Fifteen members of the Aboriginal Planning Working Group met at the Metis Nation of Ontario Healing and Wellness Branch on October 16th. This is the 2nd year we have met in Bancroft – to save North Hastings folks a trip south and to give our southerners an opportunity to learn first-hand about northern service locations and programs.
Our meeting opened with a welcome smudge and presentation from Marsha Depotier, one of two Coordinators with the Metis Victim Services Program, followed by a presentation from Amanda Cox, Employment Developer with the Metis Education and Training Branch.
- On-site preschool speech and language services in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory have increased from 1/2 day per week over the summer to a full day per week, serving four children to date. The Bancroft preschool speech and language site accepts referrals of Metis and Algonquin children.
- The group discussed the importance of Aboriginal engagement when moving forward with the Special Needs Strategy, particularly when different funding streams are causing barriers and service gaps for children 7+ years attending the Quinte Mohawk School.
- An update on the translation of the 18-month, 3, 4 and 5 year Nipissing District Developmental Screens into Mohawk revealed that things are progressing nicely.
The use of inclusive language was discussed at length. Is “aboriginal” a term that is culturally sensitive and appropriate? How do people feel about the prefix “ab” which is also used in such words as abnormal, absent, abduct, etc. Is “indigenous” which suggests cultural and historical distinctiveness better”? Or is there something more appropriate? After everyone around the table had an opportunity to provide input, consensus was reached around the name “First Nations, Metis and Inuit” or FNMI which was felt to be most inclusive. The working group will take this recommendation to the Children and Youth Services Network.
Many thanks to Robin Simpson (CAPC, HBHC), Tracey Dale (Community Wellness), Tammy Hoover (HBHC), Marsha Depotier (Victim Services) and Amanda Cox (Employment) for your hospitality!
For resources and information about the work of this group, please visit the Aboriginal Planning Working Group page on this website – found under the ABOUT tab.