All Posts Tagged With: "native"
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.
How universities are embracing the Aboriginal baby boom
From the Maclean’s University Rankings—on newsstands now. Story by Ken MacQueen.
It’s one of those small things that’s actually very big. The University of Manitoba has a policy on smudging: the Aboriginal tradition of burning sage, sweetgrass or cedar as a way of setting a positive tone and purifying the mind. Say a love affair goes sideways, or a professor is unimpressed with your political science presentation, or it’s autumn on the reserve and here you are in Winnipeg, lonely and blue; well, retreating to a quiet place to wash yourself in the smoke of a smudge is a way to turn the page, to gain strength and clarity. The policy on smudging and pipe ceremonies is the product of deep bureaucratic thought, legal consultation and many meetings, because, of course, there are no-smoking laws. So, it’s complicated.
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.”
Feds aren’t tracking $300 million per year in aboriginal funding, says report
The Harper government flunks accountability, says a new audit that blasts lax controls over almost $300 million meant to help native students get to college or university.The bruising report calls for tighter tracking of that cash and says funding has not kept pace with tuition hikes.
Ottawa does not trace how many native kids beat staggering odds to make it through high school only to be denied help to go on.
It spent $292 million last year to help 23,000 students — that’s down from a high of 27,000 funding recipients a decade ago.
“No analysis has been conducted by program management at headquarters on the impact these factors are having” on the Post-secondary Education Program, the audit says.
Instead, it has been left to the national Assembly of First Nations to estimate that more than 10,000 qualified students are on waiting lists.
“It is important that clear and appropriate performance measures, results indicators and targets be developed,” the internal Indian Affairs audit concludes.
“Sound performance measures allow management to track progress, measure results and make ongoing program adjustments to improve results and achieve objectives.”
Conservatives hail higher education as a top priority in their efforts to ultimately raise native living standards.
But auditors found the post-secondary program is hobbled by lax reporting, growing education costs and haphazard disbursement. The result is glaring gaps across the country.
In 2007-2008, the audit says, per capita amounts disbursed to First Nations ranged from $1,609 for each individual aged 18 to 34 in Ontario compared with $941 in the Atlantic region.
“No rationale was found to support the different allocation methods used in the different regions,” it says.
Moreover, the per capita amounts do not reflect fluctuating needs on reserves and are considered “flexible.” Auditors found surplus post-secondary funds in some communities are then spent on other needs — while students in other parts of the country go without.
- The Canadian Press
New documents suggest feds downplayed risks and hired PR firm for damage control
Internal documents suggest the Harper government downplayed health risks and hired a PR firm for damage control after halting plans for new schools on native reserves.
The papers discuss the hiring of Hill & Knowlton to help the government handle what one official described as “not a good story.”
The government stopped plans in 2007 for new schools and major renovations that weren’t considered health and safety priorities.
But internal documents obtained by the NDP suggest some of those projects were put off despite health and safety issues flagged by Indian Affairs.
New Democrat MP Charlie Angus says the government paid spin doctors while neglecting urgent education needs.
The Conservatives have announced $50 million for five new schools and seven renovation projects, but critics say much more is needed to lower native dropout rates.
- The Canadian Press