All Posts Tagged With: "Indigenous"
Report of racist Pocahontas chant
VANCOUVER – A controversial chant based on the Disney movie “Pocahontas” used by students at the University of B.C. has set off a series of measures to help students better understand First Nations.
The changes were announced in a report arising from frosh events sponsored by the Commerce Undergraduate Society last summer.
“The report released today shows us there is very little awareness of indigenous peoples and their concerns among the students we interviewed,” Louise Cowin, UBC’s vice president of students, said in a news release Monday.
“Clearly, UBC has a role to play in educating students to become more culturally competent.”
The report found that student leaders at the Sauder School of Business selected the “Pocahontas” theme and created the chant.
Thousands of Indigenous survivor stories to be archived
The University of Manitoba is set to become “Canada’s national memory” of the country’s residential schools and the experience of those who spent their childhood institutionalized there.
The university will house the national research centre for residential schools as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A signing ceremony between the university and commission establishing the archive was scheduled to take place Friday morning.
The archive will hold millions of documents collected by the commission including thousands of stories from residential school survivors.
Commission chairman Murray Sinclair said the research centre is an important part of the commission’s legacy.
“It’s kind of hard to believe that a government would have done what the government of Canada did to aboriginal people by taking away their children and institutionalizing them for all of their childhood and expecting that they would turn out to be normal, functioning human beings,” Sinclair said in an interview.
Money for skills training, education, counselling
Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt says new funding will help aboriginals get off welfare.
Valcourt was in Saskatoon on Wednesday where he announced $241 million to help aboriginals achieve the same job opportunities as all Canadians.
Saskatchewan Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas says the money will help get welfare numbers down for aboriginals, a major issue for all First Nations across Canada.
He also says it will help improve quality of life for everyone in the province.
Aboriginals report racism and discomfort but also support
New journalism school graduate Frank Molley, of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation in Quebec, recalls a humiliating experience while studying at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B.
“There were two Native journalists in the class [and] one of them did a story about a Native woman who was beaten up,” he says. When someone explained that the Native woman had been called a squaw, some students in the back of the class started laughing. He walked out.
He was also offended when a professor told him First Nation stories weren’t “newsy” enough.
Another time, he asked peers to help cover a story about the Assembly of First Nation Chiefs in New Brunswick’s plan to address poverty. No one showed up, he says, “as breaking and important as it was.” Molley says he felt ostracized, but he hasn’t given up on his chosen profession.
Despite challenges like accessibility and racism, Indigenous students are graduating and working as journalists. Exactly how many is unknown, but mediaINDIGENA.com, an online magazine, recently counted more than 60 working Indigenous journalists in Canada.
An interview with Michael DeGagne
Michael DeGagne, an Aboriginal Canadian, will become president of Nipissing University in January. The school is located in North Bay, the self-proclaimed Gateway to Northern Ontario, a region of vast mineral wealth that is also home to deep Aboriginal poverty. That poverty is concentrated in places like Attawapiskat, the James Bay reservation made famous by Chief Theresa Spence, who is now on the 18th day of a hunger strike—a protest she says will end only with a visit from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
DeGagne, who once worked for the federal government and was executive director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, has been watching closely. He spoke to Maclean’s On Campus about his plans for expanding access to education and offered his thoughts on the movement that made Chief Spence front-page news.
How did your work with the Healing Foundation prepare you for Nipissing?
The healing foundation had the good fortune to have a lot of resources to provide mental health healing supports to Aboriginal communities. Programs were directed to people who had been through the Indian residential schools, so we spent a lot of time in consultations asking survivors what they wanted, did a lot of professional development, community development and human resource development, so I think a lot of that work will lend itself to my work at Nipissing.
#IdleNoMore, dumping Instagram & fraternity horrors
1. You’ve seen the #IdleNoMore hashtag all over Twitter, but do you know what it’s all about? Wab Kinew, Director of Indigenous Inclusion at the University of Winnipeg, offers his take in The Huffington Post. “It is a loosely knit political movement encompassing rallies drawing thousands of people across dozens of cities, road blocks, a shoving match on Parliament hill between Chiefs and mounties and one high profile hunger strike,” he writes. The hunger striker is Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat in northern Ontario. Kinew explains where the meme started and says the movement is about engaging youth, finding meaning, rights, the environment and democracy. His summary is worth reading. Also worth reading is The Charlatan‘s coverage of Carleton University’s panel discussion on the Indian Act with the Assembly of First Nations.
2. A lot of Canadians are deleting their Instagram accounts. The addictive photo-sharing service has changed its terms of service to allow it to sell users photos and data. “…you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you,” reads the new terms. The Guardian says it will give a boost to Yahoo-owned Flickr, which just launched a mobile app that doesn’t sell your photos.
Dodgeball record, PETA billboards & Western homecoming
1. Students from the University of California Irvine shattered the Guinness World Record for the largest game of dodgeball this week with 6,084 players. The University of Alberta, a four-time record-holder, lost its standing. It had 4,979 players on Feb. 3. I bet they’ll try to get it back.
2. Western University’s homecoming parade will be held on campus today, rather than downtown. It’s because London Police won’t provide extra officers pro bono. (They may be busy anyway.)
3. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) will put up billboards near Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Ottawa schools this Thanksgiving holiday, reports The Canadian Press. The billboards will read: “Kids, if you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey? Go vegan.”
$90-billion possible for Saskatchewan: economist
A new report by University of Saskatchewan economist Eric Howe shows just how much Saskatchewan’s economy could gain by closing the Aboriginal education gap. Howe explains that higher education causes earnings to grow, so if Aboriginal Canadians were to become as highly-educated as non-Aboriginals, the province would increase its economic output by $90-billion. “To put this into context,” writes Howe. “The total production of potash in Saskatchewan back to the start of the industry is… four‐fifths of $90 billion.”
That said, academics often argue about how much education increases economic output. Some think gains in human capital (better skilled workers) have a large impact on economies. Others argue that credentials don’t increase employee performance much, but instead act mainly as “signals” to employers about who is likely to succeed. (To learn more see the book Academic Reform.)
How to use terms like Native, Indigenous and Aboriginal
After Deborah Young was appointed the Executive Lead, Aboriginal Achievement at the University of Manitoba in April, she quickly changed her title to Executive Lead, Indigenous Achievement.
That’s caused the school to explore in a podcast, “What do I say?” Local experts explain that there are important nuances in the terms we use to describe the decendents of those who lived in Canada first. Here are just a few of their ideas.
Young says that she chose the term Indigenous because it’s more uniting than Aboriginal. Indigenous is a term that crosses borders and recognizes a shared history. Indigenous is the word used by the United Nations. Aboriginal is not wrong. It’s simply an umbrella term used for First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in Canada. But, warns Young: “One of my pet peeves is that people don’t capitalize Aboriginal.”