Within a generation, every Indigenous student will graduate.
Welcome to the Indspire e-newsletter! Each month, we’ll bring you the latest information on Indspire programs and events, research and the news on Indspire laureates and our partners. We’ll also share stories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis students who are realizing their educational dreams, even during these uncertain times.
Indspire News
TRC Final Report 5th Anniversary with Mike DeGagné & Shelagh Rogers

Do you have some free time on your hands this month? If so, come listen in on a very insightful conversation between Indspire’s President and CEO, Mike De Gagné, & Shelagh Rogers, honorary witness to the TRC and Chancellor of the University of Victoria.

Five years ago, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a six-volume report on its findings, which included 94 Calls to Action to further reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians. And to acknowledge this very important 5th anniversary, Mike DeGagné and Shelagh Rogers spoke about what’s been achieved in the five years since the report’s release – and also about what still needs to be done. To see the full conversation, click here.
Order of Canada Recipients

An extra-large congratulations to the four First Nations people among 59 recipients recently named to the Order of Canada. We’re giving a big shout-out to the latest Order of Canada recipients: Cheryl Lisa Meeches, Carolyn King, John Burrows and Daniel Heath Justice. Created in 1967, the Order of Canada is one of our country’s highest honours and is presented by the Governor General to people whose service shapes our society; whose innovations ignite our imaginations; and whose compassion unites our communities.

Cheryl Lisa Meeches is one of Canada’s most highly respected TV and film producers; her multidimensional contributions to Canada’s social and cultural landscapes has been guided by her Aboriginal culture and spirituality.
Carolyn King, a noted Elder, was the first female Chief of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and is being recognized for her expertise in community development, her advocacy of Indigenous-led initiatives, and her efforts to improve Canada’s understanding of First Nations.
Dr John Borrows is an Anishinabe/Ojibway member of the Chippewas of the Nawash First Nation, who is being recognized for his scholarly work on Indigenous rights and legal traditions. He is a Canadian academic and jurist and a full professor of law at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law.
Daniel Heath Justice has been named an Officer for his prolific contributions to the field of contemporary Indigenous studies in Canada and abroad. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation and professor of First Nations and Indigenous Studies and English at the University of British Columbia.
Thank you all for making Canada a better place for everyone!
Rivers to Success
Indspire’s Rivers to Success (R2S) Indigenous Student Mentorship Program is looking forward to an exciting – and busy – New Year! Facilitated through an online Portal, the R2S program features an innovative blend of one-on-one and group Indigenous mentorship as well as a wide array of customized and cultural resources to help Indigenous students succeed, organized in three streams:

  1.  High School – for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students in Grs. 10-12
  2. Post-Secondary – for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students pursuing post-secondary studies OR Gr. 12 students who have been accepted to post-secondary studies after high school graduation
  3. Career Transition – for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students preparing to graduate and begin their careers

Highlights include:
Sharing the Journey: A Rogers/Indspire Look at Indigenous Mentorship and Career Development 

We’re looking forward to a powerful panel discussion on the importance of Indigenous mentorship in Indigenous career transition journeys with our friends at Rogers Sports & Media on Tuesday, January 26 at 4:00 pm EST.
Three speakers from three different departments at Rogers Sports & Media will discuss their respective journeys towards their careers: what brought them to this place in their professional lives, what they’ve learned, and what advice they’d share with their younger professional selves. You don’t want to miss this afternoon of inspirational guidance! Sign up here
Pow Wow Workout

We’re going to get moving again with a great Pow Wow Fitness Session facilitated by Deanne Hupfield on Thursday, January 28 at 9:00 am EST as part of our Healthy Body, Good Mind, Whole Spirit fitness series.

Deanne is the Anishinaabe host of the viral “How to Pow Wow Dance” on YouTube and is also a graduate of fashion design who has online regalia-making courses. Any age and any experience levels are welcome and no special equipment is required...maybe just those dancing moccasins you have been waiting to pull out! Sign up here
Stay tuned for:
It’s going to be a busy Spring for our R2S mentors and mentees! We have some great events planned for February, and we hope you’ll join us. Check out another super panel event we’re co-hosting with our friends at Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada on February 16 at 2:00 pm EST. Featuring insights from mentees about what they’d like from a mentor and how they see the mentoring relationship, it’s going to be great. And we’ll be hosting another Healthy Body, Good Mind, Whole Spirit fitness workshop to keep our minds and bodies healthy – stay tuned for more info.
Do you want to share your journey as an Indigenous mentor – or do you know of an Indigenous student who would benefit from the R2S program? Come and visit us here.

Have questions or want to know more about the R2S program? Email us at rivers@indspire.ca or visit us at indspire.ca/rivers.
Indspire Research Knowledge Nest
Indspire’s Research Knowledge Nest is beginning the New Year with big ideas! This ground-breaking new initiative is the first of its kind in Canada: an Indigenous-focused research incubator. Its mission is to improve Indigenous educational and employment outcomes through research and analysis – and to contribute to the development of a new generation of Indigenous analysts and researchers through its Research Assistant program.
Highlights include:
Research Assistants and Analysts Wanted!

The Research Nest’s first cohort of Research Assistants had an eventful year in 2020: analyzing data, creating original research reports, and learning a wealth of new analytics-related skills. They were a key part of the Research Nest’s initiatives this year…and the Research Nest is now looking for its next cohort of Research Assistants and Research Analysts!

Applications open on January 5, 2021 for this 12-month (May 2021 – April 2022) paid contract, so if you are – or you know – someone who fits the following description, please get in touch: 

  • An Indigenous person considering graduate school or a career in data science, research, or analytics;
  • An Indigenous student or recent graduate looking for work experience that allows you to contribute to Indigenous education
Stay tuned for:
COVID-19, Reconciliation, and Education Survey

Late in 2020, the Research Nest deployed its Finding the Path survey, asking Indigenous post-secondary students how they’ve been experiencing education during the COVID-19 pandemic…and got over 2500 responses! It asked questions like:

  • What post-secondary institution supports have successfully transferred to supporting online students?
  • What emerging challenges have students faced?
  • And what corresponding opportunities have also developed for them?

The RN team is hard at work analyzing the insights, and they’re looking forward to sharing them in the next couple of months, so stay tuned! 
Have questions or want to know more about the Research Knowledge Nest? Email us at research@indspire.ca or visit us at indspire.ca/research.
Building Brighter Futures Student Spotlight
Tommi Redl

Tommi Redl has been thinking about how to help his community since he was in high school. This third-year commerce student at the University of British Columbia is supported by TD through Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards program.

After he graduates, his goal is to return to his home community of Edmonton to work in the real estate development industry, making a brighter future for everyone. He says, “I would really like to thank you for your generous award given to myself and several other Indigenous students…This award made a difference in my education because it allowed me to focus more on academics, rather than a source of income to pay for tuition.”

To learn more about Tommi’s story click here.
In the News

  • Rock band Alexisonfire spoke with Etalk regarding their bursary with Indspire. Check it out here.


  • Artist draws on history for Habs goalie Carey Price's futuristic mask. Check it out here.


  • Who could be the face of Canada’s next $5 bill? To nominate someone and the learn more about the March deadline, click here.

Truth and Reconciliation

  • Jacob Pratt, CEO of Skoden Entertainment brings Indigenous content to Disney Channel with the series Use Your Voice. To learn more about Indigenous youth making a difference click here.

Education and Training

  • Seneca teams up with Microsoft and RBC to drive digital literacy for the workforce of tomorrow. For more information about free workshops click here.

Indigenous Youth

  • Indigenous TikTok star in Montreal keeping her culture alive through music. To learn more about throat singers Caroline and Shina Novalinga click here.

New and Noteworthy

  • Good news! To learn more about how Canada’s emerging Indigenous economy is gaining momentum click here.
Stay in touch!
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