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Greetings. A new edition of Our Gifted Children Special Education Newsletter is out.


Grassroots youth-led initiative celebrates 2020’s Indigenous grads

June 10, 2020

An Oneida and Anishinaabe teenager is calling on Indigenous grads, proud parents, aunties, leaders, friends, and coaches to participate in a grassroots initiative that recognizes the achievements of this year’s graduates across the country.


Twins from Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation head to Michigan State University

June 09, 2020

Twin Anishinaabe boys are heading to Michigan State University in the fall after successful high school careers at St. Andrew’s College in Ontario. Originally from Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation on the Bruce Peninsula, Neebeesh and Neebin Elliott say they have always been competitive since they were children, but have also always been there to support one another.


Next generation of language keepers

June 07, 2020

Cora and Farris Lemaigre are making history on their Dene reserve in northern Saskatchewan. The cousins were just hired to teach at the K-12 school on Clearwater River Dene Nation in the fall, becoming the first former students to return as certified teachers with a bachelor of education degree. Even more remarkable is that the women earned their university degrees on the remote reserve and in their traditional Dene language.


Black Lives Matter translation prompts calls for changes to Ojibway language

June 05, 2020

The phrase Black Lives Matter has been translated into many Indigenous languages to show support for the movement over the last week, but the Ojibway language’s term for black people is spurring calls for change. “The people’s attitudes in trying to translate ‘Black Lives Matter’ is what set me off,” said Felisha Simone.  Earlier this week, Simone said she was watching people in an Ojibway language Facebook group attempt to translate ‘Black Lives Matter.’


Anishinaabe brothers work to learn and embrace traditional language

June 04, 2020

Learning your culture and keeping a traditional language alive is important to many members of the Rice family. Former Up North host Waubgeshig Rice showcased learners and speakers of various Indigenous languages spoken across northern Ontario in his feature, Living Languages. It started in 2019 when the United Nations declared it was the Year of Indigenous Languages.


Lecce says update is coming on next school year

June 04, 2020

Ontario Education Minister says consultations are still taking place in regards to a return to school plan. He says they’re preparing for all possibilities a return to school could mean. “I can assure parents there will be protocol that will ensure the safety of kids. We are looking at all options on the table. You are right to note there could be risks in terms of a second wave or other types of challenges we have to be ready for in the government, and we are planning for those eventualities,” he said.


20 Canadian books for kids and teens to read for National Indigenous History Month

June 04, 2020

June is National Indigenous History Month. Celebrate by reading one of these books for younger readers by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors.


Sudbury college gets $700K for research into urban agriculture, Indigenous learning

June 05, 2020

Cambrian College in Sudbury has received more than $700,000 in funding for two new projects being led by Cambrian R&D, the college’s applied research department. The funding comes from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program and College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF).


Online Indigenous graduation celebration highlights closeness and community

June 04, 2020

In this age of social distancing and remote gatherings, many people decry the lack of human contact as contributing to make the world a colder, lonely place. It would have done the hearts of those same people well if they had taken in the First Peoples’ House (FPH) graduation ceremony held on June 3.


More Indigenous people in Canada are graduating from high school than ever. It’s still not nearly enough

June 04, 2020

High schools across Canada are figuring out unique ways to celebrate this spring’s graduates, with the usual ceremonies of caps and gowns and pomp and circumstance cancelled because of the pandemic.


Honouring our Indigenous history

June 04, 2020

Leaders, communities and organizations across northwestern Ontario and the Treaty #3 territory are celebrating the region’s Indigenous values, cultures and teachings this month, as the region takes part in National Indigenous History Month. Kenora Rainy-River MPP and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Greg Rickford, says now is the time to reflect on the Indigenous teachings and leaders that have helped to shape our country into what it is today.


Dolores Wawia, an ‘ogiimaakwe’ in Indigenous education, mourned across Ontario

June 02, 2020

People across northwestern Ontario are mourning the death of Dolores Wawia, a trailblazer and long-time advocate for Indigenous education, who died Sunday at the age of 76. Wawia, who was from Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek, also known as Gull Bay First Nation, was a founding member of the Lakehead Public Schools Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee and was serving as the co-chair when she died.


Teacher offers road safety words in Anishinaabemowin

June 03, 2020

Jessica Shonias says there are many phrases in her language of Anishinaabemowin to send a message of safe driving. She’s a teacher who considers Rama First Nation and Atikameksheng Anishnawbek her home. Shonias spoke on Up North on common words when it comes to driving, especially when speaking to her husband — “slowly” and “be careful.”


Couple from Wasauksing First Nation creates ‘language nest’ to help save Anishinaabemowin

June 02, 2020

His Anishinaabemowin language means everything to him. That’s why Chance King is determined to do what he can to save it. He and his wife Mariah have created a language nest on Wasauksing First Nation near Parry Sound. They believe that the immersion-based approach of a language nest is the best way to create new fluent speakers before it’s too late.


Teacher gets students cheering for Raptors in Anishinaabemowin

June 02, 2020

Raptor fever exploded across the country in 2019 as the team edged closer and closer to its first National Basketball Association championship.  Dominic Beaudry is a teacher with the Sudbury Catholic District School Board and a huge fan of the Raptors, Canada’s only NBA team.


Ojibwe language teacher gives a lesson on winter words

June 03, 2020

An Ojibwe language teacher from Garden River First Nation, near Sault Ste. Marie, sees the winter season as an opportunity to learn new words. Barbara Nolan spoke with Up North host Waubgeshig Rice about the different words in Ojibwe for winter clothing, as well as expressions on staying safe while out in the cold.


Local Grade 11 students to take Indigenous studies course

June 02, 2020

Starting in September 2020, all District School Board Ontario North East (DSB1) Grade 11 students will be enrolling in English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Me´tis, and Inuit Voices Grade 11, Workplace, College or University Preparation. This course is the equivalent to the Grade 11 English course for all pathways and serves as a prerequisite for any of the Grade 12 English courses, within the same pathway. Understanding contemporary First Nations, Metis and Inuit voices is the focus of this course.


35 books to read for National Indigenous History Month

June 01, 2020

June is National Indigenous History Month. Celebrate by reading one of these books by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors.


A question of legacy: Cree writing and the origin of the syllabics

June 02, 2020

Language history was made in Canada almost 180 years ago, but not everyone agrees on whose history it was. In the northern reaches of what is now Manitoba, at Norway House, a Christian hymn was printed in Cree syllabics — a script alien to the Western eye. The syllabics are a writing system that represents the sounds of spoken Cree in shapes and forms, without analog in Roman lettering.


Donation will help NOSM launch Indigenous learner awards, provide mentorship opportunities

May 29, 2020

A donation from CIBC will help the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) set up annual awards for Indigenous students. The $150,000 donation will support two new awards at the medical school, which has a campus at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. The Indigenous Learner Leadership and Mentorship Award will be given to an Indigenous NOSM student in their final year of the medical doctor program, who plans to return to a northern community to practice medicine.


Cat Lake youth self-express through song, produce video

May 28, 2020

Love, togetherness, family values and connections to nature. That is what youth from Cat Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario wanted to write and sing about through a self-expression program that culminated with the production of their own music video. Their song Run Free debuted on YouTube on March 25.


Northern students flocking online to continue postsecondary studies

May 27, 2020

As COVID-19 keeps post-secondary students out of the classroom, Contact North is seeing increased demand for online learning, and that’s only expected to grow. “No question that there is a big, big, big uptake in online learning – full stop,” said Maxim Jean-Louis, Contact North’s president and CEO.


Hewgill, Taylor, Ruffo are new student trustees

May 27, 2020

Emily Hewgill, Evan Taylor and Amara Ruffo will serve as Algoma District School Board student trustees for the 2020-2021 school year. Hewgill is a Grade 11 student at Superior Heights Collegiate and Vocational School. She has helped organize the school’s talent show and assisted with the distribution of donated clothing to students in need.  Taylor is a Grade 10 student at Elliot Lake Secondary School. He is a member of student council and the community’s community liaison committee. Ruffo, a member of Chapleau Cree First Nation, will serve as Indigenous student trustee. She is currently vice-chair of the English public board’s Northern Indigenous Youth Council. Ruffo is also involved with Mushkegowuk Youth Council.


Anishinaabe writer Waubgeshig Rice hopes popular novel will be adapted for the screen

May 26, 2020

Some have called Moon of the Crusted Snow the perfect book for the times we’re in.

The novel was released in 2018 to critical praise but it has seen a resurgence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, writer and journalist, Waubgeshig Rice has been asked to pen a sequel to the post-apocalyptic story about a small, northern Anishinaabe community that goes dark as winter looms.


In the North, young policy researchers innovate and adjust for Covid 19

May 25, 2020

Canada’s North often faces unique policy challenges that require made-in-the-North solutions. New generations of northern leaders are demonstrating extraordinary creativity, critical thinking and a strong desire for change. The Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship, run since 2010 by The Gordon Foundation, has given young leaders an opportunity to build skills not readily available in the North.


The Ontario Ministry of Education is asking for advice on how schools should be operated in September.

May 25, 2020

Ontario’s elementary and secondary schools have been closed since mid-March. About two million students are learning at home, mainly online, for the rest of the school year.  Education Minister Stephen Lecce has warned that schools will be different in September as the province relies on guidance from public health authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


U of Manitoba midwife program slated to start next year

May 25, 2020

The University of Manitoba is set to deliver a new bachelor’s degree program in midwifery starting in 2021, with a special focus on Indigenous practices to address the need for midwives in northern, remote communities. The new program will admit six students a year, with half the spots designated for Indigenous students. Midwives have been licensed in the province since 2000, but there are still only 55 working across the province. A previous midwifery program offered by the U of M in partnership with University College of the North was cancelled in 2016, leaving 14 students in limbo.


Carleton University undertakes learning difficult truths about shared past by learning together

May 25, 2020

The importance of Institutional Humility and 41 specific Calls to Action to guide reconciliation, Indigenous learning efforts and positive long-term change were highlighted in Carleton University’s recently released Kinàmàgawin (learning together), the final report published by the Carleton University Strategic Indigenous Initiatives Committee (CUSIIC).


Unique diploma counselling program to be offered in the N.W.T.

May 21, 2020

When Jean Erasmus trained with Indigenous Health Services she had one burning question. “I asked them how many Indigenous counsellors there were in all three territories and they told me there were 54 counsellors, and I was the only indigenous one working with residential school survivors and their families and I thought ‘wow okay, there’s a need here,’” Erasmus said.