New research grant for food security at First Nations tech school

TYENDINAGA — First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) says it is expanding its programming after government officials announced a $50,000 research grant.

On January 14, Member of Parliament for Hastings, Lennox and Addington Mike Bossio, on behalf of Kristy Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced that FNTI will receive a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grant. FNTI’s Keith Williams, Special Projects Advisor, will receive $50,000 for research in the fields of agriculture, food security, and sustainability, including a focus on decolonization, Indigenous knowledge, elders, and knowledge-keepers.

“We are excited to have federal support to build our capacity to conduct food systems research in a culturally-relevant way,” Williams said. “We hope that this is just the beginning of a broader research program at FNTI that will address community priorities and serve as a model for other researchers in Indigenous contexts.”

“We are thrilled to see the government investing in projects that support Indigenous research to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada,” said Suzanne Brant, FNTI’s president. “Grants like these help FNTI be a leader in Indigenous education.”

In upcoming academic years, FNTI will expand degrees and diplomas in a variety of fields including agriculture, social and community justice, midwifery, technology and sustainability.

FNTI says it’s mandate is to share unique educational experiences, rooted in Indigenous knowledge. Each program has a cultural advisor and student success facilitator to help guide and support faculty and students, understanding the unique challenges their students may face.

The school delivers programs all over Ontario in First Nations, urban centers, and in small communities in what is known as IPM – Intense Professional Mode, a one-week intense session per month. The post-secondary institute has served 100 of the 133 indigenous communities in Ontario and continues to grow each year.

The Government of Canada is currently co-developing legislation on Indigenous Child and Family Services with Indigenous partners. This legislation is being developed to fully implement all orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and reform child and family services.

“With this legislation, there will be a greater demand than ever before for Indigenous education,” Brant said. “FNTI is ready to meet these increased needs.”

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