Editorial: Thoughts on Reconciliation

A Journalism student, also host of Avocado Days a one-hour show on Calgary’s 90.9 CJSW FM Radio

Reconciliation, in it’s most basic definition, is when two opposing parties agree to an amicable truce. This is best done when both parties are open to exploring different ways of doing things. With this openness to learn, a dialogue is created, and a kind of symbiosis occurs between the two sides. They are now forming thoughts, beliefs, plans, and ideas together. They are changing. They are growing. They are becoming one.

Genuine reconciliation is best achieved through the cooperation of all, and cannot be the sole responsibility of our government, administrative heads, or “Her Majesty the Queen”.

“Each person has an important role to play in reconciliation. Reconciliation begins with oneself and then extends into our families, relationships, workplaces, and eventually into our communities,” expresses Reconciliation Canada, a First Nation-led organization that strives to build a better relationship among all Canadians. Their “Walk For Reconciliation” in Vancouver on September 24th encourages people to be as one, transforming and renewing the archaic race barriers legislated inside all treaties made by the Canadian government. These race barriers include enforcing the First Nations to be on reservations, accept rations, to abide by the laws of “Her Majesty the Queen”, and to acknowledge “Christ the Lord” as the single spiritual divinity.

All of this is still here today. The government and law enforcement mandate the use of the Bible – pledging themselves to tell the truth under “God”. Laws are enforced upon us, and we now dwell in this society riddled with rules and regulations. The First Nation reserves received rations way back when. They got food, building supplies, a promise to be educated (which took on the form of residential schooling), money, ammunition, farming assistance, freedom to hunt, and the bare minimum of essentials to live in the society that was going to be built around them.

Living in that exact society today, we receive money from past promises – for secondary education, building houses, health, and reserve operations. We also receive money as a form of apology. The government feels that each hundred they give will eventually clean the blood off their hands. This money is put into the hands of Chief and Council, whose ancestors blood it was. They take it and use it for whatever, and it never feels right. They keep doing it, anyways, because what else are they going to do? Fight about it? That’s been done. Fighting just doesn’t work. For now, they know what once was is gone forever, and it is important to move on. So we accept the money, but there’s something always missing in every cent spent, and every cent spent sedates us more and more. Today, we’ve become comfortable in this new system of wealth, and it rules our every move, and every decision. We’re a colonized nation inside Canada.

This is not to say that there aren’t positive aspects of colonization. International trade is a thing of beauty, and to travel overseas in a matter of hours is, too. Playgrounds of knowledge (universities, colleges, technical institutes) exist now – we can learn anything! We’ve got the internet, bikes, coffee, pizza, indoor plumbing, antibiotics, films, a diverse array of music, books, clothing, and art. However, we cannot be blinded by these material indulgences and conveniences. There are terrible things that have happened so we can have these things. We’ve hurt Mother Earth, used Her, abused Her, and have decided that we can pave over Her. We’ve decided that we do not need Her to make decisions, and all we need is man-made things like oil refineries, and food, clothing, and supply industries. We’ve become a nation divided by race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and wealth. We abide by land borders, “Her Majesty’s” law, and westernized governing systems.

Things are getting better, though. First Nation led movements such as Idle No More, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and pipeline protests have seen a surge in media presence. This has given First Nations more visibility, and therefore more of an opportunity to speak and be heard. Non First Nation people are listening, and are becoming less and less ignorant to what has happened in the past. They hear the truth, want to learn more, and to understand how to reconcile.

It is impossible to get back all that once was, but we can accept what has happened, and move forward together. That is why education is so important. It provides all with the opportunity to learn of the effects of colonization. The good, and the bad. It allows all to understand what previous First Nation leaders meant when they signed the treaties. It was an agreement to coexist peacefully, and move forward together in partnership. It was not meant to have “Her Majesty the Queen” dictate all.

Today, we have more of an ability then ever before to reach a symbiosis of thoughts, and form new ways of peaceful coexistence. How do we do this? I think it would be through acceptance. That’s important. Education is, too. Community building, and paying mind that community matters – that’s very important. Not thinking selfishly. Not thinking you’re above Mother Earth. Not thinking you’re above anyone. Not caring so much of material possessions. Being open to learn. Opening yourself to new ways of doing things. Teaching. Listening. Communicating.

By moving forward with these things in mind, I think we will get closer to genuine reconciliation and coming to that amicable truce. It won’t have to be written or told or legislated, no. Instead, it will feel natural, swirling in the air, filling us with a sweet, warm, calming connectedness. Until then, let’s keep trying to create that air.

NIC TV and Film Crew Training Ready for Registration


 

New courses offered at North Island College’s Campbell River and Port Alberni campuses aim to feed a booming Vancouver Island film industry hungry for off-screen talent.

NIC is accepting applications for the new television and film crew training program, which starts in October.

It launches as Vancouver Island and BC’s local film industries are roaring. An estimated $2 billion was spent on film production in 2015 alone, creating 25,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Nanoose residents have seen their communities buzzing with activity during filming of Hallmark Channel’s TV series Chesapeake Shores for the past two years.

Joan Miller, commissioner of the Vancouver Island North Film Commission (INfilm), said NIC’s decision to offer the courses comes at a time when the local film industry needs qualified crew to attract productions like Chesapeake Shores.

“We have so many productions that want to film here,” Miller said.

But a shortage of local, trained crew “has been a barrier for years” to bringing more film and television production to the north Island, due to the additional costs of bringing crew from elsewhere to local sets, Miller said.

The pilot program includes four separate training courses, including training to set up lighting and camera equipment, build and design sets and work as a production assistant.

The province announced almost $500,000 in funding to develop the courses in March. NIC also relied on help and expertise from INfilm, which provides liaison and location services to film, television, commercial and media companies filming in communities from Nanaimo northwards.

INfilm consulted with industry partners and urged the province to provide funding for the courses, pitching the idea as a way to invest in local tradespeople.

“This opens up a whole new avenue to find work,” Miller said.
“It’s also going to supply students with a few key certifications they need to get on set including the Motion Picture Industry Orientation ticket,” Miller added.

“NIC is very pleased to be working with our regional film commissioner and industry to develop customized, applied short term training aligned with film and television productions,” said Cheryl O’Connell, NIC’s dean of trades and technical programs. “The fact that these courses are being offered in response to industry demand is very significant to the region.”

There are still vacancies in the program, but prospective students are urged to get their applications in before Sept. 15.
Anyone interested in applying for a course in the training program can request an application package at filmtraining@nic.bc.ca.

Elevate Excellence, Share Success, Inspire Change! 2017 Aboriginal Business Awards Gala Dinner

2016 BC Aboriginal Business Award presented by the past Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, John Rustad, to Awardee Tumia Knott and Chief Marilyn Gabriel of Seyem' Qwantlen Business Group.

2016 BC Aboriginal Business Award presented by the past Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, John Rustad, to Awardee Tumia Knott and Chief Marilyn Gabriel of Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group.

 
2017 Aboriginal Business Awards Gala Dinner
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Celebrate Aboriginal Business in British Columbia at the Ninth Annual Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The BC Aboriginal Business Awards, under the umbrella of the BC Achievement Foundation, are generously supported by New Relationship Trust, TD, Teck, BC Hydro, CN, Encana, MNPLLP, Enbridge and Vancity and are presented in partnership with the Province of British Columbia.

These Awards showcase diverse, vibrant and successful Indigenous businesses in BC while also shining a spotlight on their important and expanding role in the province. The program also provides Awardees with a platform to inspire other Indigenous entrepreneurs to excel by sharing stories of their achievements. The event brings together industry partners and offers opportunities to make connections leading to mutually beneficial collaborations.

On the podium at the 2016 Gala Presentation, Councilor Tumia Knott, President of Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group (Community-Owned Business of the Year Award Recipient) shared these thoughts: “Tonight is a celebration for all Aboriginal businesses, and from our nation to you we celebrate all the success stories and differences we are making to build wealth, success, healing and health in our communities for our next generations.”

Since 2008, the inaugural year of the program, 154 Indigenous businesses have been honoured. The unique Individual Achievement Award honouring outstanding Aboriginal business leaders has also been awarded annually since the program’s inception.

The 2017 Call for Nominations generated an ever- growing number of nominations in a variety of sectors. These reflected the remarkable and unique industries and entrepreneurial diversity within the Indigenous business community in British Columbia whether it be a young entrepreneur, a small or large business, a community-owned business or a business partnership between Aboriginal partners and the private sector.

An independent jury of Indigenous business experts adjudicated the nominations guided by the success and sustainability of the business. Awardees will be honored at a Gala Presentation event.

Join the celebration and support Indigenous entrepreneurship at the Gala Presentation Dinner at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on October 26 where over 600 guests are expected to attend.

Please visit www.bcachievement.com for further details and information on ticket purchase as well as links to past Award Gala Dinner videos and speeches.

The Road Forward—A Film Receiving Rave Reviews for Its Honesty and Compelling History

The Road Forward is a powerful musical documentary by creator and filmmaker Marie Clements about the Native Brotherhood of BC and their struggles and tribulations to get their voice heard. The film has received rave reviews after sold-out screenings at Vancouver’s York Theatre.

The Road Forward

The Road Forward


 

The Native Brotherhood of the BC formed in the 1930s when it was illegal for native people to meet in a gathering or group. The Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood of BC were powerful organizations working towards the same cause. They brought the First Nations together as one.

This Aboriginal Blues and Rock-n-Roll film takes viewers on the journey of the struggles and determination of the characters as they fight for their Native Rights being oppressed by the government. Filmmaker Marie Clements said in the North Shore News she thought it was important to celebrate the investment needed to create change and the ensuing victories because Aboriginal people need to celebrate these as they don’t often read about Indigenous victories and celebrations.

“We don’t often hear about it, and also I think it’s important to look at issues that we’re still dealing with in a truthful way, a contemporary way,” said Marie Clements.

Clements first thought of the idea to create the film when she came across an issue of the The Native Voice – a newspaper that began publishing in the 1940s and became the official voice of the Native Brotherhood of BC. The newspaper served as the platform for the Native Brotherhood to promote their issues and voice their concerns from a native perspective.

The film educates viewers on heroes many are unfamiliar with, and offers a compelling insight and wonderful narration about events that have affected Aboriginal people. These include the Right to hunt, discrimination, the protection of Aboriginal language and culture, residential schools, the Constitution Express, the White Paper, and missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

Behind the scenes – Indian Man
Photo: © Rosamond Norbury


 

In the scene where Cheri Maracle leaves home to find work, she faces the brutal reality of the 1940s for an Aboriginal woman. She experiences racism, job refusal because of her skin colour and is unable to even check into a hotel until an unexpected stroke of kindness and opportunity. The Road Forward honours those who came before and created positive change while recognizing issues like the Murdered Indigenous Woman that still need to be resolved.

The cast includes actors, singers and narrations by Michelle St John, Russell Wallace, Cheri Maracle, Thomas Berger, Evan Adams, Leonard George, Doreen Manual, and more.

Clements has created a powerful film that must be seen to understand struggles, victories, and legacies Aboriginal people faced in the past and still confront today. Find more information on The Road Forward at WideAwake.nfb.ca

Upcoming Screenings:

  • Saturday, September 30, 5pm. The Civic Theatre 719 Vernon Street Nelson BC
  • Monday, October 16, 5pm. AGH BMO World Film Festival, Hamilton ON
  • Theatrical Release at Winnipeg Cinematheque on Saturday, October 21, 3pm; Friday, October 27, 7pm; Saturday, October 28, 7pm; and Sunday, October 29, 3pm.
  • Sunday, October 22, imagineNATIVE Closing Gala, Toronto ON
  • Tuesday, November 21, Port Hardy Civic Centre, 7440 Columbia Street, Port Hardy BC
  • Wednesday, November 22, Gate House Theatre, 11-1705 Campbell Way, Port McNeill, BC
  • Wednesday, November 22, Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, ON
  • Friday, November 29, Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square Edmonton, AB
  • Friday, January 19, 2018, 7:30pm, Eden Mills & District Community Club, 104 York Street, Eden Mills, ON

First Lady Hoop Dancing Championships

This past August 26th, the Intermountain All-Women Hoop Dancing Championships were held and the event was a huge success. The first competition of its kind, ever, included 42 dancers from the United States and Canada. The one-day event consisted of two rounds to determine the ladies hoop dancing champion.

(Right to left) Violet John of the Kehewin First Nation and Sandra Yellow Horn of the Piegan Nation

(Right to left) Violet John of the Kehewin First Nation and Sandra Yellow Horn of the Piegan Nation


 

Sandra Yellow Horn of the Peigan Nation won first place at the inaugural competition, while Violet John of the Kehewin First Nation took the runner-up trophy. The event was held at “This is The Place Heritage Park” in Salt Lake City, Utah,

I had a chance to ask Violet John, former Miss Indian World 2006, about the competition and her thoughts on hoop dancing. John said she was happy to see this competition take place because it will draw attention to women in hoop dancing.

Violet John prepares her daughter for competition

Violet John prepares her daughter for competition

“It’s very rare to see female hoop dancers and to have this first ladies hoop dancing competition is so good for the women and young girls to get involved in this beautiful dance,” said Violet. “Three of my daughters are hoop dancers and this event will only encourage them and other young girls to start dancing in the future. It was so nice to travel to Salt Lake City and compete here.”

Hoop dancing has a long-standing tradition. This unique dance can involve the use of more than 50 hoops. Hoop dancing communicates individual and tribal stories using hoops to create symbols and depict animals or other life found in nature. The continuous circle of the hoops symbolizes the circle of life and change of seasons.

It is not clear which tribe founded traditional hoop dancing because many tribes have a history of the practice in various ceremonies. Traditional hoops were made from wood of a willow tree, whereas modern-day hoops are made from reed and plastic because of the durability of the material when travelling.

The hoops are then decorated with tape and paint to symbolize the changing colours of each season. Traditional hoops are still used on rare occasions. Native hoop dancing is traditionally a male-only dance, but over the past few decades women have picked up the dance. In 1994, Jackie Bird from South Dakota became the first woman to compete in the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest.

Future Hoop Dancing Champion

Future Hoop Dancing Champion


 

Saanii Atsitty, the Intermountain All-Women Hoop Dancing Championships organizer says judges are looking at precision, timing, rhythm, craftsmanship, creativity and originality. For the ladies’ competition judges also look at grace and elegance. The two rounds of competition for the ladies consisted of 5 minutes and 7 minutes in the final round dancing to Northern Drum, White Bull, and Southern Drum, Southern Soul Singers.

“I think the first go-round went well and created great interest and excitement,” said Atsitty, organizer of the hoop dancing competition. “We are glad to create a space and platform for these beautiful women and girls to showcase their dancing. We are looking forward to the 2nd Annual next year.”

Maori All Blacks to Invade BC Place Stadium, Play Against Host Team Canada


 

The Maori All Blacks is one of the most successful sporting team in any sport. The New Zealander rugby team has a winning percentage higher than the likes of Manchester United and Golden State Warriors.

On August 10, Rugby Canada and the New Zealand Rugby Union announced they will host the second ever Senior Men’s Fifteen match at BC Place with Canada taking on the world-famous Maori All Blacks.

Presented by AIG, as both teams prepare for their respective November Internationals in Europe, the All Blacks will play the Canadian men’s rugby team at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium on November 3.

In the past four years, ten of the Maori All Black players progressed to play for the New Zealand national team – winners of the last two Rugby World Cups – while 18 have “bounced” between the two teams at various times. Twenty countries compete in the Rugby World Cup tournament, which is one of the world’s biggest sporting event outside of North America.

The All Blacks have been a YouTube sensation with their “Haka” traditional war dance – a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity. Before every game, the All Blacks perform the traditional Maori war dance the New Zealand natives used before going into battle. The dance is also used as a form of respect when groups come together in peace.

The All Blacks have defeated teams with players from different nations – international opponents – including the British & Irish Lions, a team with players from England and Ireland.

Look forward to our next issue when we speak to representatives of both the All Blacks and the Canadian Men’s Rugby teams.


 

Walk for Reconciliation 2017


 

A Historic Moment
This is a historic moment for all of us. 2017 is a year of significant reflection as we recognize 150 years since Canadian confederation. 2017 comes amidst a period of heightened social awareness and momentum around reconciliation, including the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action in 2015, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and our recently released National Narrative on Reconciliation Report. Now is a critical time to embrace reconciliation.

“Canada 150” alludes to two vastly different narratives and holds different meanings to the people in Canada. As we know, Canada’s history stretches much longer than the 150 years since Canadian confederation and as we stand here in this time and place, we reflect that there is a broken relationship amongst us that needs nurturing. From the creation of the Indian Act and the legacy of the residential school system felt by generations of Indigenous communities, there is a deep wound within our people that needs to be addressed. That is why we are all here—to continue initiating conversation with all of the people in our country to bring reconciliation to the forefront. If we can all reconcile ourselves as human beings, we hold the hope that the next 150 years will be brighter.

Over the past few years, Reconciliation Canada has engaged with Canadians across the Nation to bring reconciliation to the forefront from coast to coast to coast. We have held National Reconciliation Gatherings in Vancouver, Membertou, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Whitehorse and Montreal. With each initiative, we hope to expand perspectives and understandings of reconciliation and provide a space that allows for individual transformation and renewed relationships.

On September 22nd 2013, Reconciliation Canada hosted the first Walk for Reconciliation in Vancouver and 70,000 people braved the pouring rain to walk in support for reconciliation. We heard from many of the survivors that attended the walk that they were brought to tears by the immense support that their communities displayed. Additionally, in 2015 Reconciliation Canada, in partnership with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, held the second Walk for Reconciliation in Ottawa.

Earlier this year, Reconciliation Canada conducted the National Narrative Report on Reconciliation. The results of this national report revealed that Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians are in agreement on a number of aspects about reconciliation, notably the value of acknowledging the contribution that Indigenous peoples make to Canadian society, the need to provide greater opportunity and equality for Indigenous people, as well as the need for reconciliation. Following this report, we hosted the National Thought Table which gathered Thought Leaders from across the nation to share their perspectives on a range of issues regarding reconciliation. We also hosted “In the Sprit of Reconciliation: An Intergenerational Gathering”, where spiritual leaders, elders and youth gathered to reflect on the spiritual aspect of reconciliation. All of our engagement this year has been leading up to our signature Canada 150+ event—The Walk for Reconciliation.


 

Walk for Reconciliation 2017
This September 24th, we will once again gather together in the streets of downtown Vancouver to walk for reconciliation and highlight the intergenerational impacts of Indian Residential Schools, as well as honor survivors and intergenerational survivors. The Walk for Reconciliation is designed to raise awareness and help every participant see how reconciliation is relevant to them. The event highlights the unique history and cultures of the city and it is an event for people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures and faiths. The act of walking and sharing our stories can join us all in a shared commitment to creating a new way forward in our relationships.

This year, we hope to match our previous participation numbers and display our support for the reconciliation movement. We will begin our walk at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, walk across the viaducts, end in Strathcona Park. The route will be two kilometers long and is welcome to all.

The Walk for Reconciliation will culminate in Strathcona park where we will be hosting the first Reconciliation Expo! At the Expo, there will be community booths which will include information regarding reconciliation, experiential cultural activities, and a range of presentations from community groups, indigenous organizations, and multicultural groups. Additionally, there will be an area dedicated to local artisans, a place for children to play educational games, a space for Indigenous craft making, as well as a variety of Vancouver based food-trucks serving ethnically diverse foods. On the main stage there will be captivating performances including live singing, dancing and various displays of local artwork and most notably, there will be an address from a keynote speaker.

Walk with us
We urge Indigenous peoples across this country to attend the Walk for Reconciliation as a celebration of strength and resilience. By displaying openness, generosity and love, Indigenous peoples in Canada will continue to show leadership in the reconciliation movement. In return, we can be met with open hearts and minds when discussing past and present inequalities that we must work towards amending.

We extend our hand to you to join us for the Walk for Reconciliation in the spirit of ‘Namwayut—we are all one. On September 24th, we invite you to join us to walk for the missing, for those who have gone, for loved ones, for justice, and for healing. We will walk to remember the intergenerational lives taken, to honour survivors and to acknowledge those impacted by the Indian residential school system. Together, we will walk for reconciliation.

How we build relationships today affects our next generations. We can all take this monumental opportunity to embrace a space for openness and real dialogue to create a mutual vision for the future based on the values of justice and equality for all. In doing so, we recognize our common humanity and the shared hopes and aspirations we have for the place we live.


 

How to get involved
If you would like to further become involved with Reconciliation Canada and receive the most up to date information regarding the Walk and our other initiatives, we encourage you to sign up for our monthly newsletter. Additionally, you can follow this link to sign up as an individual or as a team member for the Walk, or go to www.reconciliationcanada.ca to sign up to volunteer or donate. Follow us on social media by searching @Rec_Can on twitter, @reconciliationcanada on Instagram, and Reconciliation Canada on Facebook. Feel free to tweet us and share your photos and comments with us as we would love to hear from you!

Aboriginal Centres Help Students Succeed

As the weeks draw closer to the first day of class at universities and colleges across the country, we look at services provided to Aboriginal students. I had the chance to connect with Sarah Noel, the communication officer/recruitment and communications for the University of Sudbury, and she shared information on the assistance provided by their institution.

University of Sudbury-Aboriginal Centre

University of Sudbury-Aboriginal Centre


 

“The are many services the University of Sudbury provides Aboriginal students offering cultural, academic and individual support. Such services include the department of Indigenous Studies; a lounge for Indigenous students; access to Traditional Resource People; and a student group called Indigenous Student Circle, to name a few,” Noel said.

Noel said as members of the Laurentian Federation, students can access services offered by the Indigenous Student Affairs office as well as the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Center located at Laurentian University. Programs and courses are also offered by the University of Sudbury directly onsite or via video-conferencing in the communities of the James Bay Coast, which include Moose Factory, Attawapiskat, Fort Albany and Kashechewan.

“The University of Sudbury is dedicated to making education financially accessible by providing numerous scholarships, bursaries and awards to their students. Among the financial aid available is bursaries, scholarships and awards specifically for Indigenous students,” said Noel.

The unveiling of the University of Sudbury’s arbor, Nishnaabe-gkendaaswin Teg (where Indigenous Knowledge is), will take place on Thursday, September 14, which is soon after classes resume. Noel said Nishnaabe-gkendaaswin Teg will be a place to sit with your ancestors, seek the wisdom of elders, receive teachings and explore your place within creation and share in peace, understanding and thoughtful contemplation. The arbor will be available for class time, workshops, ceremonies, teachings and other gatherings.

I asked Noel if she thought these kind of services for Aboriginal students helped them with their studies in terms of giving a sense of belonging, to inspiring them to achieve their program goals.

“Yes, these kinds of services definitely help in giving Indigenous students a sense of belonging. The University of Sudbury provides a safe, inclusive, supportive and nurturing academic environment that allows students to reach their goals,” said Noel.

Noel added she definitely feels Aboriginal Centres are a welcoming place that provides guidance and supports for student success on both a personal and academic level.

“Providing an atmosphere of identity, a place of belonging and being connected with one another eases the transition between home, community and school, and significantly enhances Indigenous culture and way-of-life,” said Noel.

As a former student of Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, I would most definitely agree with Noel that Aboriginal Centres gives students a sense of belonging and encouragement. When I attended Grant MacEwan from 1999 to 2002, I completed the Native Communications Program, aka, NCP, and the Journalism Diploma Program.

Relying on the Aboriginal Centre as a place to go and study, chat with other students and counsellors and experience positive vibes, and sometimes gain inspiration, I remember on many occasions chatting with then Grant MacEwan University Aboriginal Centre counsellor Jane Woodward, who was a great person to speak with and always had encouraging words, making it easier to finish that next assignment.

I have spoken with many former students and they all agree post-secondary institutions need both Aboriginal Centres and their services. In our next issue we’ll look at new programs that are in development, like Alberta announcing a $665,000 grant to train Indigenous language teachers.

For more information visit www.usudbury.ca

Historic National Gathering of Elders to be held in Amiskwaci-waskahikan, the Traditional Gathering Place of Indigenous Peoples

Treaty 6 Territory August 11, 2017: The first ever National Gathering of Elders 2017 will be held September 11 – 14, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

The Gathering marks the first time in Canada’s history that elders and seniors from every region and Indigenous group will come together in the spirit of friendship and reconciliation. Building on the theme ‘Coming Home, Voices of Elders,’ the National Gathering of Elders will be a place for laughter and the sharing of culture, traditions, history, and an opportunity for the creation of long lasting connections.

First Nations, Metis and Inuit Elders from all across Canada, as well as youth and the general public are all invited to this historic event. Planned activities include opening and closing ceremonies featuring a parade of Nations, health and wellness sessions, Indigenous art exhibits, a tradeshow, and discussion forums on climate change, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, revitalization of Indigenous languages and culture, and reconciliation. There will be an intercultural showcase, Indigenous entertainers, a talent show, cultural excursions and dance socials.

“Amiskwaci-waskahikan,” which in Cree translates into Beaver Hills House, was known as a Gathering Place for Indigenous Peoples from all across Turtle Island. Fort Edmonton was established near this Gathering Place in the late 1700’s. In time, Fort Edmonton grew to become Edmonton, the capital of Alberta. Located within the Treaty 6 Territory, Edmonton is still a Gathering Place for Indigenous Peoples, so it is fitting that the inaugural National Gathering of Elders will be held in Amiskwaci-waskahikan.

The 2017 National Gathering of Elders was the vision of Chief Rupert Meneen, Tallcree Tribal Government and Grand Chief of Treaty 8 First Nations (Alberta), and is the culmination of twelve months of planning, spearheaded by a National Gathering of Elders Advisory Council and a core group of organizers from Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 First Nations (Alberta), the Metis Nation of Alberta, Metis Settlements General Council. Inuit Edmonton and the Assembly of First Nations – Alberta.


 

Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies Enhances Indigenous Reconciliation at Trent University

Academic requirement for Indigenous course content and new lecture series featuring Indigenous leaders also among key recommendations approved by University Senate


 
Trent University announced a significant addition to its 48-year history instilling Indigenous reconciliation in the institution’s everyday work with the approval of 11 key recommendations, among them the naming of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies.

Coinciding with National Aboriginal Day on June 21, the announcement of the newly-named School was among a substantial series of recommendations, furthering Trent’s leadership in Indigenous reconciliation and education. The recommendations include an innovative lecture-talk series that will bring prominent Indigenous leaders to the University to speak on Indigenous issues, and a new academic requirement for all undergraduate students to successfully complete at least 0.5 credits from an approved list of courses with Indigenous content. With this recommendation, Trent becomes only the third university in Canada to institute mandatory Indigenous course content.

“The naming of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies and the implementation of the associated recommendations are a milestone in the evolution of Indigenous Studies at Trent. We aim to educate indigenous and non-indigenous students about Indigenous history, traditions, cultures, and ways of knowing,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. “National Aboriginal Day is a good day to celebrate these initiatives, but we are striving to make Indigenous reconciliation part of our everyday work and consciousness.”

The naming of the new School honours the life and history of Chanie Wenjack, a young Anishinaabe boy who died in his attempt to escape residential school in 1966. The Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies brings together Trent’s undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. programs under one School and unites various events, initiatives and spaces dedicated to Indigenous perspectives, knowledge and culture at the University. Prior to the launch of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, Trent University paid tribute to Chanie and other residential school victims and survivors when Wenjack Theatre, the largest lecture hall on campus, was named in his honour in 1973.

“This is the latest effort in Trent’s well-known 48-year record of Indigenous reconciliation,” said David Newhouse, director of the School, and chair of Indigenous Studies at Trent. “We will continue to honour the life of Chanie Wenjack and recognize the impact that residential schools had on Indigenous peoples through the work that we plan to undertake at Trent. Our goal at the Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies is to constantly advance the knowledge of and about Indigenous peoples with a view to the overall improvement of quality of life and to contribute to the creation of places of respect, dignity and power for Indigenous peoples.”

Additional initiatives listed among the recommendations approved by the University’s Senate include:

  • Launch of new Indigenous Research Centre – uniting researchers across the University who share an interest in Indigenous issues;
  • Redesign of Native Studies Reading Room into Centre for Indigenous Learning –housed in the newly renovated Bata Library in fall 2018, his new space will feature a display of significant documents, including the Williams Treaty and other Indigenous documents that are significant to the history of the territory on which Trent is located;
  • Creation of Indigenous Knowledges & Pedagogies Working Group – within the Centre for Teaching and Learning, this group will assist faculty in the design, or review and redesign of courses, and in the creation of new course offerings;
  • Establishment of a permanent sub-committee of Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC) to recommend and periodically review courses on the Approved Indigenous Course list; and
  • Review of Research Office portfolio and operations with aim of developing and/or adjusting current policies to raise awareness of, and respect for, Indigenous people.

“These approved recommendations help set the way forward for the next phase of Trent’s work on Indigenous reconciliation,” said Dr. Jacqueline Muldoon, provost and vice-president Academic at Trent. “Over the course of the University’s first half century, our focus was centred on the development of Indigenous programming. Looking ahead, our goals are to ensure that our foundation supporting Indigenous reconciliation remains strong and that we extend it to encompass key institutional sites and processes so that reconciliation becomes fully engrained into our everyday work as a university.”

Trent’s leadership in Indigenous Studies dates back to 1969 when the University became the first in Canada, and only the second in North America, to establish an academic department dedicated to the study of Indigenous peoples and Indigenous knowledges. Trent was the first university in Canada to create unique Indigenous spaces, hire Indigenous student support staff, recruit and admit Indigenous students through special entry programs, and to teach Indigenous languages and Indigenous Knowledge with elders and traditional peoples. A full timeline of the University’s history of leadership in Indigenous education can be viewed at the new website for the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies at trentu.ca/indigenous.


 

About Chanie Wenjack
Chanie Wenjack was a young Anishinaabe boy from Ogoki Post in Marten Falls in Northern Ontario, Canada. He attended Celia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario. The school was run by the Women’s Society of the Presbyterian Church. Chanie attended the school for two years and ran away on Oct 16, 1966. He was headed home when he died of exposure on October 23, 1966 on the railway tracks near Redditt, Ontario, the home of his uncle.

About Trent University
One of Canada’s top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that’s personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Trent’s unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than
ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent’s students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent’s Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham – Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.
The land on which Trent University is located is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe Mississauga adjacent to Haudenosaunee Territory and in the territory covered by Treaty 20 and the Williams Treaties.