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PREMIERE ISSUE + resources
financial survival tips Toronto’s Native roots and more!
Traditional Knowledge to the Rescue:
Can Indigenous Education Save the Planet?
Welcome and Acknowledgements First Nations House Background Toronto’s Native Roots Financial Survival Tips Legendary Lee Maracle Indigenous Faculty Profile: Rauna Kuokkanen FNH’s Amazing Alumni Indigenous Education: A Real Solution For Our Real Issues Making Your School Experience More Accessible Aboriginal Studies Community Resources in the Greater Toronto Area -
FNH MAGAZINE Published by First Nations House, University of Toronto, 563 Spadina Avenue, 3rd Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A1 Advisory Council: Lee Maracle, Daniel Heath Justice Director: Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo
First Nations House would like to acknowledge a number of individuals who were largely responsible for helping develop the concept for the magazine and getting it off the ground.
Editor: Cherie Dimaline Design: David Shilling, MAAIINGAN Productions
To one who inspired us, taught us, and listened to us. This premier edition of the FNH Magazine is devoted to Dr. Lillian McGregor Serving First Nations House as Grandmother and Elder-in-Residence from 1994 to 2008, Nokomis provided us with wisdom, warmth, and a sense of humour… …and a kick in the pants when we really deserved it! Chi Meegwetch
Contributing Writers: Candace Brunette, Christine McFarlane, Deborah McGregor, Heather Howard, Candace Maracle, Jorge Vallejos Photographers: Robert Snache, Nadya Kwandibens Make-up/Hair for Cover: Ellen O’Dowd Copy Editors/Editorial Assistants: Jessicka Loduca, Brendan Martyn Webmaster: MAAIINGAN Productions, www.maaiingan.com
On behalf of the ANISHINABEK NATION 7TH GENERATION CHARITY, the ANISHINABEK NATION and SCOTIABANK
Printer: LM Print Solutions, email@example.com
ON YOUR PREMIERE EDITION OF FIRST NATIONS HOUSE MAGAZINE
VOLUME 1, Issue 1 FNH accepts no responsibility for unsolicited materials. FNH assumes no responsibility for content or advertisements. Submissions: unsolicited manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped return envelope.
Apply to AN7GC for the Scotiabank Student Excellence Awards. Each year four students who exemplify the highest achievement levels for post-secondary studies are selected.
To request your copy of FNH Magazine, contact us at www.fnhmagazine.com. Submissions: If you are interested in writing for FNH magazine, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your idea, relevant experience and any other information that may help explain your story.
For more information contact AN7GC at 705-497-9127 ext. 2261.
Welcome to FNH Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo, Director, First Nations House Why a magazine? This was one of the questions that I asked myself when this idea of publishing one surfaced in a monthly meeting with Marilyn Van Norman, the former director of Student Services, a few years ago. At first, it was to be an expansion of the “Eagle’s Cry,” the quarterly newsletter of First Nations House. Then it dawned on me that it couldn’t be just a bigger version of what we were doing. First Nations House had evolved; the students had evolved; Aboriginal issues and the community at the school had evolved. Our newsletter, however, was stuck. We needed to find a way that could show that the Aboriginal community within the University of Toronto was alive and kicking.
Marilyn Van Norman, retired director of former Office of Student Services, who “coauthored” the vision of the publication and really facilitated with making the right connections for me to get this going; Jacqueline Raaflaub at the Division of University Advancement for literally doing most of the legwork so that we could pull this idea together; Diana Krupal, editor of the IDEAS Magazine at the Faculty of Arts and Science, Scott Anderson, editor at the U of T Magazine, and Dave (Chillin) Shilling of Maaiingan Productions who permitted me to pick their brains as I arrived into this without having a clue; and Daniel Heath Justice and Lee Maracle who graciously provided me with sage (and blunt) advice as they donated their experience and knowhow while on the advisory committee. I am very thankful for the enthusiasm and organizational skills of Cherie Dimaline, who agreed to be the Editor of this publication and was solely responsible for coming up with its title, “FNH.” Although I was excited with this idea of the magazine at its conception, Cherie brought it to another level that I was not capable of imagining for the first issue. I am also grateful for all those (writers, interviewees) who contributed to the stories. This could not have been done without you. Last, but definitely not least, is The Counselling Foundation of Canada, which provided the necessary financial support to produce three issues of “FNH”. Without the Foundation’s generous assistance, this publication would have likely remained in the dreaming stage.
The publication needed to grow up. Fast-forward to 2008, and what you have in front of you is a glimpse of the richness that the Aboriginal community has to offer, not only to the University, but also to society at large. Whether it is a student or faculty member, an Elder or staff, there is really brilliant work being produced that largely goes unnoticed. This is our way of introducing, or re-introducing, our community to you. You may be a professor, a student, a parent or someone who is thinking about going to school. We believe that you will find something in here that will grip you. So enjoy, learn and allow yourself to be drawn in.
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Someone steal your copy of FNH? Want to learn more about the writers, get links to the departments and people and get more involved? Visit us online at www.fnhmagazine for the issues, bonus materials and valuable links. MAGAZINE FNH
First Nations House: Where Potential mbodying the ideas of family and community, First Nations House (FNH) is a refuge for the University of Toronto’s diverse Aboriginal students. After opening its doors in 1992, the centre quickly became a hub for students seeking the safety of a home filled with the dynamic energy of academic excellence. Today, First Nations House is intricately woven into the university tapestry, a vital part of the overall U of T experience. How We Came To Be. In 1982 Dean Lowery, then with the Faculty of Medicine, established a committee with a mandate to focus on the pressing needs of the Aboriginal community in terms of accessing post secondary education. He was specifically seeking an answer to the troublesome question of why there were so few Native students at the University of Toronto. As part of this committee, a workshop was held in 1983, with diverse participants from within the University, community and relevant organizations. The recommendations that were formed through this workshop embodied a plan that the University could follow to increase Native participation across all study areas. The committee proved to be timely as in 1984 Heath and Welfare Canada came forward with a proposal to universities to fund and deliver programming that would increase Native participation in the professional health field – an interest that sparked Dean Lowery’s first committee. Subsequently, the Aboriginal Health Professions Programs began operating in 1986, a forerunner to the Special Committee on Native Canadian Students (SCNCS) that would later develop. The SCNCS was established in 1987 by the Academic Board with a resolution to encourage and support the participation of Native students in professional degree programs along with an action plan to ensure long-term budgetary stability for the program. Advice was sought around the issues facing Aboriginal students from as close to home as current Aboriginal students, to as far away as First Nations Chiefs on reserve, to ensure a holistic and inclusive study. By December 1988, the Committee had submitted an interim report known as the ‘Chamberlain Report’, named for the President of the Committee. The crux of the report was that U of T was capable of providing a much broader range of opportunities and supports to Native students than it had been, that these students needed access to the University as a whole but that they should also have their own home carved into the existing structure. By the end of the Special Committee in 1990, a new body had been formed; the Aboriginal Student Advisory Committee. The Chamberlain Report was instrumental in the formation of the Aboriginal Students Advisory Committee (ASAC) whose goal was to examine the inventory of resources and activities related to Aboriginal studies, to look at the range of programs that could be offered dealing with Aboriginal issues and the potential for implementing a program of Aboriginal Studies. Diane Longboat pioneered ‘The Indian Health Career’s Program’ at U of T through a partnership with the Faculty of Medicine. Over time Longboat, together with the Native Student Association and various faculty members, began advocating for stronger supports for the Aboriginal students in all studies. It was then, in 1992, that First Nations House was founded. Its open doors signified the beginning of a long-term commit4
ment by the University and fully supported by the Native community to not only get Aboriginal students into the school, but to ensure that their needs were met once they got there, increasing student retention. FNH became a home away from home and allowed students to feel safe, welcomed and respected in their own house on such a vast and impressive campus. Throughout 1993 and 1994, the University consulted and commissioned research to determine how and what the Aboriginal studies component should look like. At this time, other Canadian universities were developing and implementing Aboriginal specific studies and programming during a period of immense growth. The Aboriginal Studies Program was formed and along with it, a strong bond with First Nations House. The two offices work together as a team to provide services, education, supports and enlightenment to all students who come seeking. PROGRAMS AND SERVICES: First Nations House continues to provide a number of culturally supportive student services and programs to Aboriginal students and the general University community, including: - - - - - - - - - - - -
Academic and Financial Supports Admissions Support Financial Aid Counseling Bursaries and Scholarships Housing, Daycare and Employment Referrals Resource Centre/Library Work Study Program Elders Writer in Residence Program Communal Areas Ongoing Events Access to Computer Lab
Grows Into Success
City of Toronto Archives: CORNERSTONE PLAQUE - Exhibition Arena subseries 100, item 3
NATIVE HISTORY F
or Aboriginal people living in the Toronto area there is a long history of Native occupation which Toronto’s modern towers of concrete and steel may obscure but cannot eradicate. It has been posited by some historical researchers that the precontact Aboriginal people in North America were the original “affluent society.” By this they meant that, compared with other societies at that time, the amount of time Aboriginal people had to spend to fulfill their subsistence needs was less, leaving more time for leisure and other cultural, recreational and social pursuits. European explorers who first penetrated the interior of North America found broad forest expanses they described as park-like; not recognizing that these were carefully managed and cultivated storehouses for Native people. The Toronto area offered a rich habitat for various forms of wildlife, and for Aboriginal societies practicing hunting and gathering (and later fur trading and trapping), as well as those pursuing horticultural activities. The waterways provided natural travel routes, and there were many fine harbours and lees in which to find shelter. The Great Lakes area, particularly around Toronto, was a place not dissimilar to the Mediterranean in that many cultures and peoples met for the purposes of trade and commerce – dating back thousands of years prior to European contact. In this process, cultures melded and developed, groups intermarried, and languages and cultures flourished. Opportunities to
simultaneously pursue horticulture and game hunting meant that the Native peoples of the area had the luxury of developing complex and sophisticated ceremonial lives; the long autumn season was (and is) an important ceremonial time in the annual cycles of all the Aboriginal peoples who have lived in the region. The first non-Native to reach the “big beautiful lake,” Ontario, was likely the French courier-de-bois Etienne Brule, whose first view was from the mouth of the Humber River in 1615. Brule recorded no human habitation at that time. However, evidence shows there were villages in this area which had been abandoned about half-a-century earlier. Numerous archaeological sites under the city attest to the life, use, and occupancy of the area by the Wendat (Huron). It is likely that the rivers and lake were used on a continuous annual basis, also by the Anishinaabek, to harvest fish. A large village known to archaeologists as Teiaiagon at Toronto was also established by the Seneca on the Humber River (now just south of High Park) about fifty years after Brule’s visit.
The name Toronto, which in the Wendat language refers to a fishing weir constructed of standing sticks in the water, clearly refers to this important gathering activity to the area’s many Aboriginal peoples. The seasonal gatherings of fish from the weirs in this very abundant place, would not have been the exclusive domain of one specific Aboriginal group, but instead involved many peoples and occasioned ceremonial, trade, and celebratory gatherings. The name thus extended to the broader definition “gathering place,” and metaphorically to the significance of this place as one where many people come together to meet on positive terms. Similarly, the Mnjikaning First Nation recognize their sacred role in protecting the 4500 year-old weirs, which they shared with their Wendat neighbors between lakes Simcoe and Couchiching – to which their name, Mnjikaning in the Anishnaabe language, also refers to fishing weirs. While some have narrowly assumed that the name Toronto as the “gathering place” is an inaccurate “mistranslation,” the multilayered understanding of a single item such as a fishing weir in terms of its natural, sacred, practical, and social meanings is in keeping with the Indigenous knowledge frameworks of the peoples of this area. The Jesuit missionaries arrived in the region, in a concentrated effort, in the 1640s – a time which coincided with a sweep of epidemics through the Aboriginal populations. Approximately 65,000 people lived in the area at that time, and it is estimated that fifty percent died as a result of the introduction of European diseases. The death of so many had predictable results: many of the dead were Elders and the communi-
ties were robbed of their leadership at a time when it was most needed; productive capacity was severely diminished; the local positions of these Aboriginal people within the fur trade and within Native trading networks were destabilized; the inability of their own spiritual practitioners to deal with the foreign disease led to the undermining of Native spirituality. Those who survived were dispersed, and sought refuge among their kin and neighbors outside the area. The French established a fur trade post called Fort Rouille at the present site of the Canadian National Exhibition in 1750, one of a series of three French fur trade posts at Toronto, and later Fort York. Bands of Anishnaabek who monopolized this trade, camped in numerous places along the shoreline to the Don River, and on the Toronto Islands (which were then a peninsula attached to the mainland). The islands held longstanding, special healing significance to the Anishnaabek. As D.W. Smith’s Gazetteer recorded in 1813, “the long beach or peninsula, which affords a most delightful ride, is considered so healthy by the Indians that they resort to it whenever indisposed.” The Toronto Islands were important stopping places for the Anishnaabe fishery and were places of healing and spiritual renewal. At the height of the fur trade, First Nations were increasingly put under pressure (from European encroachment into their lands) to form various alliances with European military and trading partners. Native peoples formed alliances with both Europeans and other First Nations, for their own purposes, and with their own agendas. Around the year 1700, the Mississauga had expelled the Haudensaune from the Toronto area and had established control and settlement of the north shore of Lake Ontario and Trent River Valley. By the late eighteenth century, land cessions, mostly negotiated under the terms of Peace and Friendship treaties, had laid the basis for increased European settlement of the Great
City of Toronto Archives: NATIVE INDIAN GROUP series 1057, item 4869 MAP OF TORONTO PURCHASE fonds 1231, item 174 PLAQUE, THE DEFENSE OF YORK subseries 100, item 138
Queen’s Park Protests (dates unknown)
Lakes region, and particularly the Toronto area. The first land surrender made by the Mississauga to the British Crown was in 1781 – ceding land along the north bank of the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario in return for 300 suits of clothing. A number of other sales of lands by numerous bands of the Mississauga followed. In 1787, Sir John Johnson and Col. John Butler apparently purchased a large tract of land on the north shore of Lake Ontario, a transaction known as the Toronto Purchase. However, the document which formalized the transaction, omitted a description of the area surrendered. It contained a blank spot where descriptions of the surrendered land were supposed to be inserted after the fact. Also, the Mississauga retained their rights to their traditional fishing grounds particularly along the many creeks which flowed into Lake Ontario, now covered by the City of Toronto. This may have included Taddle Creek which ran through what is now “Philosophers Walk” on the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto. During the latter decades of the eighteenth century, the Mississauga were given assurances many times that their fishing and burial grounds would be protected from escalating non-Native aggression; including a proclamation made in 1796. However, these efforts were largely ineffectual. In 1805, an agreement was drawn up with the Mississauga of the New Credit River to affirm the 1787 transaction. However, the boundaries of the ceded lands contained in this document did not correspond correctly to those meant to have been included in the earlier surrender. Therefore, more lands were taken from the Mississauga than had been their intention to sell. A 1916 inquiry revealed that the 1805 disagreements meant that the lands remained unsurrendered, giving rise to the signing of the Williams Treaties in 1923, to which seven Mississauga and Chippewa bands were party. The New Credit First Nation, who in 1847, had had to relocate to their present location near Hagersville, were never approached to participate in the 1923 treaty-making. Hence, beginning in 2003, the federal government entered into negotiations with the New Credit First Nation to resolve the issue of their having not surrendered their interest in the Toronto lands. Although the Mississauga of the New Credit had relocated, they continued to press for their rights on Toronto lands into the latter nineteenth century. For example, in a communication to the Duke of Newcastle in September 1860, they complained that their former council grounds still belonged to them (now the site of the Center for Addictions and Mental Health, Queen Street Mental Health centre). They wrote, “A lot of three acres in the vicinity of Toronto City near or where the Provincial Lunatic Asylum now stands, this was a Reserve for camping and council purposes.” Into the twentieth century, Native people continued to travel and trade in the Toronto region, and there is some evidence that many Native families remained in the area. The proximity of many reserves to Toronto and the development of the city as a centre of government, commerce, trade and education, ensured that Native people maintained a presence in exerted some influence within the life of Toronto. The history of the Toronto area is one in which Native peoples were integrally involved. Their full knowledge and use of the area and its rich environmental resources prior to the arrival of Europeans is attested to by the rich archaeological history of the area, by its recounting in oral
testimony, and by the abundance of place names given to various geographical features in the city. Many of these names survive in anglicized forms today such as “Spadina”, which was “I-shpa-di-naa”, a hill or sudden rise in the land in the Anishinaabe language. They also had extensive knowledge of the lifeways of other Native peoples across North America, and enjoyed participation in a rich trading network. Situated geographically, and with regards to other nations, they were in a unique position to take advantage of new trading opportunities with Europeans. Their participation in the fur trade was buttressed by their control of two key travel routes in the Great Lakes area – the portages to Lake Simcoe and to Georgian Bay. The nineteenth century was, however, a great century of change, and in that time, pressures of settlement, disease, competition for game, warfare and political alliances of Aboriginal nations resulted in their marginalization in their own lands. This however, did not mean that Native people disappeared from the landscape. They continued to press for redress of the injustices committed against them throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. Native people continued to live in the Toronto area, both as individuals and communities, but they were like a fire that lives under the moss – burning slowly and gently but with little smoke, until their significant reemergence after the Second World War.
Courtesy of: The Toronto Native Community History Project (TNCHP)
AUTHOR BIOS: Heather A. Howard (Bobiwash) received her Doctorate from the University of Toronto in 2005. In 1995 she and her late husband, A. Rodney Bobiwash, founded the Toronto Native Community History Project. She is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor at Michigan State University. A. Rodney Bobiwash (Mississauga) was Director of First Nations House, 1995-1999. He also served as a Policy Analyst, Race Relations Program Coordinator and Executive Director of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. When he passed to the spirit world in 2002, he was Director of the Forum for Global Exchange, Centre for World Indigenous Studies – an international organization, thst promotes Indigenous knowledge. Bobiwash studied history at Trent University and at Oxford, England.
Legend in the House Lee Maracle inspires as First Nations House Writer in Residence By Candace Maracle
Lee Maracle embodies the spirit of First Nations’ culture in her writing and in her work as mentor at the University of Toronto. The Writer in Residence at First Nations House for over three years now, she was originally invited to the post by Director Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo to help launch the brand new position with a bang. Hamilton-Diabo, was familiar with Lee’s work and knew she would be integral to increasing First Nations students’ access to education by employing her creative skills as a writer and a scholar. Lee began doing just that, facilitating eight workshops over the year to promote writing and to assist students with preparing papers and research. Lee’s reputation as a writer preceded her and students began to make regular visits to her office for academic counsel. Her gift of laughter (part of the package deal bestowed upon this writer by the Creator, along with her incredible creative talents and her approachable demeanor), made it easy for students to overcome first-year jitters and feelings of self-consciousness. Coupled with Lee’s background as an Indigenous woman, her extensive knowledge of First Nations issues and barriers to education allowed her to identify with the needs and realities of those people she counseled. Without the pressures of adhering to a very structured course with unyielding timeframes, students were more receptive to feedback and course assignments. Lee was able to acknowledge the atypical backgrounds of her students and created a space for their extracurricular responsibilities as well as providing a creative outlet for their burdens. Lee struggled with many of the same issues in academia as the students who came to visit her. As a little girl, the principal barrier to Lee’s education was language. Lee’s first language was Squamish – also called Halkomplen. She speaks of her early years in a Canadian elementary school, where English was the chief language spoken, as difficult. “The two languages, even in English were diametrically opposed, especially when you’re translating from your own conceptual language.” English words and phrases only articulate fragments of the words spoken in Native languages, “We don’t like a lot of words to explain things.” Lee reminisces about her very first classroom where she learned teachings from her Elders – often told as stories. It was an Indigenous approach, opposite of many of the methods taught by schools today. It went something like this: beginning with the subject, the Elders narrowed down what they wanted to do with that subject, then used stories to demonstrate it, while reserving discussion and analysis until later. If an Elder wanted to tell why the Earth underfoot must be respected, they might start with the Trickster, the embodiment of all that is childish and credulous in one spirit. From the beginning it is evident that Nanabosho (Trickster) will find himself in the midst of a predicament through disrespect for Mother Earth. Inevitably, Nanabosho will need the help of Mother Earth, or one of the four-legged – reinforcing dependence and instilling respect. Lee guides her students using the oral tradition the Squamish Elders used when she was a young girl. “Elders spoke in metaphor,” Lee says, “they spoke in a roundabout way or sang their stories in which meanings were meant to be derived.” Oral tradition is intrinsic in First Nations knowledge transmission. “Aboriginal people, even when they haven’t learned their language or lived in the community, can learn orally through the institution.” Lee believes that more than half of the students she mentors benefit from traditional teaching methods by simply discussing their ideas aloud, a concept Lee refers to as “learning through oratory.” The enlivened process of free-writing she describes is almost organic; once the paper is structured vis à vis student and teacher dialogue, she says it almost begins to write itself. Her students seem to visualize the words suspended in the chasm of conver-
sation between them. “Our stories help maintain our focus and are central to how we gather our information […] How we wrap things up becomes a gift in teaching students,” Lee says of her teaching style. This method of free-writing and learning through oratory has worked for this award winning-author. First published in 1976, Lee is one of the founders of the En’owkin International School of Writing in Penticton, BC, the Indigenous Fine Arts Program and the Okanogan Language Program. Lee has held a visiting professorship with the Women’s Studies program at the University of Toronto. She was the Traditional Cultural Director for the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and part of the Aboriginal Mentoring component for the Transitional Year Program and First Nations House at the University of Toronto. She has been the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Canadian Culture at Western Washington University and a Writer in Residence at the University of Guelph. Lee has written a number of critically acclaimed literary works including: Sojourner’s and Sundogs, Ravensong, Bobbi Lee, Daughters Are Forever, Will’s Garden, Bent Box, and I Am Woman. She is also the co-editor of a number of anthologies including the award winning publication, My Home As I Remember, and the co-author of Telling It: Women and Language Across Culture. Lee is widely published and her works are cited in anthologies and scholarly journals worldwide. Her work at the University of Toronto has also been recognized by Accessibility Services. She was the first nominee and recipient of the Accessibility Award for “Program Involvement and Increasing Student Access.” Why? Because she has earnestly recognized what she calls the “logistical nightmare” that deadlines impose on new students when they have so many other priorities or varying circumstances in their life. Many of these new students involved with Accessibility Services were First Nations students suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of coming from families of residential school or as residential school survivors themselves. Other students that frequented Lee’s office had diverse backgrounds from Rwandan evacuees to single-mothers who were new to big-city life. She allowed a sort of flexibility not always seen in the rigidity of a timetabled institution. She, along with the community at First Nations House, created the sort of environment that made students feel welcome and encouraged them to gain a higher education. “Learning through oratory” provides an innovative way of teaching and learning for Lee’s students. For Indigenous students, she sees it as imperative: “It’s a way to bridge the way we learn in the institution and the way we actually learn.” Lee observes that the practice of creative non-fiction and self-expression can carry on throughout life and enable one to stay grounded in their identity. Amidst the daunting student body at the University of Toronto and the culture shock that often comes with transition from a First Nations’ reserve to metropolitan city, Lee Maracle provides support and brings a welcome balance to the “business of having a direction in life.” Lee has a bigger picture in mind beyond daily lessons, stretching out into the next seven generations. “University is not only the opportunity to learn, but for us to also gain the skills we need to develop university programs that we can excel at to assist in our cultural revitalization.”
Candace Maracle is Kenienkeha from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours BA in Aboriginal Studies and was a recipient of the esteemed University of Toronto ’s Presidents Award. She currently works in First Nations health and as a freelance writer for a travel magazine and the University.
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Amazing Alumni Christine McFarlane catches up with three graduates who include First Nations House on their growing lists of success
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Sid Bobb Sid Bobb was a participant of the University of Toronto’s Transitional Year Program of 1996-1997 who went on to graduate after studying Sociology and Drama in 2001. He speaks well of his years spent at the school saying, “My overall experience at the University of Toronto was good, I enjoyed my studies and found that it was life changing because it challenged many ideologies that I had before I started my studies.” At the beginning of his academic life, Bobb felt a sense of disentitlement as a First Nations person coming from a background of poverty and having dropped out of grade nine. “I had a lack of understanding as far as work force possibilities and areas of study that I could go into.” Bobb feels that The Transitional Year Program was exceptional in helping him change those limited beliefs. “It was instrumental in letting me get into post secondary studies and learn the basic tools to become successful.” Some of the features at First Nations House (FNH) that esCourtesy of: the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
ami professor Rauna Kuokkanen is the Aboriginal Studies program newest addition. An Assistant Professor with a cross appointment between Aboriginal Studies and Political Science, Kuokkanen calls Turtle Island her intellectual home. Kuokkanen is far from Samiland, her home, which rests across the borders of Finland, Norway, Scandinavia and Russia. (The Sami are the Indigenous people of Northern Europe.) Growing up on the Finnish side of the Deatnu River, which translates to “the mother of all rivers,” on the border of Finland and Norway, Kuokkanen watched the salmon of the Deatnu support her seven hundred person community and her relatives across the body of water on the Norwegian side. “Salmon is our sustenance, they bring people together and are the driving force of the community,” says Kuokkanen. What she learned from salmon she is now applying to her teaching. “Indigenizing and decolonizing the academy are close to my heart,” says Kuokkanen, author of Reshaping the University: Responsibility, Indigenous Epistemes and the Logic of the Gift (UBCP 2007). Raised by her mother, who is a well established Sami writer and her father, a political activist, she credits her parents for where she is today. “My parents instilled the spirit of fighting injustice,” says Kuokkanen. Rauna wants to knock down what she believes is one of the main challenges to Indigenous students: “The ignorance and arrogance of the academy. The academy claims to be a place of knowledge, but there is a lack of recognition of the existence of Indigenous worldviews and philosophies as a different foundation of knowing and being in the world.” She insists the academy must do its homework and learn from the indigenous philosophies of the gift. The gift can offer the academy a new path for relationships and sharing also at the level of knowledge. Even tackling these huge imposing barriers, Rauna does not place the responsibility solely on the education system. “Indigenous scholars and educators also have to engage in this process, for example by building new Indigenous institutions, Indigenizing current institutions, and making sure that education is responsive to community needs as well as being driven by the community.” Kuokkanen’s scope is a global one. Not forgetting her home community, she regularly writes for Sami publications, continually makes connections between Samiland and Turtle Island, and recently helped stop the desecration of a sacred Sami spring that was almost turned into a water bottling plant. As a speaker of the Sami language, she is currently finishing a book on Indigenous knowledge and philosophies in Sami. Just as the salmon of the Deatnu River bring Sami communities on both sides of the river together and keep the people alive, Kuokkanen is bringing a fresh, new, Sami approach to the University of Toronto, linking the cultures of the peoples of Samiland and Turtle Island both in their related struggles, and their journeys towards finding solutions.
Jorge Antonio Vallejos is Mestizo (Indigenous and Spanish) and Arab. He is the creator and writer of “The Condor’s View”, the first and only Indigenous column at University of Toronto. Currently finishing a degree in Aboriginal Studies and Anthropology, he plans to pursue a Masters in Aboriginal Studies. Drop him a line at email@example.com.
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INDIGENOUS FACULTY Jorge Vallejos talks to Sami educator
pecially appealed to Bobb were the tutors, bursary services and food bank, as well as the culture. He is particularly fond of the cultural element that was an integral part of every service at FNH. “It really gave you a sense of hope, because they wanted you to succeed and go after what you wanted.” Upon completion of his studies in 2001, Sidd learned to have an appreciation for mastery – the work behind getting your degree and a high quality of craftsmanship. He has gone on to professional acting, consulting and social recreation work. Today Bobb is a familiar face in thousands of households across the country through his work with the smash hit TV program “Canadian Geographic Kids” and as the co-host for the “Morning Show” on CBC. He has also taught improvisation at the Centre for Indigenous People and has paid his dues working in local Friendship Centres and community workshops.
Sid Bobb feels that he is now in a stable and healthy place. He lives in Nipissing with his wife and their two children where they are both very involved in the community. These days Sidd tries to reach out and learn new things – from tapping for maple sugar to hunting. He works with both the youth and Elders and feels that as a practitioner of the arts there is still more to be done. Proud of his accomplishments and encouraged by those who are continuing to learn, Bobb is optimistic about our collective future: “It is inspiring to see more Indigenous scholars and students out there because it is not only necessary, but people also to need to try and bridge the gap of where we were and where we need to be now.”
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Penny Couchie, an Ojibway/Mohawk dancer, actor, teacher and choreographer, graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Aboriginal Studies and Drama in 1998. Today, she is grateful. “My experience at the University of Toronto was amazing, and I felt that First Nations House was very supportive and helped me feel like I was a part of a family with the services that they offered.” Far from the idea of university being a place of cultural erasure, Couchie says she moved closer to her community through the years at school. “It was enlightening because I learned a lot more about myself, was able to challenge preconceptions I had before my studies, learn the history of my people, and share it with other Aboriginal students. I was able to leave my studies with a deep respect, and appreciation for the professors I studied under.” The First Nations House offered services that were very beneficial to the budding creative dynamo. Couchie found the staff very supportive saying, “I was able to bring my young daughter with me when I went there, and was able to meet other young parents. I also liked that there were social events, accessibility to computers, tutors, and the library.” Now residing in her home community of Nipissing First Nation with her two children and husband, Couchie continues on her successful journey. Her accomplishments, both past and present, are numerous and impressive. A graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Theatre, Couchie also completed a three year internship in teacher training and choreography with the “Aboriginal Dance Project” at the Banff Centre for the Arts under the direction of Georgina Martinez. In 2000 she co-founded “Earth in Motion World Indigenous Dance” with Alejandro Ronceria, a dance collective that is committed to the creation of intriguing, and innovative new dance works based in Toronto, Ontario. Her most recent choreography includes “A Bridge of One Hair” for Jumblies Theatre that was performed at the Harbourfront Centre. Currently she is in the process of creating her first full length dance theatre piece titled “When Will You Rage?” It stems from a collection of stories she has been told by her mother and aunts about “three generations of women in my family who struggle to rebuild themselves and their families.” Although she has her plate full, Couchie continues to remain a core faculty member of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and has been teaching there for the past ten years. Penny Couchie is a First Nations woman who contributes to the world through her work. She believes that in every student lays the seed of success to do the same. “Aboriginal scholars and students are important,” Couchie said. “ Their contribution will be very meaningful, and bring insight into the issues that people face in our contemporary world.”
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“First Nations House is like a home to me. It is comfortable to work there, hang out there, and know that your life experiences are understood,” says Dawnis Kennedy, a member of Rouseau River Anishinabe First Nations, and a first degree Midewiwin from the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge. Things were not always so comfortable for Kennedy, particularly at the beginning of her academic life. “My experience at the University of Toronto was hard at first because I was homesick and was away from my family and community. I virtually had no support system in Toronto.” Added to these common barriers, she also suffered significant losses. In her first term of studies, Dawnis had a miscarriage, had to deal with the death of a close cousin and several Elders back home, leaving her feeling stressed and discouraged. From 1998 to 2000, Kennedy attended Brandon University in Manitoba where she received her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Sociology with two minors in Native Studies and Philosophy. Transferring to the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, she graduated with honours in 2003. A recipient of the Blaney, McMurtry LLP Prize in Native People’s Law (2001-2002) and a recipient of the University of Toronto President’s Award for the Outstanding Native Student of the Year in 2002-2003, Dawnis’ perseverance finally paid off. She started the S.J.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science) program in September 2006 but subsequently took a year off. She is in the process of trying to obtain her Masters of Law degree at this time. Kennedy felt that staying connected to her culture and its ceremonies was integral for her to succeed in her studies. She credits the support of First Nations House and Law School for her ability to keep up her studies. “I would miss classes here and there due to ceremonies, but professors were supportive because I told them, ‘the reason you want me here is because of the strength I draw from ceremonies.’” “First Nations House helps you to feel like a part of a community, and that is important for those who are away from family or do not have a sense of family,” she said. Having this support, First Nations House was essential for her in getting through those first difficult years at the University. Now working on her second thesis in Anishinabek Law and how it relates to all teachings such as clan systems, the Seven Grandfather Teachings, Medicine wheel and kinship, Kennedy believes in reaching her own people first and foremost. “It is important to do something that your community can relate to and pick up.” In her thesis, she examines the connection between Marj Heinrichs
beadwork, governance and community. “It is through your beadwork, you are saying something about yourself, your community and your people.” During her studies, Dawnis maintained high marks, and has been a part of First Nations House in many ways – from her stint as Assistant Librarian to taking part in events singing and drumming. She is an active community member and sits on the Board at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. On the issue of Aboriginal students and scholars, Kennedy emphasized that it is the students who are leaders or who go on to become leaders. “The need for Aboriginal scholars and students is overwhelming and can make you feel like doing everything. But it is staying true to your heart and spirit that you find what you want to do and learn what you can give back.”
Christine McFarlane is Saulteaux woman from Peguis First Nation. She is studying at the University of Toronto specializing in Aboriginal Studies. Her story “Choosing the Path to Healing” appeared in the 2006 anthology Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces. Christine has a regular column in the Native Canadian newsletter, titled Life’s Journey and freelances for Anishinabek News and Eating Disorders Today, a California based newsletter.
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Assistant Professor Deborah McGregor is Anishnabe from Wiigwaskingaa (Whitefish River First Nation, Birch Island, Ontario). She currently lives in Toronto with her partner Steve and two children, Hillary and Arden. Holding a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, a Master of Environmental Studies from York University and a Ph.D from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry, she has worked with First Nations on environmental and community development issues over the past 15 years.
Anishnawbe Scholar and Educator Deborah McGregor asks the important question and lucky for us, finds the answer
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I have been giving this subject much thought recently, particularly as my twelve-year-old son queries me about the discrepancy between what he is learning in school about Aboriginal peoples and what he experiences in his life as a First Nations person. What is Indigenous education? This is not an easy question to answer, and one to which numerous scholars have devoted a good portion of their career. I agree with Gregory Cajete, a renowned Tewa educator, when he states that one of the defining characteristics of Indigenous education is that it is inherently environmental. It is about learning and sharing one’s lifeways to ensure proper relations with all of Creation. Creation includes people, animals, plants, forests, mountains, seas, rivers...the Environment, so to speak. It also includes all the processes of Creation (transformation, re-creation, etc.) which occur on a continual cycle and require our constant attention. Aboriginal views of Creation extend beyond the western construct of “environment”, however, to include our ancestors as well as those yet to come. As part of our colonial experience with the “Newcomers” to Canada, Indigenous education’s role of enabling relationships with Creation has been under attack for the past two centuries. In recent times, however, there has begun something of a resurgence in Indigenous education. Aboriginal people have begun to re-assert the importance of Indigenous education not only to Aboriginal peoples but to all peoples across the globe. To be effective in realizing the goals of Indigenous education in this modern context, it has become critical to find appropriate methods of sharing our ways with others. Given that such sharing is already beginning to take place, what might Indigenous education mean in relation to the environmental crisis facing the planet? To begin answering that question, we can look back to what might be seen as a starting point for this resurgence in Indigenous education. It was in 1972 that the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) released its milestone policy paper, Indian Control of Indian Education, thereby launching Aboriginal people into a new era of education-related decision-making. Even at that time, the Indigenous philosophy of education put forward contains a powerful environmental theme, consistent with traditional Indigenous world views. One of the lessons viewed as necessary for survival in the twentieth century was described as follows: “Living in Harmony with nature will ensure preservation of the balance between man and his environment which is necessary for the future of our planet, as well as for fostering the climate in which Indian Wisdom has always flourished.” (NIB 1972, p. 1.) Aboriginal people have always made it clear that Indigenous education is centred on learning about our relationships with CreMAGAZINE FNH 17
Robert Snache (both)
ation and fulfilling our responsibilities to that Creation, thereby ensuring what has recently come to be referred to as stainability. Indigenous cultural traditions speak to these responsibilities. For example, Creation stories provide instructions to all beings so that they may learn to live in harmonious co-existence with each other. Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of Indigenous education is that we learn from our traditions that the Earth is alive; it is a spiritual being, and must be respected as such. Our education and teachings therefore come not only from our parents, relatives, grandmothers and grandfathers, Elders, teachers, communities and nations, but also from Creation itself (including animals, plants, the moon, the stars, water, wind and the spirit world). We learn through visions, ceremonies, prayers, songs, dances and performances, intuitions, dreams and personal experiences. The relationship with Creation and its beings was meant to be maintained and enhanced and the knowledge required for this to occur was passed on for generations over thousands of years. The responsibilities that one assumed as part of our education were necessary to ensure the continuation of Creation: again, what academics, scientists and environmentalists might today call sustainability. The lifeways and knowledge that supported sustainable relationships with Creation are now often referred to as “traditional knowledge” (TK), an idea that has in recent years become important to non-Indigenous societies. There are now efforts in Canada and throughout the world to learn more about TK and apply it to addressing the environmental challenges we face on the planet. One of the current challenges I face when I address the topic of environmental issues and traditional knowledge in teaching is creating the understanding that it is relevant for addressing the current challenges we face; not everyone is convinced of its importance. In response to
this, I point out that if we examine the lessons to be learned from TK, often through stories or other teachings, they inform us about critically important ecological principles. Key principles that emerge from the Anishinabe Re-Creation Story for example, are that: “everything is important”, “all beings in Creation have role”, “cooperation and co-existence will lead to survival”, “everything is connected to everything else”, and “all life must be respected.” Principles such as these, adhered to not only in ceremony but in everyday living, ensured that Indigenous peoples lived harmoniously and in balance with the rest of Creation. Today, these principles can also be thought of as vital principles in ecological science. For example, we now know that industrial activities in one part of the world affect people and the environment in another – climate change being the currently most well-known example. One can’t help but feel that today’s world might have been a ‘greener’ place had colonial societies paid heed to at least some of these Aboriginal examples of ecological thinking. Given that we are where we are, however, it seems that now more than ever the principles and values that inform traditional knowledge are needed. It is my understanding that all of us have a responsibility to share our knowledge, from the youngest students to the wisest of the Elders. Existing traditional knowledge is vitally important for ensuring our continued co-existence with all of Creation. However, there also exists the ability to create new knowledge to help us address new challenges. Gregory Cajete (2000), in his book, Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence, observes that: It was understood that knowledge and creativity have their source in a person’s inner being and in their personal journeying and thinking. Self-reliance, even in young children, is based on the belief that all persons have the ability to know and to share, to bring forward great strides in
“...one of the defining characteristics of Indigenous education is that it is inherently environmental. It is about learning and sharing one’s lifeways to ensure proper relations with all of Creation.”
“Aboriginal people have begun to re-assert the importance of Indigenous education not only to Aboriginal peoples but to all peoples across the globe.”
“Self-reliance, even in young children, is based on the belief that all persons have the ability to know and to share, to bring forward great strides in understanding and knowledge.”
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understanding and knowledge. Consequently, there are many myths revolving around the learning experiences of young people, as well as their roles in bringing new knowledge to the people. (p.102.) Indigenous education in the 21st century therefore means that we can continue to engage in creative processes based on traditional teachings to foster understanding of TK and its potential role in addressing environmental challenges. At the University of Toronto, we aim to contribute in at least a small way to restoring balance in Creation by renewing traditional knowledge and sharing our knowledge through the Aboriginal Studies program and First Nations House. ----
Citations Cajete, G. 2000. Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence. Clear Light Publishers, Sante Fe, NM. National Indian Brotherhood (NIB). 1972. Indian Control of Indian Education. Policy Paper presented to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. National Indian Brotherhood, Ottawa, ON
---Deborah McGregor’s Teaches: ABS402H1. Traditional Indigenous Ecological Knowledge An overview of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and their environment, including an exploration of cultural, historical, and contemporary aspects of Indigenous environmental philosophy; the nature, control and transmission of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), and historical uses of TEK in managing the environment. ABS460Y. Methodology in Aboriginal Studies Basic methods in research in Aboriginal Studies, including oral tradition and communitybased research, as well as discussion of ethics, protocols, priorities, and comparative Indigenous methodologies. JAG321H1. Aboriginal People and Environmental Issues in Canada This course explores Aboriginal views of environment and resource management from preEuropean contact times through to the present from an Aboriginal perspective. Emphasis will be placed on the emerging role of Aboriginal people in environmental and resource management in Canada. Topics to be covered include: history of Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relations, Aboriginal world view and philosophy, Aboriginal environmental ethics and principles and current environmental issues confronting Aboriginal people.(Offered by Aboriginal Studies and the Geography Department) MAGAZINE FNH 19
Financial Survival Tips for Prospective Aboriginal Students in Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions
Aboriginal Studies It wasn’t long ago that Aboriginal perspectives in the academy were virtually non-existent. Proudly, the University of Toronto was one of a handful of universities in Canada to first open its doors to Aboriginal Studies as a discipline. Aboriginal Studies at U of T was first launched in 1994 at the downtown St. George campus with a minor program and only two course offerings. It didn’t take long for students to demonstrate their interest through increased enrolment and the demand for more Aboriginal perspectives in university curriculum. By 1999, the program had grown to offer a major and five courses. Years later, the program is still growing, now including a specialist option and over 20 courses taught by a group of exceptional Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars . Today the University of Toronto prides itself on upholding respect for the diversity of ‘Indigenous intellectual heritages’, a term coined by former program Director Dr. Keren Rice. Recognizing the significance of language in the Aboriginal worldview the University offers Ojibwa, Iroquoian (Oneida) and Inuktitut courses at the introductory, intermediate and advanced levels. Just recently, students and faculty co-created an advanced Ojibwa language course with social interactive events to facilitate language acquisition. Alex McKay, the Ojibwa teacher, is also working on a language room where students will be immersed into a complete learning environment. Aboriginal Studies also offers courses in a broad spectrum of disciplines – crossing the arts, social sciences, and humanities with courses in Aboriginal history, literature, geography, governance, health and healing. Course favorites include “Indigenous Theatre”, “Oral Tradition”, “Aboriginal Visual Expression and Methodology in Aboriginal Studies”. Perhaps, the cross-disciplinary nature of Aboriginal Studies is due to the nature of Indigenous knowledge itself; a complex system of knowledge rooted in language, land and history. Over the years, the program has not only grown in term of its course offerings, it has also expanded in terms of its physical presence on campus. Dr. Rice places emphasis on this reclamation of space: “Physical space is so important, as it breathes life into activities”. The welcoming space draws in students from all backgrounds and the value of their coming together is palatable when visiting the program’s new site on the 2nd floor of the North Borden Building. With consultation from the Aboriginal community including Elders-in-Residence, students, staff and faculty, the department began its design and reconstruction for these offices in 2005. The vision was to co-create a space that would serve as a gathering 20 FNH MAGAZINE
A GATHERING PLACE
place for Aboriginal people and the university community. The Aboriginal Studies area is shared with the Centre of Aboriginal Initiatives – a newly developed centre that aims to contribute to Aboriginal research at the University of Toronto and in the wider community. The importance of fostering community is nurtured in the program’s work, and with the commitment to not just recreate a new gathering place for Aboriginal peoples. The program’s new location is strategically situated below First Nations House (FNH) – Aboriginal Student Services at U of T. First Nations House has been physically grounded at the North Borden Building location since 1993 and has historically served as a bridge between the Aboriginal community and the University. The shared geographic location not only encourages partnerships between staff, students and faculty, it also gathers people at a common ground. Arguably, the meeting of people at a common place develops a synergy for the cultivation of respectful relationships that guide the collective teachings, partnerships and research projects between Aboriginal Studies, the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives, First Nations House and the Aboriginal community at large. There is so much exciting work happening through the ongoing relationships already built into the programming as well as through upcoming initiatives. Expertise and traditional grounding continued to be an important feature of the program when in 2007 Dr. Eileen Antone (Oneida) was appointed the Director. The program is committed to hiring more Indigenous faculty through joint appointments with other departments in the University. Hiring Indigenous faculty will bring new and exciting scholars to the University. Beyond the undergraduate program, Aboriginal Studies and the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives are engaged in the early planning for the development of a Master’s program. In many ways, the Aboriginal Studies program is a gathering place – the gathering of people, ideas, community and spiritual energy through common ground, respect for ancestors and Indigenous knowledge(s) past, present and future. For more information about the Aboriginal Studies Program at the University of Toronto please refer to the website at http:// www.utoronto.ca/abs/ Candace Brunette is a woman of Omushkego Cree and French Canadian ancestry. She is a proud graduate of the Aboriginal Studies Program, Woodsworth Alumni 2007. She is also a graduate student completing a Master of Arts at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at U of T.
It is challenging for a prospective Aboriginal student to contend with the financial implications involved with attending a Canadian Post-Secondary Institution (PSI). Researchers and policy analysts have time and time again discussed the concerns and realities of recruitment and retention issues. The end result is that funding is one of the primary vehicles necessary for academic and student life success, and also one of the most contentious issues. It is a myth that Aboriginal students receive a “free education.” The reality is, based on cultural identity, community resources and outside factors, finding funding for school is a long and difficult path. There are funding mechanisms in place, but all have a formal process and none are guaranteed. Indian Status Applicants If a prospective student possesses an Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) issued status card, the first step is to communicate with their Band Education Counsellor. Even with this application into the Band, it is recommended that students apply for a provincial student loan, because sometimes they are declined for Band funding due to priority systems, waiting lists, missed application deadlines and sometimes simply because Band has reached its capacity to fund for the time being. When a status applicant is approved for funding on a full-time basis, they are usually provided with full tuition, books and a living allowance. A single student without dependents tends to be given less, with amounts ranging from $600 to $900. A single parent with dependents living with them tends to receive amounts ranging from $1100 to $1400. The book allowance ($800 to $1000) is Robert Snache usually given either once in the academic year (eg., September to April) or split evenly – half in the first semester and the last half in the second semester. Métis and/ Non-Status Applicants Students who are Métis and/or Non-Status, for the sake of a brief explanation, are not registered with INAC. Therefore, they cannot apply for funding through a Band Education Counsellor, like Status applicants. Instead, they are most likely registered as members with a recognized Métis organization, which usually has grant programs in place. A Métis applicant should approach the education contact in their Métis organization to get information regarding their bursary program and how to best apply for other Métis bursaries in other provinces. Métis and/or Non-Status student applicants can apply for internal and external Aboriginal scholarships and grants with their PSI that they are attending, as well as national Aboriginal scholarship and grant funding organizations, like the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) and the Foundation for the Advancement of Aboriginal Youth through the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business.
Inuit Applicants Students who are Inuit residing in Ontario need to contact the Education Department of Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation to obtain the application form and other necessary documentation. This package includes the post-secondary application form, the educational assistance agreement form, two release of information forms, a recent student grade report or transcript, and their current student timetable. Another option for funding is by contacting the Kakibak Association in Iqaluit, Nunavut, as they also have their own application and other documentation. All prospective Aboriginal students need to be aware that funding mechanisms are present, but they will involve time, patience and usually some guidance. As with any application, they are competitive in nature because funding is limited for Aboriginal students. Every Aboriginal student should research the Aboriginal scholarships and grants available at every PSI that they are considering, because even though they may be approved for funding – the funding is usually not enough to meet their family needs.
The key to financial aid survival is to find all avenues of funding available to you. Each PSI should have a website either at the Aboriginal student office and/or in the financial aid section, listing all Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Scholarship and Bursary information. Living on a student budget is smaller in scale compared to a working person’s budget and as a result, some adjustments to lifestyle and living expenses need to be revisited. Contact your Academic/Financial Aid Counsellor at your PSI to help you work on a manageable budget and to give you the budgeting tips to make your student life transition an enjoyable one. Written by: Tracey King, B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed. (candidate) Academic/Financial Aid Counsellor, FNH Essinhs Kwe [Little Shell Woman], Otter Clan Band Member of Wasauksing First Nation
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Community Services in the Greater Toronto Area
Accessibility Services at the University of Toronto
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tive equipment and assistive devices) and financial aid. One-on-one guidance is also offered with an assigned Disability Advisor, Adaptive Equipment Consultant, Learning Disability Specialist, Occupational Therapists or a signlanguage interpreter. Information and resource materials on health conditions and disability related issues, opportunities to meet with academic and administrative units within the University, as well as off-campus agencies are also available. All information divulged to Accessibility Services is private and confidential, so only the student and their Disability Advisor know about a student’s specific disability(s). When accommodations are arranged for students, the Professor is made aware that the student requires these accommodations because they are registered with Accessibility Services. The nature of their disability is not disclosed so the student’s privacy is respected. According to King, “Accessibility Services is a tremendously helpful service that many students have accessed, and (is) instrumental in accommodating all learning needs of its students for academic success.” Accessibility offices also play an instructional role in raising awareness of the needs of students with disabilities among students, staff and faculty at the University, as well as the wider community. Accessibility Services at U of T is located at 130 St. George St., on the northwest corner of St. George and Harbord Street. Candace Maracle
Native Men’s Residence (Na-Me-Res) 14 Vaughan Rd., Toronto, ON M6G 2N1 (416) 652-0334
Program Highlights: congregate dining, cultural program, Toronto Native Community History Project (including resource library and artifacts) and a craft store. Weekly events include drum socials, workshops and other gatherings.
Program Highlights: counseling, job development, shelter access. FOR NATIVE MEN ONLY.
Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto 191 Gerard Street East, Toronto ON, M5A 2E5 416-963-9963
Program Highlights: access to traditional Elders and Healers, physicians and nurses, chiropractors, naturopaths, traditional counselors, psychiatrists, and dentists.
Program Highlights: literacy assistance, lunch food bank, housing help, parental support, youth program and ongoing gatherings and events. FOR NATIVE WOMEN ONLY. Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training 167 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, ON, M5A 2E4 416-591-2310 Program Highlights: employment counseling, assistance with cover letter and resume writing, computer resource centre (all our computers have Office’2000 with internet access, mail out, photo copy and fax service), employment support network referrals, information about living in Toronto, referrals to social services, health and other Aboriginal agencies, information about training, education and wage subsidies.
Anishnawbe Health Toronto 225 Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M5A 1S4 (416) 360-0486
Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto 803-415 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 2E7 (416) 408-3967 Program Highlights: legal counsel, advice and referrals, tenants rights, Indian Act matters, applications (disability, employment insurance, etc.), diversion and advocacy. University Services Psychiatric Service, University of Toronto 214 College Street, Toronto, ON M5T 2Z9 (416) 978-8070
The Counselling and Learning Skills Service (CALSS) is the professional counselling service for students of the University of Toronto. Also see: Hours for the Academic Success Centre Mailing Address: Koffler Student Services Centre, 214 College Street, Room 111, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2Z9 The U of T Food and Clothing Bank is a service available to all students attending the University of Toronto. Each year, as of September, students can register for the service by bringing in a print-out of their current timetable from ROSI and a valid U of T student identification card. The service is operational year round and is located in New College, Wetmore Hall, Room 50 in the basement. The hours of operation are Fridays, 12:00-3:00 pm. The facility is wheelchair accessible. Name: Terri Nikolaevsky Phone Number: 416-9784911 ext. 224 Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
No referral is necessary. The service is available to all full and part-time students who have paid the appropriate incidental fees. Students must possess a valid student card and have health insurance coverage. Mandated to provide accessible and timely psychiatric care.
In the corner of the impressive peacock-shaped cement building known to students as Robarts Library lies the key to a barrier-free education. The University of Toronto’s Accessibility Services (St. George Campus) is designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities and to facilitate their inclusion into all aspects of university life. Students coming from diverse backgrounds and programs such as the Transitional Year Program (an accessto-university program for adults without a formal educational background) are introduced to Accessibility Services in their first year of university. Disabilities are often unrecognized or not evident and can range from physical, sensory, a learning disability or a mental health condition. They can be both temporary such as a recent injury, or more longterm in nature. The focus of Accessibility Services is on skills development, especially in the areas of self-advocacy and academic prowess. Tracey King, Academic Counselor at the University of Toronto’s First Nations House (FNH), meets with First Nations students regularly to discuss their academic concerns. She primarily focuses on their ability to acquire the necessary academic skills to succeed in their studies. In some instances, King may refer them to Accessibility Services which will then conduct an assessment to see whether the student has a learning disability and will provide concessions dependent upon the disability. Accessibility Services offers assistance such as note-taking services, additional time to submit a written research paper or to write an examination, provision of adaptive technology (adap-
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto 16 Spadina Rd, Toronto ON, M5R 2S7 416-964-9087
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The Seven Grandfathers Mandela (2008) Debby Danard Wilson Anishinaabekwe Ojibway, Sturgeon Clan from Manitou Rapids, Rainy River First Nations Debby is currently a fourth year Ph.D student (B.A. B.Ed., M.Ed) at OISE/U of T specializing in Aboriginal & Indigenous studies in education.
The Aboriginal post secondary student magazine produced by First Nations House at the University of Toronto.