OCT OEEO

PS_September_2017

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39 September 2017 | Professionally Speaking Indigenous people to help write the guidelines," says Roxane Manitowabi, executive director of ONECA. In the past, she says, her organization was expected to fit into already-set guidelines with little f lexibility on their application in a First Nations, Métis and Inuit context. Another participant in drafting the counselling guidelines is Tungasuvvingat Inuit, a 30-year-old organization that provides social support, cultural activ- ities and counselling to its community in Ontario. "Half the battle for Inuit organizations and Inuit living in the south [of Canada] is that nobody knows about the Inuit," says Qauyisaq Etitiq, education policy adviser for Tungasuvvingat Inuit. "It is a much-needed engagement with the educators." In working with the College as an equal, he says. "We are walking toward reconciliation together." In a significant milestone, Six Nations Polytechnic, an Indigenous-founded post-secondary institution of the Grand River First Nation in southern Ontario, is the second Indigenous education or- ganization certified to provide AQs. "It is not that all of a sudden we appeared on the scene," says Six Nations presi- dent Rebecca Jamieson, OCT, whose 25-year-old institution is currently assisting the College on a new AQ guide- line for teaching and leadership in a First Nations, Métis and Inuit setting. "We have always kept at the periphery of what is happening in education," she says. "That is changing." Six Nations is working with the College to become a provider of a College-accredited Indigenous-focused Principal's Qualifications Program. "This helps us impact the profession at the leadership level as well as at the instructional level," she says. True to its roots, Six Nations is also working on the development of new immersion-language programs, as rec- ommended by the TRC, so students can learn in their own language. Meanwhile, a charitable foundation, the Martin Family Initiative, established by former prime minister Paul Martin to raise educational outcomes for Indigenous youth, approached the College in 2015 to discuss accreditation of a Principal's Qualifications course for leaders of federal government-funded First Nation schools. "We know in First Nation schools there is very little opportunity for professional development and focusing on leadership activities as they do in the provincial system," says Carlana Lindeman, OCT, education program director at the foundation, which worked with OISE to put the course together. Despite some new beginnings in teacher education and professional learning, there is universal agreement that only a sustained commitment by all parties can ensure a brighter education future for Indigenous students. To those who have taken the first steps, the commission's Murray Sinclair offers encouragement: "If we hold to the vision we set out in the [TRC] report, we will begin to see systemic changes that ultim- ately will achieve reconciliation." PS ' ' ' ' [The TRC] has allowed those difficult conversations to happen in a safe space and allowed everyone's voice and intention to be heard. — Stephanie Roy, OCT, executive director of KTEI

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