Waubageshig (harvey mccue)
Occupation: First Nations Education Expert, Suicide Prevention, Health
• Co-founded the Native Studies department at Trent University which was the first such academic initiative in Canada where he taught for 14 years
• · Director of Education Services for the Cree School Board for 5 years
• · Director General, Education Branch, at Indian and Northern Affairs in Ottawa – 5 yrs.
• CEO, Mikmaw Education Authority, Nova Scotia – 3 yrs.
• · Founded First Nations Youth at Risk, a charitable organization that provides grants for youth at risk, and served as its President and National Coordinator
• Member of the Education Technical Working Group (ETWG) for the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, Flying Dust FN, Meadow Lake, SK. The ETWG advised the Tribal Council on the creation of a regional FN school board
• Chair, Ontario Heritage Trust
• Currently developing K-12 curriculum for the Long Lake #58 FN in ON on the history of their community
Harvey McCue (Waubageshig), an Anishinabe from the Georgina Island First Nation, is a consultant specializing in aboriginal issues in the areas of health, education, self-governance, gaming, public relations and economic development.
First Nations educator develops suicide prevention curriculum for teachers
National News | August 22, 2019 by Todd Lamirande
There’s a new resource for educators interested in teaching about suicide.
First Nations educator Harvey McCue has produced a program of 24 one-hour sessions designed for youth between the ages of 11 and 13.
The experiential learning initiative features student activities, learning materials like stories, interactive videos and internet resources. It provides all required materials for in-class activities and a detailed guide for teachers.
McCue, who hails from Georgina Island First Nation but now lives in Ottawa, says the exercises were designed to make students reflect.
“What inspires me? Who are my heroes? What are my dreams? What would I like to be doing five years from now, 10 years from now?” he says.
The curriculum is free and available for download at firstnationssuicideprevention.com.
According to the website, the curriculum “connects culture with content related to resilient-rich choice-making that is applicable across the distinct First Nations in Canada.
“Framed in highly creative, stimulating, and interactive ways, the First Nations Youth Suicide Prevention Curriculum has the capacity to build resilience by being responsive, engaging, and applicable to the worldview of participating First Nation’s youth.”
McCue, who has been educating for 50 years, says the program could also be adapted to cater to non-First Nations Indigenous youth.
“It might take six or eight months for a team of Inuit educators to say, alright let’s tear this one apart — let’s not throw it out entirely, but let’s make it more Inuit specific,” he says.
For decades, Canada’s First Nations have been dealing with the fallout of residential schools. But now, educator Waubageshig (Harvey McCue) says it’s time to consider taking children off reserves, and sending them to boarding schools. He says the problems created by residential schools mean some students are not getting the care and education they need at home– but a boarding school with well-trained staff and an appropriate curriculum could solve that.
Waubageshig has worked in First Nations education since 1969, and says there are still many things wrong with it, including: curriculum, teacher training, a lack of traditional culture, and the conditions in which many students live. He says some students live in “toxic environments,” and need to be cared for. Boarding schools would get them out of crowded homes, away from the threat of abuse, and access to nutritious food.
He admits, in some cases, children would need to be removed from their homes and sent to boarding school– just like past generations, but says that’s just what must be done: “I’m troubled to have to refer to that model, but I’m more troubled by the knowledge that a lot of these kids…need protection, they need love, they need better living conditions.”
Why not just fix the existing problems in the system? Waubageshig says he’s in favour, but right now he just doesn’t see the will– from professionals or from government, First Nations included. And even if there is an appetite to make changes, it will take time.