Improve Indigenous lives by looking forward

Being stuck in the past won’t improve Indigenous lives. We need to focus on what’s next

Improve Indigenous lives by looking forwardThe overwhelming majority of Canadians regret the history of European contact with Indigenous peoples, and the injustices and hardships that followed over the hundreds of years since. At the same time, they celebrate Canada’s accomplishments, which have created a Canada that is the envy of the world. New Canadians are more than glad to be…

Earning a law degree fulfils grad’s lifelong dream

Assisting landmark Indigenous cases, Anita Cardinal-Stewart graduates with even stronger passion

Earning a law degree fulfils grad’s lifelong dreamThe caption on her junior-high yearbook photo reads, “Dreams of being a lawyer or an actress.” That was when Anita Cardinal-Stewart was full of hope, and anything seemed possible. But that hope evaporated through her teen years growing up in the Woodland Cree First Nation in northern Alberta. “I started to see how hard it…

Indigenous knowledge sorely lacking in Canadian education system

Age of Enlightenment partly responsible for the destructive colonial logic that has wreaked so much havoc among Indigenous peoples

Indigenous knowledge sorely lacking in Canadian education systemThere is a wisdom principle known as wâhkôhtowin underpinning how Cree peoples fundamentally see the world. Literally, it means kinship but refers more widely to the interconnectedness of human beings with each other and with all other forms of life. According to Dwayne Donald – freshly appointed Canada Research Chair in reimagining teacher education with…

Beloved professor leaves a legacy of scholarship and support

James Dempsey played a key role in the U of A’s early ethics discussions around Indigenous engagement

Beloved professor leaves a legacy of scholarship and supportAs a first-year student at the University of Alberta years ago, Melanie Dene was understandably nervous. But when she got to James Dempsey’s class, she instantly felt better. “To see him I would never have guessed that he was a professor. He had long bushy hair and he wore a Native Pride hat, dark glasses,…

Indigenous education can and must be fixed

If the current arrangements continue, the result will be another lost generation or two

Indigenous education can and must be fixedCanadians have talked extensively about Indigenous education, with much of the recent conversation wrapped up in the condemnation of residential schools. But, despite loud and consistent protests by Indigenous leaders and others, the country has done precious little to address antiquated delivery processes, systemic failings and tragically disappointing outcomes. It might seem odd to say…

Including Indigenous perspectives in conservation planning

How Indigenous and Western knowledge can be equal partners in conservation solutions

Including Indigenous perspectives in conservation planningProtecting the world’s increasingly fragile environments through land and wildlife management, using the thoughtful approach of Indigenous knowledge, is an idea close to Jared Gonet’s heart. As a citizen of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, the University of Alberta student in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences is working with his community and with…

Indigenous Language Club fosters connections to culture and history

Indigenous students engage in the spirit of kinship, learn ancestral languages and enrich lives

Indigenous Language Club fosters connections to culture and historyDanni Okemaw remembers playing outside with her cousins when her mom asked her to stop and watch the television. It was 2008 and Stephen Harper, then prime minister of Canada, was publicly apologizing on behalf of the Canadian government for its role in Indian residential schools – the first step for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of…

Mentorship program helping build brighter futures for Indigenous youth

Young mentors receive high school credits, job training and post-secondary opportunities

Mentorship program helping build brighter futures for Indigenous youthHow can volunteering for an after-school program help you finish high school, go to university and even get a job? It’s all through the power of mentorship – having a role model and being one yourself. It promotes leadership skills, builds confidence, and fosters mino-bimaadiziwin (Anishinaabe) or mino-pimâtisiwin (Cree), which means “living in a good…

Project aims to support revitalization of Indigenous languages

Recognizes that Indigenous communities have sovereignty over their language preservation

Project aims to support revitalization of Indigenous languagesReflecting on the distinctions between her Cree language and English, elder Mary Cardinal-Collins considers the phrase ‘old lady’ a term with two very different meanings. In English, the words sound harsh and disrespectful, but she notes the same term in the Cree language, nohtikwew, embraces a much gentler, richer meaning. “If you break the word apart,…

Agreement signed to train more Indigenous physicians

Six northeastern Alberta First Nations partner with the U of A to improve health care for their members

Agreement signed to train more Indigenous physiciansSix northeastern Alberta First Nations have formed a new partnership with the University of Alberta to train more Indigenous physicians and improve health care for their members. The memorandum of relational understanding between the university and Tribal Chiefs Ventures Inc., which represents Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Cold Lake First Nation, Frog Lake First Nation, Heart Lake…
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