fbpx

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.

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.

Jocelyn Formsma – Student of Life

Examples of formal and informal Indigenous Education from a ‘student of life’ who describes the importance of language and land-based learning.

Examples of formal and informal Indigenous Education from a ‘student of life’ who describes the importance of language and land-based learning.

E. Bob – Anishnawbek Wellness Teachings and Ceremony in Support of Inmates

This program utilizes traditional knowledge and ceremony to advance the intentions of corrections institutions.

This program offers inmate populations an opportunity to learn life skills and coping strategies through Anishinawbek wellness teachings and ceremony. The program hopes that inmates will have a better understanding of traditional knowledge as they practice sharing in circles, smudge to get ready for ceremony, as well as, engaging in a community pipe. Group sharing provides the inmates with a safe place to talk about themselves and offers a break from being stuck in an incarceration setting.

Lizz Nootchtai – Land Based Healing

Land based healing models, teaching culture and Anishnawbek knowledge, worldview, ways of being, ceremony. This program is offered on demand, Lizz makes herself available because this is her role and responsibility.

Land based healing models, teaching culture and Anishnawbek knowledge, worldview, ways of being, ceremony. This program is offered on demand, Lizz makes herself available because this is her role and responsibility.

Mary Jane Fraser – Teaching Culture, History and Music: The Story Knowledge of Creation

To teach culture, history and music. To have access to what could be considered a privilege offered at the library, pow-wow grounds, school settings and at the band office, throughout the year. All community members can access the programs, in and around the City of Greater Sudbury. Mary also offers translation services as well. Mary […]

To teach culture, history and music. To have access to what could be considered a privilege offered at the library, pow-wow grounds, school settings and at the band office, throughout the year. All community members can access the programs, in and around the City of Greater Sudbury. Mary also offers translation services as well. Mary has a four year project offering story knowledge of Creation in partnership with Sudbury Symphony Proponent for Native content in libraries. Where there is a designated section.

Paula Potts – What to do With the Life You Are Given

The program will provide an understanding of Male responsibilities, goal setting, what to do with the life you are given and cultural understanding. Giving teachings about reality and beliefs (Anishnawbek). Sweat lodges and their healing through vulnerability towards self healing (sharing circles) focuses on energy which clears the way to self healing. Healing in the […]

The program will provide an understanding of Male responsibilities, goal setting, what to do with the life you are given and cultural understanding. Giving teachings about reality and beliefs (Anishnawbek). Sweat lodges and their healing through vulnerability towards self healing (sharing circles) focuses on energy which clears the way to self healing. Healing in the sense of reclaiming our own power and taking power back from the crown. Distancing ourselves from victim dependent thinking.

Edward George – In Unity with Water

Edward George is a young man from Saugeen First Nation who has developed a unique following of people who have watched him travel across the Great Lakes to raise awareness regarding water. Edward is known as a water-walker, as someone who continuously fights and supports water efforts across Turtle Island. As a young person seeking […]

Edward George is a young man from Saugeen First Nation who has developed a unique following of people who have watched him travel across the Great Lakes to raise awareness regarding water. Edward is known as a water-walker, as someone who continuously fights and supports water efforts across Turtle Island. As a young person seeking knowledge, Edward shares his perspective on what he believes Indigenous knowledge looks like.

Laurie McLeod-Shabogesic – Engaging the Spirit

Laurie McLeod of Nipissing First Nation shares her understanding of engaging the spirit within all areas of life. She shares her own knowledge of Indigenous education and how to better support people seeking guidance within academia.

Laurie McLeod of Nipissing First Nation shares her understanding of engaging the spirit within all areas of life. She shares her own knowledge of Indigenous education and how to better support people seeking guidance within academia.

Blair Beaucage – Getting to know Anishinaabe Education

Blair Beaucage an Indigenous teacher at Nbisiing Secondary School talks about his own desire to understand Indigenous education within the Anishinabe perspective. Blair of Nipissing First Nation talks about the importance of understanding traditional methods of knowledge by learning on and from the land.

Blair Beaucage an Indigenous teacher at Nbisiing Secondary School talks about his own desire to understand Indigenous education within the Anishinabe perspective. Blair of Nipissing First Nation talks about the importance of understanding traditional methods of knowledge by learning on and from the land.