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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.

N’Swakamok Alternative School, N’Swakamok Friendship Centre (Sudbury)

The mission of the N’Swakamok Alternative School is to offer a wholistic and culturally inclusive educational program that meets the needs of urban Indigenous students.

Founded in 1990, N’Swakamok Alternative School is housed at the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre in downtown Sudbury. The program is based on individualized, independent learning courses that students can complete at their own pace. The culturally-based program provides one-to-one tutoring, small and large group instruction with an integration of Indigenous content and traditional ways of teaching and learning. The mission of the N’Swakamok Alternative School is to offer a wholistic and culturally inclusive educational program that meets the needs of urban Indigenous students. The program coordinator, teachers and Friendship Centre staff support all students as they work toward their secondary, post-secondary, career and personal goals.

The N’Swakamok Alternative School 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 http://www.nfcsudbury.org/nswakamok-alternative-school/.

Wiingashk Alternative Secondary School, N’Amerind Friendship Centre (London)

Wiingashk Alternative Secondary School is located at N’Amerind Friendship Centre in London. This program offers urban Indigenous students a culture-based education that balances the secondary school curriculum with wholistic, culturally relevant educational approaches.

Wiingashk offers opportunities to learn life skills and Indigenous cultural teachings and is designed to help encourage Indigenous students to continue their self-voiced educational goals. The program coordinator and teachers work collaboratively with Friendship Centre staff, specifically Indigenous counsellors and mental health supports, to assist students with their overall well-being, personal goals, and life challenges. 

The Wiingashk Alternative Secondary School 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 http://www.namerind.on.ca/.

What is Possible in Community? Reflecting on Harvest Days at Sturgeon Lake First Nation

Elder Willie Ermine from Sturgeon Lake First Nation shares about the process of community development and how possibilities like Harvest Days come to fruition in his community.

Elder and ceremonialist, Willie Ermine, from Sturgeon Lake First Nation is the Traditional Health Coordinator at the Lloyd Johnson Memorial Healing Lodge. It is through the Elder’s Council and the work of the Healing Lodge that brings Sturgeon Lake community members together. Ermine discusses the history of his community and shares about the uniqueness of community members. The people are special and it is with the gifts of the people that will determine what is possible. By extracting the memory of the community he hopes that community members will see themselves in the history and will find strength in that knowledge.

Case Study: Sturgeon Lake Traditional Health 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. 

On Natural Law – What are you dressed up in?

By believing in practicing all of the components of Natural Law we are able to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.

Vee Whitehorse of Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation presented at the Regina Elders Gathering in February 2020. Whitehorse is a leader at Leading Thunderbird Lodge where he supports Indigenous youth who are struggling with addictions. The holistic youth treatment centre offers opportunities for youth to connect with their culture, explore their identities, and heal. At the Elders Gathering, Whitehorse frames his discussion around the question: What are you dressed up in? He suggests that language, kinship, ceremony, and Mother Earth/heavens create a Natural Law and when you practice these components you will be less vulnerable,  insulated or ‘dressed up’ and can protect yourself.  

The Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota Oyate

In Lakota ceremonies we pray for good health, happiness, help, and understanding.

Tim Poitras is from Muskowpetung First Nation and is the Sundance Chief of Woptura and the Tiospaye of Pine Ridge South Dakota. At the Regina Elders Gathering held in February 2020, Poitras shares his knowledge and experiences in order to create an awareness of good health, happiness, help, and understanding. In his presentation he discusses the people of the Seven Council Fires, the Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota Oyate, and the Creation Story. The history and knowledge Poitras shares reminds us to honour those that have left us to the spirit world and respect the knowledge and traditions of our people.

At the Regina Elders Gathering held in February 2020, Tim Poitras, from Muskowpetung First Nation, shared about his role in his community and his understanding of Lakota ceremonies. Poitras provides an overview of the Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota Oyate including the following ceremonial rights:

  • Canupa: The Sacred Pipe Ceremony
  • Inipi: The Sweat Lodge;
  • Hanblecha: The Vision Quest
  • Wiwangwacipi: The Sun Dance;
  • Hunkapi: The Making of Relatives; The Keeping of The Soul;
  • Ishna Ta Awi Cha Lowan: Preparing a Girl for Womanhood and a Man for Manhood.

Dene Language Lesson

Margaret Reynolds shares a quick Dene language lesson focusing on the t-dialect.

Margaret Reynolds, a Dene woman from English River First Nation, shares the Dene language with an audience at the Prince Albert Elders Gathering in March 2020. First, she explains that Saskatchewan has 2 dialects the k-dialect (Black Lake, Fond du Lac, Stony) and the t-dialect (English River, etc.). She discusses the Denesuline language, sharing some words and meanings between dialects, acknowledging that there are over twenty Denesuline dialects across the country!

History and Timeline of the Dene People on Turtle Island

A sharing of the history of Dene people and the progression of losing language and culture since contact.

Margaret Reynolds, a Dene woman from English River First Nation, shares the history of Dene people on Turtle Island at the Prince Albert Elders Gathering in March 2020. Reynolds describes how life changed for the Dene people in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta during contact with Europeans. She discusses how the Dene people lived and the nature of trade relations with trading posts before small pox. 

Dene Hand Games

Elders and Knowledge Keepers from northern Saskatchewan demonstrate how to play a Dene Hand Game.

Elder Martin Broussie and Daniel Alphonse from Black Lake First Nation with Allan Adam and George MacDonald from Fond du Lac demonstrate how to play a Dene Hand Game at the Prince Albert Elders Gathering in March 2020. The Dene Hand Game is a guessing game where individual players or teams of players hide objects in one of their hands. The other team must guess which hand the object is in in order to score points – be careful though, points can be stolen!