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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.

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/.

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. 

Manitoba First Nations School System

Manitoba First Nations School System (MFNSS), begun in 2017, has been empowered to engage in Indigenous led education within the province.  Established by the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC), MFNSS is a First Nations-designed and led school system.  For more information, visit: https://www.mfnss.com/About/Pages/default.aspx#/=.

Manitoba First Nations School System (MFNSS), begun in 2017, has been empowered to engage in Indigenous led education within the province.  Established by the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC), MFNSS is a First Nations-designed and led school system.  For more information, visit: https://www.mfnss.com/About/Pages/default.aspx#/=.

First Peoples House (McGill University)

Kakwiranó:ron Cook talks about the First Peoples House and McGill University’s initiatives to support Indigenous students in their academic studies and life on campus.

Since 1997, First Peoples House (FPH) has offered culturally appropriate support services for the university’s Indigenous learners. Often described as a “home away from home,” this dedicated space plays the role of community gathering place, healing, referral, support, tutoring, mentoring and educational guidance and even residence for several students. Some of the activities organized throughout the year include community soup and bannock dinners as well as mid-semester and annual events. In the summer, the FPH, in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine, organizes the Eagle Spirit Camp, a three-day camp for potential future students aged 13 and 17, with the aim of encouraging them to realize their full educational and personal potential. Other events are organized in collaboration with other groups such as the Indigenous Student Alliance (ISA), a student interest group made up of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and the Social Equity and Diversity Education’s Office (SEDE). For example, the Indigenous Awareness Week is held each year and culminates in a Pow Wow on campus in the fall semester, and the Indigenous Educational Series is organized, which takes place during the winter term and aims to raise awareness among the student population of Indigenous issues in Canada.

Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey – John Jerome Paul

John Jerome Paul discusses his work with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and his nearly 50 years working in Indigenous education.

John Jerome Paul discusses his work with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and his nearly 50 years working in Indigenous education.

Round Table on Indigenous Students’ experiences in Post-Secondary education

A round table involving five Indigenous students was held at Trent University to discuss their experiences within post-secondary education. The students offered insights into the challenges getting to university and working within the post-secondary system for Indigenous youth. Some of the themes that emerged from the discussion included, the difficulties deciding on a discipline, the […]

A round table involving five Indigenous students was held at Trent University to discuss their experiences within post-secondary education. The students offered insights into the challenges getting to university and working within the post-secondary system for Indigenous youth. Some of the themes that emerged from the discussion included, the difficulties deciding on a discipline, the challenges in being admitted to post-secondary studies, the significance of a mentor and support within the university setting, and the importance of learning about culture and strengthening identity during their post-secondary educational experience. The members of the round table were:

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

Special thanks to Aye Min Latt, Videographer.

Annapolis Valley First Nation School – Diana MacLean

School director and teacher, Diana MacLean, discusses what makes Annapolis Valley First Nation School so successful in helping students achieve success.

School director and teacher, Diana MacLean, discusses what makes Annapolis Valley First Nation School so successful in helping students achieve success.

Annapolis Valley First Nation School – Duncan MacLean

Teacher Duncan MacLean discusses the importance of the Annapolis Valley First Nation School and the ways in which the school helps foster student success.

Teacher Duncan MacLean discusses the importance of the Annapolis Valley First Nation School and the ways in which the school helps foster student success.

Annapolis Valley First Nation School – Kyle Simon

Kyle Simon, a student at Annapolis Valley First Nation School, discusses the ways in which the school has helped him succeed.

Kyle Simon, a student at Annapolis Valley First Nation School, discusses the ways in which the school has helped him succeed.