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United Native Friendship Centre Alternative Secondary School Program (Fort Frances)

The Alternative Secondary School Program (ASSP) addresses the needs of urban Indigenous students in Fort Frances and surrounding areas by creating a culture-based educational environment where the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual areas of a student’s life are centered.

Founded in 2004, the Alternative Secondary School Program (ASSP) in Fort Frances is the culmination of a partnership between United Native Friendship Centre, Fort Frances High School and the Rainy River District School Board. The ASSP addresses the needs of urban Indigenous students in Fort Frances and the surrounding areas by creating a culture-based educational environment where the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual areas of a student’s life are centered. Through the program, students are empowered to become active members in the community and obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The program is based on individual, independent learning courses that students can complete at their own pace and offers additional tutoring. Cultural teachings, Indigenous language, and wholistic learning approaches are integrated in the curriculum to prepare urban Indigenous students for workplace readiness, skills development and training, or transition to mainstream high school or post-secondary education institutions. The program addresses food insecurity and student nutritional needs by providing a lunch program to enrolled students. Cultural programming is made possible through collaboration with Friendship Centre staff such as the Cultural Resource Coordinator, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers.

The ASSP at United Native Friendship Centre is part of an Ontario-wide network of 11 Alternative Secondary Schools supported by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC). The OFIFC is the largest urban Indigenous service network supporting the vibrant, diverse, and quickly-growing urban Indigenous population through programs and initiatives that span justice, health, family support, long-term care, healing and wellness, employment and training, education, and research. The OFIFC represents the collective interests and vision of its 29-member Friendship Centres, which are hubs of community and gathering spaces where people can connect to their culture, access services and programs and build community.

The vision of the Friendship Centre movement is to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people living in urban environments. Education has always been an integral part of this vision, as access to culturally-safe learning opportunities that center learners’ needs and gifts is key for the wellbeing of urban Indigenous people. The Alternative Secondary School Program was first piloted in 1990, as Friendship Centre communities organized to meet the needs of students and their families, in response to major gaps in mainstream schooling that included lack of safe, culture-based, wholistic education available to Indigenous learners. The program is realized through a partnership between Friendship Centres and their local District School Board, supported by a long-standing relationship between the Ontario Ministry of Education and the OFIFC. As a program dedicated to offering personalized support to Indigenous students within a setting that combines community and academic support, the ASSP reflects Indigenous student needs and delivers education tailored to Indigenous students in an Indigenous environment.

To learn more about this program, please visit https://ofifc.org/program/alternative-secondary-school-program/ and https://unfc.org/alternative-secondary-school-program.

Table ronde sur l’intégration des savoirs autochtones à l’Académie, avec des aînés et des enseignants à l’Université Trent

Cette vidéo est celle d’une table ronde réunissant des aînés et des enseignants autochtones, qui s’est tenue à l’Université Trent le 23 novembre 2018. Le sujet de la table ronde était l’intégration des savoirs autochtones à l’Académie. Les panélistes ont reconnu que des changements positifs importants ont été apportés à l’Université Trent, comme le nouveau […]

Cette vidéo est celle d’une table ronde réunissant des aînés et des enseignants autochtones, qui s’est tenue à l’Université Trent le 23 novembre 2018. Le sujet de la table ronde était l’intégration des savoirs autochtones à l’Académie. Les panélistes ont reconnu que des changements positifs importants ont été apportés à l’Université Trent, comme le nouveau demi-crédit obligatoire en études autochtones pour tous les étudiants, et l’intégration continue des savoirs autochtones dans le programme de doctorat en études autochtones. Il a également été entendu qu’il faut en faire plus. Parmi les questions soulevées figurent l’intégration d’un plus grand nombre de savoirs autochtones dans l’ensemble de l’université, ce qui inclut un apprentissage ancré davantage sur le territoire, l’utilisation de noms autochtones pour les lieux et les bâtiments, et un soutien financier plus important pour faire venir des aînés autochtones pour enseigner à l’université.

Les participants à la table ronde étaient :

  • Doug Williams (Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg), aîné, directeur des études autochtones, programme de doctorat, Université Trent
  • Barbra Wall (Potawatomi), faculté des études autochtones, Université Trent
  • Dawn Lavell-Harvard, (Odawa), directrice de la « Maison du savoir » des Premiers Peuples, Université Trent
  • Coty Zachariah, (Haudenosaunee), animateur de la table ronde, étudiant à l’Université Trent

Notre gratitude aux Aye Min Latt, Réalisation vidéo.

 

Cette vidéo est offerte en anglais seulement. 

Table ronde sur le vécu des étudiants autochtones dans leurs études postsecondaires

Une table ronde à laquelle ont participé cinq étudiants autochtones s’est tenue à l’Université Trent pour discuter de leurs expériences dans leurs études postsecondaires. Les étudiants ont donné leur avis sur les difficultés rencontrées par les jeunes autochtones pour accéder à l’université et travailler au sein du système d’enseignement postsecondaire. Parmi les thèmes qui ont […]

Une table ronde à laquelle ont participé cinq étudiants autochtones s’est tenue à l’Université Trent pour discuter de leurs expériences dans leurs études postsecondaires. Les étudiants ont donné leur avis sur les difficultés rencontrées par les jeunes autochtones pour accéder à l’université et travailler au sein du système d’enseignement postsecondaire. Parmi les thèmes qui ont émergé de la discussion, citons les difficultés à choisir une discipline, les défis liés à l’admission aux études postsecondaires, l’importance d’un mentor et d’un soutien dans le cadre universitaire, et l’importance de l’apprentissage de la culture et du renforcement de l’identité au cours de leurs études postsecondaires.

Les participants à la table ronde étaient :

• Bobby Henry, Haudenosaunee
• Papatsi Kotierk, Inuit
• Thomas Morningstar, Anishinaabeg
• Amy Shawanda , Anishiaabeg
• Coty Zachariah, Haudenosaunee
• Gabriel Maracle, Haudenosaunee (Animateur)

Notre gratitude aux Aye Min Latt, Réalisation vidéo.

 

Cette vidéo est offerte en anglais seulement. 

Significance of the Number Four in Indigenous Worldviews

Lynn Cote discusses a circular worldview model and discusses the meaning of the sacred number four. 

Lynn Cote was a guest speaker at the Regina Elders Gathering held in February 2020. Cote spoke about the importance of stories and language learning. Lynn Cote is a Saulteaux woman and educator from Cote First Nation, located north of Kamsack, Saskatchewan. In this clip, Cote discusses the importance of the number four in Saulteaux worldview and the importance of the circular worldview model. The worldview defines our relationship with the spirit land and all spirits that inhabit it.

A Case Study and an Assessment Framework for Land-Based Learning

Cree immersion and culture camps offer participants a culturally responsive education.

Founder of kâniyâsihk Culture Camps and initiator of the Cree Immersion School at Ministikwin Lake Cree Nation, Kevin Lewis is an Indigenous academic who has brought what he has learned about educating back to his community. Lewis is committed to land-based learning and Cree education and hopes to ensure his programs provide people, young and old, with a culturally responsive education. In order to evaluate these programs, he enlisted a colleague as an external reviewer who has experience establishing Maori schools and language centres in New Zealand. By evaluating both the school and the culture camps Lewis is learning about what students and parents are feeling, wanting, and thinking about these programs, which has informed how the program changes and adapts over time. The case study is considered a snapshot of the programs at a particular moment in time, and when the case study is combined with the Structured Assessments Framework for Land-Based Learning at kâniyâsihk Culture Camps, it becomes a model for evaluating such programs.

Art Petahtegoose – Thinking in Our Language and Our Role in Creation

An Elder, who is preparing Anishinaabe people to be responsible, knowledgeable about their culture, creation and to show us our own personal role in Creation.

An Elder, who is preparing Anishinaabe people to be responsible, knowledgeable about their culture, creation and to show us our own personal role in Creation.

Teresa McGregor – Anishnawbek Ways of Knowing

“Choices” is an alternative School and General Cultural Programming within Native Friendship Centre and Native Health centres. The goal of the program was to revitalize culture and incorporate Anishnawbek ways.

“Choices” is an alternative School and General Cultural Programming within Native Friendship Centre and Native Health centres. The goal of the program was to revitalize culture and incorporate Anishnawbek ways.

Se’t A’newey Kina’matino’Kuom – Audrey Benoit

Audrey Benoit, Vice-Principal of Se’t A’newey Kina’matino’Kuom in Miawpukek First Nation describes how they celebrate and support Indigenous culture in their school. 

Audrey Benoit, Vice-Principal of Se’t A’newey Kina’matino’Kuom in Miawpukek First Nation describes how they celebrate and support Indigenous culture in their school. 

Think Indigenous – An Initiative Supporting Indigenous Knowledge

The Think Indigenous initiative inspires educators to think about education through an Indigenous knowledge lens.

Chris Scribe is the Executive Director and Board Chair of Think Indigenous, an initiative that seeks to support programs, innovations, and education that focus on Indigenous knowledge. Scribe believes that Indigenous knowledge is “an embodiment of life, it’s all levels of understanding relative to the area in which we live.” Scribe explains that what is needed now is for Indigenous people to create curriculums based on Indigenous knowledge that can be used within our education system. We need to invite our Knowledge Keepers into our classrooms so that traditional  knowledge is valued and honoured. As well, leaders in education need to make room for educators to try Indigenous methods and approaches to learning.

Potlatch as Pedagogy: Learning Through Ceremony

“Potlatch as Pedagogy: Learning Through Ceremony” (2018), authored by Sara Florence Davidson and Robert Davidson, was inspired by Haida ceremonial practice and provides a model for learning for educators that is holistic, relational, practical, and continuous. The authors encourage readers to consider the sk’ad’a (teaching) principles and what they might mean in the context of […]

“Potlatch as Pedagogy: Learning Through Ceremony” (2018), authored by Sara Florence Davidson and Robert Davidson, was inspired by Haida ceremonial practice and provides a model for learning for educators that is holistic, relational, practical, and continuous. The authors encourage readers to consider the sk’ad’a (teaching) principles and what they might mean in the context of education today and how these principles can be used in a local educational context. “Potlatch as Pedagogy” offers a lens from which to view teaching and learning from a different yet complimentary perspective to Western approaches to teaching and offers suggests for how educators can respectfully navigate those differences in education.