Vancouver Island

IndigiNews is covering education for Indigenous students, teachers, and families: Here’s the latest

We’re following what’s happening in the education space, so you don’t have to.
Photo: A 25-foot totem pole stands next to a cedar outside of Royal Roads University. The pole was created by Tom Lafortune and Howard Lafortune Jr. from Tsawout First Nation. It is called “S'ael,” a Sencoten word for harmony. Photo by Catherine Lafferty

As IndigiNews’s education reporter covering news across Vancouver Island, I’m following all of the latest developments. Every month, I’ll bring you a roundup of what you need to know about what’s relevant to Indigenous students, teachers, parents and families.

What you need to know: K-12

  • Grade 3 students at Huband Park Elementary in Courtenay have created an Indigenous storytelling podcast called “Legends of the West Coast.” Listen here: http://legendsofthewestcoast.buzzsprout.com/1477357
  • The Greater Victoria School District is creating 316 childcare spaces across the Greater Victoria region to provide support for families with young children. The district applied for funding in 2018 and secured support for the expansion of childcare spaces at school sites across five different municipalities: Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria and View Royal.
  • The Victoria Regional Transit Commission and BC Transit is offering a Youth U-PASS program to schools, local governments, and First Nations in Greater Victoria for unlimited travel in the Victoria Regional Transit System. Details are available at upass.victoria.ca.

What you need to know: Post-Secondary

  • Now that Canada Student Loan payments have resumed after being frozen because of COVID-19, federal Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough emphasized access to a repayment assistance plan in the House of Commons November 6th. 
  • The Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education collaborated on an international webinar with ‘World Virtual Indigenous Circle’ on a series called ‘Open Science & the Decolonization of Knowledge.’ The webinar series was prepared in part by the University of Victoria’s Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams from Lil’wat First Nation, and opened by STOLȻEȽ John Elliott, from Tsartlip First Nation. The event was intended to consult with participants on recommendations on the creation of a document to be adopted by UNESCO. 
  • Indigenous students can now apply to go into a Master of Science for Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectories. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC), the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and researchers from the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at Simon Fraser University (SFU) are recruiting two students interested in pursuing a fully-funded MSc degree. The opportunity includes participation in the Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (I-HeLTI), a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded study. This maternal-child longitudinal cohort study is entitled “Hishuk-ish tsawalk” (everything is one, everything is connected) and uses a Nuu-chah-nulth two-eyed seeing approach to conduct research aimed at optimizing healthy early life trajectories and wellbeing for Indigenous peoples.
  • One per cent of the tech industry identifies as Indigenous according to the Brookfield Institute. The Technation Indigenous Career Fair on November 12th worked to help fill that gap. The career fair was hosted exclusively for Indigenous post-secondary students to help them discover and plan their career path.
    Vancouver Island University (VIU) is looking for proposals from Snuneymuxw First Nation artists for the creation of an art installation inside the VIU Library. The deadline to apply is December 2nd, contact [email protected] for more information. 
  • The University of Victoria is looking for feedback in the design of the Fraser Building expansion for the Faculty of Law. The online survey is live until December 2nd.

COVID-19 exposures this month were reported at the following schools across the Island according to Island Health:

  • Eighth Avenue Learning Centre – Port Alberni
  • AW Neill Elementary School – Port Alberni
  • Maquinna Elementary School – Port Alberni
  • EJ Dunn Elementary School – Port Alberni
  • Sir James Douglas Elementary – Victoria
  • Kwalicum Secondary School – Qualicum Beach
  • The Victoria School For Ideal Education – Victoria
  • Lakeview Christian School – Victoria
  • Dover Bay Secondary – Nanaimo
  • John Barsby Secondary – Nanaimo
  • Randerson Ridge Elementary – Nanaimo 
  • Ladysmith Secondary School – Ladysmith
  • Frank J Ney Elementary – Nanaimo  
  • Alberni District Secondary School – Port Alberni 

Our latest Education Stories:

Innovative high school program brings land-based Coast Salish teachings into classroom 
T’Sou-ke man fuses the old with the new, sharing teachings with community
Education administrators concerned over disparities in COVID-19 funding for First Nations students

That’s it for now! If you have news or information that you want to share, email me: [email protected]

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