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
Indspire appoints Mike DeGagné as new CEO

Indspire is very excited to announce that Dr. Mike DeGagné, President and Vice Chancellor of Yukon University, will be the new President and CEO of Indspire. He will be joining the Indspire team in mid-November 2020. An Ojibway from the Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nation, DeGagné says the chance to lead Indspire presented him with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “This job builds on what I have done to date and allows me to apply it on a national stage.”

With over 25 years of leadership experience in public service, DeGagné has a strong track record of supporting the rights and interests of Indigenous people, both in his work as a public servant and as founding Executive Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. (He’s also an Indspire Laureate, having received the 2018 Award for Public Service.) Please join us in welcoming Mike! And to learn more about his life and work, check out the press release here.
Indspire invites you to join us for a talk with award-winning artist Kent Monkman!

Roberta Jamieson, President & CEO of Indspire and Jennifer Kramer, Curator, Pacific Northwest, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, chat with Kent Monkman about his powerful exhibition Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience. Internationally renowned Cree artist Kent Monkman is the 2014 Indspire Award recipient for Art. Monkman’s paintings are critical depictions of colonialism and its devastating effects on the Indigenous peoples of Canada. You can register for this event here.
2020 National Gathering for Indigenous Education @ Home

We’re delighted to announce that the 2020 National Gathering for Indigenous Education @ Home is NOW OPEN for registration! This highlight of our autumn season is taking place virtually this year from November 26-27 due to COVID, but it has all of the innovative, thought-provoking workshops and content you’ve come to expect from us, featuring a fabulous keynote address by award-winning journalist, author, and educator Tanya Talaga, bestselling author of Seven Fallen Feathers and All Our Relations. Register today and receive a FREE copy of Tanya Talaga’s book All Our Relations (limited to first 300 people who register)!
Roberta Jamieson receives the Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award

Indspire is extremely proud to announce that our President and CEO, Roberta Jamieson, is the recipient of the 2020 Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award. The award is part of Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Stand Up for Kids movement which aims to mobilize Canadians who want to help change the future for the country’s most at-risk children and youth.

The Lynn Factor Stand Up For Kids National Award includes a grant award of $50,000 which Jamieson will be directing towards Indspire with a specific focus on youth in foster care. Over the past 16 years, under Roberta’s leadership, Indspire has distributed over 42,500 scholarships and bursaries, valued at over $132 million to First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth. Read the full press release here.
Rivers to Success
Indspire’s Rivers to Success (R2S) Indigenous Student Mentorship Program is taking off – just in time for 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:
R2S held its inaugural Paint Session to enjoy some colourful community-building and artistic mentorship! Guided by award-winning Winnipeg-based artist KC Adams and the R2S Mentorship Officers, Julia Stoneman and Greg Monias, a large group of participants completed a Norval Morrisseau-inspired painting featuring Wēsākechā, the Cree trickster, and learned from KC about how important mentors are to a successful arts education and career. The group had an amazing time (and 17 participants even stayed for an hour after the session officially ended to finish their art!). To join us for future Paint Sessions – and learn more about the R2S program – visit us here. (You can see some of the art on the Indspire Instagram account here, too.)
The hundreds of R2S mentors and mentees who have been carefully matched up in the MentorCity Portal based on their interests, needs, and cultural identities will get the chance to meet each other and the Mentorship Officers, learn more about mentorship, and get some good guidance before beginning their mentorship journeys at the R2S Orientation Session from 3:00 – 4:00 pm EDT. Do you want to be part of the 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
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 looking ahead to a fruitful autumn!

Highlights include:
In another highlight for the Research Nest, September saw the release of its second-ever report: the Nurturing Capacity Synthesis Report. Produced with support from the Suncor Energy Foundation, the report is a comprehensive overview of Indspire’s Nurturing Capacity Synthesis program from its inception in 2013 to its conclusion in 2019. The program matched Indigenous researchers or evaluators with community-led Indigenous education projects, offering evaluation support to the projects and tracking how they worked. Through the evaluation, communities were able to determine if their program worked and how it worked, allowing other communities to learn from their own innovations.

This report, which incorporates both Indigenous and Western approaches as a way to document and evaluate programs, synthesizes these findings to understand broadly what the 50+ community-led projects have in common and to shed light on what works for other Indigenous communities. There’s also an accompanying Guidebook which K-12 educators and administrators can use to evaluate their own innovative Indigenous education programs and measure their success!
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
Jody Turco

As a Métis woman who has worked with families for more than twenty-five years, I have had the privilege of working to assist families in working to better the lives of their children and the adults who care for them. Many of these years were with Alberta Health Services and early intervention, including high risk home visitation. Being welcomed into the homes and lives of these families has been an honor as we reach goals together while improving the tomorrows of children.

Read more about Jody's story here.
In Memoriam
Everyone here at Indspire was deeply saddened this summer to learn of the passing of three Indspire Laureates: all respected and influential leaders, whose impact and good guidance was felt not only within the communities they loved, but also in wider circles nation-wide. 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.
Ronald Edward Sparrow

Ronald Edward “Bud” Sparrow passed away on September 14th, surrounded by his family, after a long struggle with cancer. A member of the Musqueam community, Sparrow began his career as a fisherman on BC’s Fraser River. After being arrested in 1984 for having a net that was ostensibly too long, he ultimately took his case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where the 1990 Sparrow Case is considered a precedent-setting judgement, with Indigenous fishing rights now taking priority over commercial and sport fishing. Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow said that Sparrow “left our people at Musqueam and Indigenous peoples across Canada with a tremendous legal legacy. We will always be grateful for his quiet determination in fighting for our rights.”

You can watch his recipient video for his 2011 Indspire Award for Environment and Natural Resources here.
Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell

Honoured Nisga’a leader Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell passed away at the age of 84 after a long struggle with cancer, surrounded by family. Instrumental in negotiating the precedent-setting Nisga’a Treaty in 2000, he was also a residential school survivor and the recipient of four honorary Doctorate of Law degrees as well as being a Companion to the Order of Canada. “Today we have lost a giant,” said Eva Clayton, president of the Nisga’a Nation. “Through his wisdom, dignity and determination, Dr. Joseph Gosnell helped lead the Nisga’a people out of the Indian Act and into self-government…He represented the Nisga'a Nation with great pride and respect.”

Learn more about his life and work here.
Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton

Joe Tokwiro Norton, Grand Chief of the Mohawk Nation of Kahnawà:ke, passed away following a fall in his home. Well-loved and respected within his community and beyond, he served 13 consecutive terms as Grand Chief after first being elected in 1982. He was instrumental in promoting Indigenous interests for over 30 years, giving good guidance during the Oka Crisis and fostering economic growth and free trade between First Nations communities. Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon praised Norton’s legacy: “He did well for his community, he did well for the Mohawk nation, his legacy you can see in Kahnawà:ke…his name is going to be in Kahnawà:ke’s history books for generations to come."

Learn more about his life and work here.
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