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Ottawa, Mar 18 (Canadian-Media): Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of Education, and Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, were at Eastview Public School in Toronto this month and announced that Ontario is investing $10 million in 40 community-led programs over two years to support community-led programs to promote the revitalization of Indigenous languages to support the success and well-being of First Nation, Métis and Inuit students, media reports said.
"For ten years, strong relationships between Ontario, Indigenous partners, school boards and communities have supported the success and well-being of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students. Our government is investing in community-led programs that will help Indigenous students reach their full potential. All students benefit from a better understanding of Indigenous histories, cultures and contributions," Naidoo-Harris was reported to state.
Ontario is home to six Indigenous language families- Anishinaabek, Onkwehonwe, Mushkegowuk, Lunaape, Inuktitut and Michif, which include over 18 unique languages and dialects and community-led programs and projects will include language camps, Indigenous language immersion programing, the creation of curriculum, games and apps to support language learning.
"Tungasuvvingat Inuit is pleased to move forward with an Inuit specific approach to Indigenous Language opportunities in Ontario. This investment is consistent with the values and aspirations in our MOU with the ministry and will bring the Inuit world view to our shared work," Jason LeBlanc, Executive Director, Tungasuvvingat Inuit was reported to state.
Ontario and indigenous communities had signed a historical partnership as well as an agreement of Master Education programs to ensure the curriculum is more inclusive of First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories and cultures to promote the revitalization of Indigenous languages.
"The Métis Nation of Ontario would like to recognize its longstanding partnerships with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development...improving outcomes for Métis learners...acknowledges the ongoing efforts of these ministries in this area...for its commitment...ensure that as we move forward we will see long-term, positive impacts for all our students in the provincial education system," Margaret Froh, President, Métis Nation of Ontario was reported to state.
Starting in 2017, the Ontario government is investing an additional $56 million over three years for Indigenous Institutes to expand their capacity and strengthen their role as an important pillar in Ontario’s postsecondary education system.
"Education is key to reconciliation and Indigenous participation in our growing economy. Since our government introduced free tuition last year, we’ve seen a 34 per cent increase in Indigenous learners accessing aid to go to college or university. That, coupled with major investments in Indigenous Institutes and this languages fund, is helping to close the education gap — making higher education and training a reality for more Indigenous learners," Mitzie Hunter, Ontario Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development was reported to state.
The province also released 'Strengthening our Learning Journey', the Third Progress Report on Ontario's First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework; the first two progress reports were published in 2009 and 2013, respectively.
"We have made significant strides in our partnership relationship with the province to...build on our accomplishments and make further changes in education to ensure that our students are achieving educational success without having to change who they are, how they think and what they believe in" Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, Chiefs of Ontario was reported to state.
Ontario in its commitmentment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is supporting the existing development of new, child and family programs in over 40 First Nations.
In 2017, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) was selected to lead the Indigenous Education Knowledge Network (IEKN) -- part of the ministry’s Knowledge Network for Applied Education Research (KNAER) -- with an objective to share existing knowledge in support for the well-being and success of Indigenous girls and young women in schools.
The work of IEKN will be aligned with the intended outcomes of Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women.
In response to Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action (#62 and #63), Ontario is investing $15 million over three years to support the development of resources and educator capacity to enhance the learning and teaching of the history of the residential schools system, the legacy of colonialism and the importance of treaties.
"Education plays a significant role in the journey of reconciliation within Ontario schools. By working with Indigenous partners, we are strengthening Indigenous education across the province. This is helping to improve Indigenous student achievement and well-being. The Third Progress Report on Ontario’s First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework will help inform us on the important work that still lies ahead," David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation was reported to state.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)