Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

October 22, 2009 13:00 ET

Canada, Manitoba and First Nations Partner to Improve Education for First Nation Students

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Oct. 22, 2009) - The Government of Canada, the Government of Manitoba, and First Nations in Manitoba, represented by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and the Southern Chiefs Organization, have signed a Letter of Understanding on education to work together to help First Nation students in Manitoba fulfill their learning potential.

"Our government believes that quality education is the key to student success, which leads to a better future for individuals, families and communities," said the Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board and Regional Minister for Manitoba, on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians.

"Improving education is a shared responsibility and through partnerships such as this, we are taking positive action to help improve education outcomes for First Nations. Agreements like this will help ensure First Nation students gain the necessary skills to reach their goals."

The federal and provincial governments and First Nations in Manitoba will work together to improve educational outcomes in the following areas:

- Early learning programs focusing on school readiness for children who will attend First Nation schools in Manitoba;

- Virtual schools to increase course availability and options for First Nation students in Manitoba;

- Professional development for teachers of First Nation students;

- Protocols to support students making a transition between First Nation and provincial schools; and,

- Through other agreements, which may include provisions for tuition amounts, programs and services, roles and responsibilities, and accountability.

"The need to improve education for First Nation students is one of the most crucial challenges facing all levels of government," said the Honourable Peter Bjornson, Provincial Minister of Education, Citizenship and Youth. "This agreement is a positive step forward as we work together to provide better opportunities for Manitoba's fastest growing student population."

"Increased resources and partnerships are needed for First Nation students to fully participate in Canada's economy. In Manitoba, we have close to 25 per cent of the First Nations students in Canada so it is critically important that our students gain a new vision of hope and excitement for building a better future for themselves and their families," said Grand Chief Ron Evans of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. "We must all work together to invest in and nurture the greatest resource in this province - our children."

"MKO is pleased to see the Government of Canada create a mechanism
that will engage northern Manitoba First Nations in an area that is perhaps the most sacred in our Treaties, the Treaty Right to Education," said Grand Chief David Harper of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. "MKO is eager to work in a joint effort to increase our high school graduation rates, by reviewing the course material and the quality of current educational facilities."

"The objective is to invest in the future of our children," said Grand Chief Morris Shannacappo of the Southern Chiefs Organization. "Through enhanced educational outcomes and increased access to programs and use of technology, we will strengthen the educational opportunities and build a solid foundation to prepare our children for the future."

The Government of Canada is supporting partnership activities developed under the LOU through the Education Partnerships Program (EPP). The EPP is designed to help advance First Nation student achievement in First Nation and provincial schools. This is done by supporting tripartite partnership arrangements between First Nations, provinces/territories and the Government of Canada, where partners share expertise and services and coordinate learning initiatives.

Tripartite education partnerships are designed to enable First Nations and provincial/territorial officials to share expertise and services and to coordinate learning initiatives in support of First Nation students.

By working together, all parties can help First Nation students achieve educational goals comparable to the general student population in Manitoba.

This release is also available on the Internet at www.inac.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Minister's Office
    Michelle Yao
    Press Secretary
    819-997-0002
    or
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160