalism included a noose hanging in the entrance of the shaputuan, and footage of the act was not available because the cameras were broken. North Bay Nipissing reports that students feel the incident was mishandled and questioned why the security cameras had not been repaired. An elementary school medicine garden at JR Henderson Public School was vandalized over the Canada Day long weekend. Vandals overturned planters containing sweet grass and sage, which had been planted in a ceremony with Indigenous knowledge keepers. The garden will be replanted so that students can continue learning using the garden in the Fall.
Three initiatives supporting the preservation of Indigenous archival material and knowledge have been launched at postsecondary and research institutions. Mount Allison University has partnered with Membertou Development Corporation to return a collection of over 250 Indigenous artifacts and photographs to their home. The collection – which includes prehistoric tools, weapons, pipe bowls and stems, and beads – will now be part of Membertou Heritage Park’s collection where they will be used to teach about Mi’kmaw history. Nunavut Arctic College and Memorial University have partnered on research exploring Inuit Qaujimanituqangit (IQ) (traditional knowledge) in Nunavut institutional research. The project examines trends, needs, and outlooks in Nunavut and will work to gather, preserve, and digitize archival material about life in the north while helping community partners to become their own researchers and preservers of IQ. In Cape Breton, a new $4.8M, net-zero building will be constructed along Crane Cove and will house the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources and the Mi’kmaq Environmental Learning Centre. The building will be used by the region’s Indigenous communities as they collect and preserve traditional Mik’kmaw knowledge.
In a recent article for The Conversation, Caitlin Harvey discusses how public universities founded in the 19th century in countries like Canada directly benefitted from the dispossession of Indigenous people. Harvey writes that public universities received large tracts of Indigenous territory for endowment capital, as land could be given as a substitute for money. In Canada, Harvey notes that the University of Toronto’s predecessor, King’s College, received 225,000 acres; the University of Manitoba received an endowment of 150,000 acres; and the University of British Columbia exchanged land that was originally reserved for higher learning in BC for 3,000 acres of more valuable but unceded territory. Harvey writes that the land has been reshaped by universities by research in agricultural science and inventions such as mining technology. This pattern should be further explored, she concludes, in order to better understand how empire, colonialism, and Indigenous dispossession operated.
Queen’s University has released a report that includes seven recommendations to address Indigenous identity fraud. The report follows a pledge that Queen’s made in 2021 to review how it assesses Indigenous identity claims. All seven recommendations in the report have been accepted by Queen’s, including the implementation of a department of Indigenous studies; recommendations around who can be considered qualified for a teaching position meant for an Indigenous person; and the rejection of affiliations with the Ardoch First Nation, which is a non-status community. The university announced that it would establish an Indigenous Oversight Council to work on an approach to Indigenous identity, which will be an Indigenous-led process. CBC reports that several Indigenous academics described the report as promising and validating, although there are outstanding questions about how the oversight committee will be established and if it will be able to work in a timely way to address the concerns in the report.
Several schools have announced new spaces and installations on campus that are intended to support and recognize their Indigenous communities. St Francis Xavier University has created a new medicine garden that will provide a space on campus for students, staff, and faculty to practice their culture. In Sundridge, Ontario, Sundridge Centennial Public School has unveiled an environmental outdoor classroom that will provide a place for students to connect to the land and traditional teachings, while in Southampton, ON, the installation of a Reconciliation crosswalk that will be used as a teaching tool has been approved at G C Huston school. At the University of Winnipeg, a new mural has been installed that features UWinnipeg Wesmen athletes Robyn Boulanger and Josh Gandier, who are both recognized as Indigenous role models. In British Columbia, students at Chemainus Secondary School have completed an Indigenous-themed mural that was inspired by guest speaker Elder Florence James.
Four First Nations recently celebrated the conclusion of self-government agreements that will give them authority over their K-12 education systems. The Cowichan Tribes, Lil’wat Nation, ʔaq’am, and Seabird Island now have law-making authority regarding teacher and school certification, graduation requirements, curriculum, and course approvals. The First Nations Education Authority (FNEA) has also been established, which will help the First Nations to expand their capacity to offer education on their land. “It has been a long journey to assert our own governance in education,” said FNEA President Stephanie Atleo. “With the achievement of education jurisdiction and our new law-making authority, we are fundamentally changing the system and taking an important step to asserting our rights as Indigenous peoples.”
Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN-S) has announced a $3.5M investment into a new Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Community Enhancement Program. Through the program, Métis Locals will be provided with up to $50K to support the enhancement or development of early learning programs and services such as Métis language programs, Elder programming, and land-based education. The investments will help provide Métis children with better access to high-quality education. “Métis language programs, learning from our Elders, and land-based learning leads to Métis children grounded in our Métis culture, values and language,” said MN–S President Glen McCallum. “Gifting our children with pride in their Métis Identity strengthens our Métis Nation.”