Indigenous education Vancouver Island
UVic’s latest Legacy Gallery Exhibit explores the essential role of Indigenous artists' creative practices in the reclamation and renewal of culture, identity, stories and teachings. Pictured here is Lynette La Fontaine’s beadwork. La Fontaine is a Two-Spirit otipemisiwak artist. This piece was made from wool, seed beads, dyed caribou hair, dyed whitefish scales. Photo by Michif Elder Dianne Ludwig

IndigiNews is covering education for Indigenous students, teachers, and families: Here’s the latest

We’re following what’s happening in the education space across Vancouver Island, so you don’t have to.

As the IndigiNews education reporter covering Vancouver Island, I’m following all of the latest developments in Indigenous education. Every month, I’ll bring you a roundup of what you need to know about what’s relevant to Indigenous students, teachers, parents and families.

What you need to know: K-12

  • Hesquiaht First Nation received funding for a solar panel project at its community school. Through its Renewable Energy for Remote Communities (RERC) program, the province will provide $419,000 toward construction of a 136-kilowatt solar panel installation at the Hesquiaht Place of Learning. The remote village, located north of Tofino, is off-grid and relies entirely on diesel fuel shipped in by barge to power its generators. “This announcement is part of our long journey towards sustainable energy production, which is key to preserving our rich biodiversity, clean air and pristine waters,” said Chief Josh Charleson.
  • Big Brothers and Sisters of Victoria and Area are hosting a 10-week, free online youth group for female-identifying youth aged 11 to 15. The focus of the Go Girls Online program is to keep youth connected during COVID-19, according to the organization. Start-dates will depend on registration.
  • Esquimalt High School put out a survey to select a new high school mascot. The survey followed up on an earlier mascot contest where people were invited to submit their design ideas. Students and parents had the opportunity to choose between Otter, Eagle, Seal, Sea Lion, Raven, Seagull or Tugboat.
  • Associate Superintendent Harold Caldwell of the Greater Victoria School District sent out an overdose alert to parents and students. The alert was part of a wider Island Health overdose advisory on April 13 after a student died of an overdose in the community.
  • The Cowichan Valley School District announced on their Facebook page that they have added cameras to their bus fleet. The cameras will record cars that pass unloading buses for safety reasons. The camera system was purchased and installed at a cost of $150,000, according to the district.
  • The B.C. Government has expanded mental health and substance abuse services for young people in the 2021 provincial budget, announcing $56 million in new support funding for youth in fifteen communities across the province. The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions announced it is working with other ministries, Indigenous partners and community agencies, to build a culturally-safe system of care that benefits young people and their families throughout the province. The investment is part of the overall $97 million announced for child and youth mental health and substance abuse support, as part of B.C.’s A Pathway to Hope plan.

What you need to know: Post-Secondary

  • The University of Victoria’s Centre for Studies in Religion and Society is inviting applications from Indigenous graduate students, faculty and artists interested in pursuing their own areas of artistic or academic inquiry in a 2021/2022 Indigenous Arts and Research Fellowship. The deadline is May 14 and the fellowship includes a $10,000 award.
  • UVic Legacy Gallery’s next exhibition is called “On Beaded Ground” which explores the essential role of Indigenous artists’ creative practice in the reclamation and renewal of culture, identity, stories and teachings. The exhibit opened on April 21 and will run until September 18.
  • A Professional Project Administrator Certification in partnership with the Métis Nation of BC, the Future Skills Centre and Royal Roads University is offering online training for up to 60 Métis students across B.C. The most recent cohort commenced on April 12. 
  • Emerging artist and student Maura Tamez is showcased by First Peoples’ Cultural Council after receiving support from its Indigenous Arts Scholarship Program.

“The Indigenous Arts Scholarship allowed me to be able to take a step back from working as much as I usually do, especially now with COVID, and to focus more on my artistic practice, expand my understanding of mixed media and determine how I want to move forward as an artist,” she said in a statement.

  • The National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) Trust Fund is now accepting applications from individuals for culture and language learning, post-secondary education, training/certification, and more. 
  • The Victoria Native Friendship Centre has put out a call for Indigenous youth artists under 30 from Lkewungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories to design a logo. The logo will be used for a fund for Indigenous youth in B.C. post-secondary education in the architectural and engineering fields. The selected artist will be awarded $1,000, and the application is open until May 16.
  • UVic has announced it has hired its first Indigenous Associate Vice President. Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas said she wants to focus on ensuring Indigenous voices and ways of knowing are “prioritized and present in all areas [at UVic] and in the work I do locally, nationally and internationally with Indigenous communities and leaders at other post-secondary institutions.”

For information on school COVID-19 exposures this month across the Island according visit Island Health.

Our latest Education Stories:

Indigenous law on the ground at Ye’yumnuts

B.C. schools will remain open due to low infection rates

In photos: Langford students craft Coast Salish drums

That’s it for now! If you have news or information that you want to share, email me: catherine@indiginews.com.