Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

June 17, 2011 14:00 ET

Parlimentary Secretary Rickford Celebrates Opening of Outma Sqilx'w Cultural School With Penticton Indian Band

PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 17, 2011) - Greg Rickford, Member of Parliament for Kenora (Ontario) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today congratulated the Penticton Indian Band on the opening of its new elementary school.

"Education is critical to improving the quality of life of First Nations people and our government is committed to making investments that lead to better outcomes for Aboriginal children," said Mr. Rickford. "We are proud to have partnered with the Penticton Indian Band to build this wonderful educational facility."

"This is a very exciting time for the children of the Penticton Indian Band," said Okanagan-Coquihalla MP, Dan Albas, "I know that Chief Jonathan Kruger and his council are very proud of this new school and the legacy it will leave for future generations."

Funded under Canada's Economic Action Plan, this $7.2 million facility will meet the needs of the Penticton Indian Band's growing population. The project will enable the Penticton Indian Band to integrate its kindergarten to grade six students, many of whom had been attending off-reserve provincial schools, into a culturally sensitive learning environment in their community.

The new school will also allow the community to be involved in planning a school curriculum that will emphasize First Nation culture and provide a facility that can be used in the evenings as a place for adult learning. The Penticton Indian Band contributed $520,000 for an expanded gymnasium and a commercial kitchen.

"It's been a long journey from the hard work from previous Chiefs and Council members to see this new school become a reality today," said Chief Jonathan Kruger. "It proudly represents our culture, language and future of the Okanagan Nation as we continue building a strong foundation for our children now and forever."

The Government of Canada is taking action to improve First Nation living conditions and stimulate economic growth in First Nation communities through targeted infrastructure investments, including investments in school infrastructure. The government has provided over $173 million across the country in the last two years to build new schools and renovate existing schools under Canada's Economic Action Plan.

The Outma Sqilx'w Cultural School is located on Penticton Indian Reserve #1 at the south end of Okanagan Lake in British Columbia.

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

Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Michele-Jamali Paquette
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    (819) 997-0002

    Media Relations
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
    Development Canada
    (819) 953-1160