Alberta’s government is working with the Fort Chipewyan community to support student success, improve educational outcomes and advance reconciliation through culturally appropriate education. Earlier today, I signed a memorandum of understanding with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Fort Chipewyan Métis Association to improve education in the community.
The agreement solidifies a commitment to work towards establishing a community-based education authority that incorporates Indigenous knowledge, wisdom, tradition and culture directly into the school curriculum. For example, we are providing $150,000 to help our partners in this agreement gather feedback and ideas on the establishment of the new school authority. Alberta Education will also share human resources, education expertise, data and information with the community.
Today’s signing ceremony marks my third visit to the Fort Chipewyan community as Minister of Education. I first visited in 2019 after being invited to meet with First Nations and Métis leadership, and I returned in 2020 for further collaboration. Since then, my office and the department have continued to work with the community to support student success, which includes ongoing work to replace the Athabasca Delta Community School. I look forward to expanding on this collaboration through this new agreement.
The spirit and intent of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action is to work together toward a better future for Indigenous people in Canada. As partners in reconciliation, we are listening to and working with Indigenous peoples in Alberta to determine the best ways forward; this starts with taking meaningful action to build stronger partnerships and uplifting relationships like the one we are celebrating today.
This MOU is one of many steps we are taking to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for Indigenous students while also honouring and supporting their diverse histories and cultures. We will continue to work with First Nations and Indigenous education partners to advance reconciliation. I look forward to many meaningful opportunities to work with the community to preserve, support and revitalize the languages, cultures and identities of Indigenous students in Fort Chipewyan.