Within a generation, every Indigenous student will graduate.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Indspire! We hope that you stay safe and healthy and enjoy a restful vacation – and we hope that the New Year begins in a good way for you, your families and friends.
Indspire News
Recap: 2020 National Gathering @ Home

We’re happy to report that this year’s virtual National Gathering for Indigenous Education @ Home was a resounding success! We successfully created a virtual environment for our attendees to explore content over two action-packed days that included opportunities to network with 21 vendors and explore over 45 tradeshow booths. We also saw the highest attendee registration ever, attracting over 900 educators from every region of Canada. Attendees listened to eight workshops and a keynote address by Tanya Talaga, award-winning journalist and author of the bestselling book All Our Relations. A big shout out to all those who attended – we’re looking forward to seeing you again in 2021! (And check out some of the feedback we’ve received…)

“The presentations were all phenomenal, from Indspire I would expect nothing less. In particular, it was an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to listen to Tanya Talaga.”

“I was extremely impressed by the conference, and it exceeded my expectations for what could be accomplished with an online venue. I think the online venue actually allowed me to engage more, much to my surprise! I hope to take part again next year.”
Recoding Futures Gives Indigenous IT a Boost

A great new opportunity has just opened up for Indigenous learners who are interested in pursuing a career in IT! ComIT, in conjunction with Google Canada, just announced the launch of Recoding Futures, a program to provide IT training to 450 Indigenous learners across Canada. The one-month program will offer technical and soft skills training, equipping the next generation of IT professionals with the skills they need to succeed. Google Canada, through its philanthropic division Google.org, will invest $250,000 to support the program and enable free access for those enrolled. Check it out here!
Climbing the Mountain Workshops Are Here!

Indspire is excited to announce the launch of Climbing the Mountain: Reconciliation Workshops for Educators and Workplace Training. This insightful and ground-breaking program is comprised of two online workshops that aim to create healthy educational spaces and workplaces rooted in the principles of reconciliation. For educators, the workshop assists with training on teaching curriculum related to Indigenous history – click here for more information. And for Canadian businesses, the workshop offers a way to learn about the history of Indigenous Peoples and actively get direction on how to produce healthy, reconciliation-focused workplaces. For more information on CTM workshops for businesses, click here.
A New Chapter for Senator Murray Sinclair

Senator Murray Sinclair, the first Indigenous judge to serve on the bench in Manitoba and only the second Indigenous judge ever appointed in Canada, recently announced that he will retire from the Senate on January 31, 2021. After working in the justice system for over 25 years, he was appointed to the Senate in 2016, was co-chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba, and served as Chairman of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 2009 to 2015. He will be joining Cochrane Saxberg LLP, Manitoba’s largest Indigenous law firm, to focus on mentoring and supporting lawyers on emerging issues in Indigenous law in Canada. And his new book, Who We Are, will draw on his perspectives regarding Indigenous identity, human rights, and justice in Canada. It will examine the roles of history, resistance, and resilience in the pursuit of finding a path forward to heal the damaged relationship between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. We wish him all the best as he begins this new chapter in his career! (And to learn more about his life and work, click here.)
Kanata Face Masks: Reciprocity in Action

Amira Gill knows how important it is to give back. A recipient of Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards program, she’s in her final year of post-secondary studies at Queen’s University…and wanted to express her thanks to Indspire for both the financial support and the mentorship that have enabled her to succeed. With her twin sister, Amira started Kanata Face Masks, an online store featuring face masks decorated with designs by Indigenous artists. After royalties paid to the artists, all profits will go to Indspire – to help other Indigenous students obtain the kind of support that Amira received. As she says, “Now that we are nearing the end of our studies, we would like to give back to Indspire so that more Indigenous students can also have the opportunity to attend colleges and universities.” Nia:wen for your generosity and vision, Amira!
Building Something Big: Cenovus Energy Inc. and Portage College Team Up

Cenovus Energy Inc., one of our valued partners, is proud to share the launch of an exciting new initiative they’re pursuing with Portage College and six Indigenous communities in AB: the 24-week Construction and Trades Readiness Program. Funded by Cenovus, the program will focus on trades preparation and construction skills, and is designed to provide home construction and maintenance training opportunities for members of the six Indigenous communities who are part of the company's $50 million, five-year program to help address the shortage of housing in Indigenous communities near the company's oil sands operations in northeastern Alberta. Expected to start recruiting students in early 2021, the program will be delivered in some of the participating communities. Find out more here!
Recap: Giving Tuesday 2020

December 1st saw a wave of generosity for our #GivingTuesday outreach! A grand total of $26,707 was raised to support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students in their pursuit of education. A heartfelt thank you, nia:wen, merci, chi miigwetch, maarsi, and quyanainni to everyone who gave so generously!
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:
3 & 10
One of the highlights of our holiday season here at R2S has been the series of R2S Holiday Beading Circles that we enjoyed on Nov 26, Dec 3, and Dec 10! Facilitated by artisan Megan Feheley, it was 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!). And if you missed out, don’t worry – we’re planning more in the New Year!
Over twenty people – R2S mentors and mentees, students, and teachers – got together to get their bodies and minds in gear with the very first R2S Healthy Body, Good Mind, Whole Spirit Fitness Session! Facilitated by Michael Smith, the fitness session got everyone moving while coming together in mentorship. (And if you participated, don’t forget to check out the accompanying tip sheet on the Portal, so you can keep moving even while you’re on holiday!)
Stay tuned for:
We have great things planned in January to start the year off on a good note for our mentors and mentees! We’re looking forward to a powerful panel discussion on the importance of Indigenous mentorship journeys with our friends at Rogers Sports & Media on January 26. And we’re going to get moving again with a great Pow Wow Fitness Session on January 28 as part of our Healthy Body, Good Mind, Whole Spirit fitness series. Stay tuned for more details!
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 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 has enjoyed a fruitful autumn and is looking forward to bright new beginnings in 2021!
Highlights include:
Following the Path: A New Survey Seeks Insights from Post-Secondary Students

Students are at the heart of all we do here at Indspire, and to support them effectively, we need to listen to them. Following on the success of our 2018 Truth & Reconciliation in Post-Secondary Settings: Student Experience report, we’re hoping to find out what’s changed for students in the intervening years – especially with a lens 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? 

(If you’ve applied to BBF this year, you can expect to see an invitation to participate in your inbox…)
Stay tuned for:
Cohort 2: Research Assistants Needed!

Part of the Research Nest’s mandate is to develop the next generation of Indigenous analysts and researchers – and, to that end, we’re looking for our next cohort of Research Assistants! If you’re a recent post-secondary graduate with interests in analytics, economics, or data-based research who’s looking to take the next step – the Research Nest could be the opportunity you’re looking for! We’ll be hiring in January, so stay tuned for more info!
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
Tagalik Eccles

My name is Tagalik Eccles and I am in my final year at Law attending the Nunavut Law Program and will be graduating in June with my Juris Doctor in Law. Your sponsorship for this bursary has enabled me to purchase a new laptop for myself that I can use during my articling, and for the rest of my studies. Thank you for your generous support. Scholarships from sponsors like you have enabled me to put my full focus on my studies and not worry about my financial situation.

Read more about Tagalik's story here.
In Memoriam
It was with tremendous sadness that we heard, on November 24, that Indigenous NHL icon and member of the Indspire family, Fred Sasakamoose, had passed away at the age of 86. Learn more about his life’s work here.
Frederick Sasakamoose

The first Indigenous player with treaty status to break into the NHL, Sasakamoose played 11 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54, facing off against greats like Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe. He grew up in Big River First Nation (formerly Whitefish Lake) and was a residential school survivor, testifying about his experiences at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2012. After retiring from the NHL, he returned to Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, became Chief and developed minor hockey and other sports programs for youth across Saskatchewan. Along with receiving the 2011 Indspire Award for Sports, Sasakamoose was named to the Order of Canada in 2017 and received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Saskatchewan earlier this year. His autobiography, Call Me Indian, will be published in April 2021.
In the News
Stay in touch!
Thank you to our Major Supporters!