First Nations communities reached an agreement with the government of Canada.
The Regional Education Agreement pledges funds to the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority (KTCEA).
Al Rollins, CEO of the KTC, says the ten-year agreement would support all six schools within the education authority.
“It’s funding that goes directly to the KTCEA, and it’s restricted only for the purpose of supporting the instructional delivery of these six schools.”
The schools reside in First Nations communities at Loon River, Lubicon Lake Band, Peerless Trout, Whitefish Lake, and Woodland Cree.
Strength and diversity
Rollins said about 70 per cent of the funding would go towards teachers and staff.
This would allow their salaries to be comparable and competitive with those in neighbouring jurisdictions.
Also, he adds the remaining funds would go towards facilities and infrastructure such as nutrition programs and busing.
Rollins said the funding model is quite thorough.
“It was the desire of the communities that there would be a solid, direct administration of the schools so that we could concentrate on the real job and that is educating children.”
KTCEA schools educate around 1200 Indigenous students.
Loon River Chief Ivan Sawan is the Board Chair of the KTCEA.
He said the funds would help grow Nehiyawewin language and local traditional ways within the Indigenous communities.
“The KTCEA was established to ensure that students receive the education responsive to their unique needs by strengthening the Nehiyawewin Cree language in our schools and developing resources and courses that reflect diverse, Indigenous community perspectives.”
Chief Sawan added land-based learning would continue to be a cornerstone for the KTCEA.
It involves practical, hands-on education of cultural principals and Indigenous history.
Furthermore, he said students benefit from the participation of elders within the camp setting.
All five First Nations Chiefs along with Federal Indigenous Services Minister, Seamus O’Regan, will officially sign the agreement on July 18, 2019.
The public ceremony takes place at Cadotte Lake in Woodland Cree First Nation.