Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

October 14, 2010 15:45 ET

Saskatchewan First Nation Students to Benefit From Important Partnership on Education

WHITECAP DAKOTA FIRST NATION, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Oct. 14, 2010) - The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) endorsed an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on education. The MOU formalizes a commitment to enhance education outcomes for First Nation students. The focus will be on assisting First Nations students attending schools in the Saskatoon Tribal Council region and providing non-First Nation students in these schools with a greater understanding of First Nation culture and people.

The MOU was signed by the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, the Honourable Donna Harpauer, Minister of Education, Province of Saskatchewan, and Tribal Chief Felix Thomas, Saskatoon Tribal Council.

"Education is the key to success for our First Nation learners," said Minister Duncan. "By preparing them now for tomorrow's workforce, the social and economic benefits will be felt within their communities, in this province, and right across Canada."

The MOU recognizes the importance of partnerships between First Nation schools in the Saskatoon Tribal Council region and neighbouring provincial school divisions to enhance their capacity to meet the educational needs of First Nation students. To support this objective, partners are committing to: 

  • the development of joint education action plans;
  • providing support for student transitions between grade levels and school systems;
  • ongoing assessment of student learning and skills;
  • enhanced data management and collection;
  • engagement of families and communities to improve students' education outcomes; and
  • shared professional development and curricular resources.

"The signing of this MOU marks an era of inter-jurisdictional co-operation focused on improving outcomes for First Nations students," said Minister Harpauer. "Today, the Government of Saskatchewan is signalling our commitment to work collaboratively with the Saskatoon Tribal Council First Nations to improve First Nations student achievement, for the benefit of students, their communities and the province."

"Empowering our children with an education that not only transfers practical knowledge but also instills pride in culture and history is essential to our society," said Tribal Chief Thomas. "This agreement recognizes the need to work together as leaders and educators, both on and off reserve, to develop and refine the learning environments, tools and systems this promising group of young people needs to succeed."

"Education unlocks many opportunities for the children in these communities," added the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification) and Member of Parliament for Blackstrap. "This MOU will help them to achieve their fullest potential."

This MOU will benefit over 1,000 students in seven band-operated schools and over 10,000 First Nation students in the Saskatoon Tribal Council area attending provincial schools. The agreement also builds on established Saskatoon Tribal Council partnerships with both the Saskatoon Public School Division and the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools. The first formal partnership was established in 1995 between Whitecap Dakota First Nation and the Saskatoon Public School Division.

The Government of Canada looks forward to the possibility of a broader tripartite agreement with the Province of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan First Nations that would benefit all First Nation students in Saskatchewan.

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

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    Minister's Office
    Michele-Jamali Paquette
    Press Secretary
    819-997-0002
    or
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160
    or
    Saskatchewan Ministry of Education
    Sarah Still
    306-787-1613
    or
    Saskatoon Tribal Council
    John Barton
    306-230-7332