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 that are realizing their educational dreams, even during these uncertain times.
Indspire News
Welcome to the Indspire Team, Mike!

The whole team here at Indspire is extremely excited to welcome Mike DeGagné as Indspire’s new President and CEO. Mike, an Ojibway from the Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nation, brings a wealth of experience in Indigenous education, governance and reconciliation. As President and Vice Chancellor of Nipissing University in North Bay, he was the first Indigenous leader of a Canadian university and later served as the first President of Yukon University.

Mike holds a PhD from Michigan State University, focusing on Indigenous post-secondary success, and an MA on Public Ethics from St. Paul University. He is also an Indspire Laureate (2018, Public Service), a member of the Order of Canada, and an international speaker on the topics of Indigenous governance and reconciliation. Mike’s determination to Indigenize education and build relationships will ultimately help Indspire realize its goal of having every Indigenous student graduate within a generation. Welcome, Mike! All of us here at Indspire are looking forward to the work we will do together.
Indspire Celebrates National Indigenous Education Month

November is National Indigenous Education Month, and Indspire invites you to celebrate the advancements and learn about the challenges in Indigenous education in Canada. You can learn more about some of the exciting initiatives Indspire has planned to celebrate the month here.
The 2021 Indspire Calendar is coming soon!

We’re excited to share the news that another beautiful calendar, full of artwork from Indigenous students who were supported through Indspire, is being created as a thank you to Indspire’s amazing donors. Their annual support makes it possible for Indspire to assist and encourage Indigenous students as we work towards our North Star: that, within a generation, every Indigenous student will graduate.

It’s not too late to join them and receive a copy of this stunning calendar. Make a gift by November 30 and we’ll send you one in the mail.
Indspiration Magazine Launches

November is National Indigenous Education Month, and here at Indspire, we’ve been busy preparing for the launch of Indspiration, Canada’s first national magazine dedicated to advancing and promoting the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. You’ll learn about Indspire’s groundbreaking programs and initiatives and hear from Indigenous students and educators (and some of our Indspire Laureates!) as well as our valued partners. Take a look…and get Indspired! You can read the digital magazine here.
Indspiring Change @ Home featuring Tanya Talaga

We’re pleased to announce that the latest instalment in our webinar series, Indspiring Change @ Home, is now available to view online. Featuring Indspire President & CEO Roberta Jamieson in conversation with award-winning journalist and author Tanya Talaga, it showcases messages of truth, hope, and Indigenous inclusion in Canada. You can view the webinar here.
Guiding the Journey: Indigenous Educator Award Recipients

On November 3, 2020, Indspire was delighted to announce the recipients of the 2020 Guiding the Journey: Indigenous Educator Awards. Guiding the Journey recognizes and celebrates outstanding educators for their achievement and innovation in Indigenous education. These educators work hard to transform Indigenous education across Canada by advocating for updated resources and more cultural teachings in the curriculum; having innovative teaching practices; and helping First Nations, Inuit and Métis students reach their full potential. These seven educators from across the country will be honoured for their innovation in Indigenous education at the National Gathering for Indigenous Education. You can learn more about these inspiring educators here.
National Gathering 2020

It’s not too late to join us for the National Gathering for Indigenous Education @ Home!

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and in the interests of public health and safety, this year’s National Gathering will take place virtually, featuring eight workshops over two days, a keynote address by award-winning journalist and author of the best-selling book All Our Relations, Tanya Talaga, and an opportunity to network and share best practices with Indigenous educators across the country.

There will also be a student panel discussion with three Indigenous students who will discuss their experiences in post-secondary educational settings. The panel will be moderated by Indspire Laureate and Indspire Board Member Elizabeth Zarpa, and will take place on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. EST. The panel discussion is open to the public. Complete your registration for the 2020 National Gathering here.
Giving Tuesday 2020

Join us on December 1st for #GivingTuesday! Check out our social media pages to learn how you can get involved in this year’s wave of generosity.
Accept the #PostCOVIDChallenge with Fulbright Canada

Fulbright Canada, one of our valued partners, is proud to share the launch of an exciting new initiative for youth in Canada and the US: the Fulbright Canada Post-COVID Challenge! It’s designed to inspire those who are 18 years or older – especially underrepresented youth – and provide a venue for them to engage in shaping and enriching our collective future. Open to students in Canada or the US, individuals residing in Canada or the US, and individuals affiliated with organizations in Canada or the US, the Challenge seeks bold ideas about the way we live, connect, and grow in a Post-COVID world in the following areas:

  • Public Health and Wellbeing
  • Digital Transformation
  • Social Cohesion and Economic Recovery

Fulbright Canada is also looking for Challenge Fellows to serve as mentors to the competing teams and individuals.

Know someone who fits the bill? Encourage them to Accept the #PostCOVIDChallenge and learn more here!
Rivers to Success
Indspire’s Rivers to Success (R2S) Indigenous Student Mentorship Program is keeping Indigenous students supported throughout a very different kind of academic year! This newly revitalized initiative is a direct result of feedback from Indigenous students, who said they wanted and needed guidance from Indigenous mentors to complete their educational journeys and successfully transition to their chosen careers. Facilitated through an online Portal, the R2S program features an innovative blend of one-on-one and group 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:
A very exciting event happened right at the end of October which we just have to share: the forging of a new partnership between R2S and Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada (BBBSC)! It kicked off with a well-attended webinar where mentors from both organizations heard wisdom from Indspire Laureate Prof. Claudette Commanda and then shared strategies with each other about how to support mentees through the challenges of an unconventional school year.

With a longstanding tradition of enabling life-changing mentoring relationships to ignite the power and potential of young people, BBBSC is a natural partner for R2S on this mentorship journey. It has provided unique programs and empowering one-on-one and group mentorship for Canadian youth since 1912. We’re very excited about the beginning of this beautiful friendship!
R2S mentors and mentees can get a head start on their holiday beading projects while coming together in mentorship at the R2S Holiday Beading Circle! Facilitated by artisan Megan Feheley and held on November 26 at 6:00 pm EST, this is a chance for everyone at R2S to join together and build their mentorship relationships through the context of art while learning new techniques, listening to stories, and sharing warmth and experiences (while getting those projects done in good time for the holidays!).
Stay tuned for:
Things aren’t going to slow down in December for our R2S mentors and mentees! We’re looking forward to some great events planned for the end of the year. They’ll include the final session of the Holiday Beading Circle on December 3 & 10, a fitness workshop to help keep our minds and bodies healthy as we travel our respective paths, and other offerings to help us finish 2020 in a good way.
Do you want to share our 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 [email protected] or visit us at indspire.ca/rivers.
Indspire Research Knowledge Nest
Exciting things are happening at Indspire’s Research Knowledge Nest! Begun in 2019, 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. Although the unusual circumstances created by COVID-19 continue, the Research Nest is enjoying a fruitful autumn!
Highlights include:
The Research Nest Presents...

The Research Nest is celebrating National Indigenous Education Month with a whole month of exciting content! Every week, one of the four Research Assistants will be showcasing his or her research work on our social media platforms and through our internal The Research Nest Presents webinar series. Each of the Research Assistants analyzed Indspire’s wealth of BBF data and cross-referenced it with data from our National Education Survey to pose – and answer – some very important questions about variables affecting First Nations, Inuit, and Métis post-secondary students. 

The series features insights from:

  • Joshua Thomas: Building Brighter Futures: Multiple Award Recipients
  • Kayleigh Wiebe: Supporting Indigenous Caregivers Through Their Post-Secondary Experience
  • Whitney Wolfe: Program-Related Work Experience & Academic Success for Indigenous Post-Secondary Learners
  •  Felicia Sinclair: Reciprocity in Terms of Post-Graduate Employment for Building Brighter Futures (BBF) Applicants

You can read their reports here.
Stay tuned for:
NEW – COVID-related Survey for Post-Secondary Students

We’re getting ready to ask more questions and get more insights – this time, with a focus on understanding how COVID-19 has been affecting Indigenous post-secondary students. We’re currently in the process of designing a survey which will be open to any Indigenous student who has been in post-secondary education during the pandemic. It will ask 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?

Stay tuned for more about this upcoming survey!
Have questions or want to know more about the Research Knowledge Nest? Email us at [email protected] or visit us at indspire.ca/research.
Building Brighter Futures Student Spotlight
Dylan Pinette

Thank you very much for the financial support this award has given me. I am a first year music student studying oboe at the University of Ottawa. This award will allow me to focus on schooling rather than work and will let me grow as a musician. Music students have a difficult enough time balancing school and practice time, adding work on top of that makes schooling almost impossible. I am so incredibly appreciative of this award and the impact it will have on my ability to focus on school, rather than how I will afford to go to school.

Read more about Dylan's story here.
In Memoriam
Everyone here at Indspire was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of more members of the Indspire family: a former Board Member and an Indspire Laureate. These respected and influential leaders had a profound impact, not only within the communities they loved, but also in much wider circles. We send our heartfelt condolences to their families, friends, and loved ones. Click on the links in their bios to learn more about these remarkable individuals.
Anne-Marie Haig Applin

A former Member of Indspire’s Board of Directors, Anne-Marie Haig Applin forged an exceptional career in marketing and public relations, starting as the Director of National Training at Clinique Laboratories and eventually founding Applin Marketing & Communications. She served as a trustee of crown corporations and sat on numerous boards. She was perhaps most well-known as a proponent of arts & culture, championing organizations such as the Canadian Opera Company, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Stratford Festival. She spent 30 years married to the late Michael Robert Applin (d. 2009), and the greatest source of pride and joy in her life was her daughters, Stephanie and Kate Applin. Our thoughts and condolences go out to them and to the rest of Anne-Marie’s family and friends.
Edward Lennie

Elder and Indspire Laureate (Heritage & Sports, 2003) Edward Lennie (Inglangasuk) was known as the Father of the Northern Games. He was instrumental in ensuring that traditional Inuit sports were incorporated into the Games, and that Inuit culture continued to be practiced, honoured, and respected. Mr. Lennie trained athletes himself, raised funds when necessary, and brought his beloved Games and culture to a wider audience. In 2010, the Games that Mr. Lennie founded celebrated their 40th anniversary. “The loss of Edward cuts deep into our community and our thoughts are now with the family,” said IRC Chair and CEO Duane Smith. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Mr. Lennie’s family and friends. You can learn more about his contributions here.
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