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The memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Fort Chipewyan Métis, 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.
“Alberta’s government is continuing to work closely with the Fort Chipewyan community to support student success, improve educational outcomes and advance reconciliation through culturally appropriate education. This historic agreement will help preserve, support and revitalize the languages, cultures and identities of Indigenous students in Fort Chipewyan.”
As part of the agreement, Alberta’s government will work with the three Indigenous communities in Fort Chipewyan to build a framework for collaboration, address mutual concerns and find new ways to support students in Fort Chipewyan. The parties will also continue to work together to replace the Athabasca Delta Community School.
“Community-led strategies like this ensure that parents have direct input into their children’s education. This MOU is a meaningful step on the path toward reconciliation, showing that Indigenous voices are being heard and action is being taken.”
“We are excited to embark on a new path for education in Fort Chipewyan. The youth of our community and our nation must have access to education that not only provides the foundation for a sustainable and successful future but also recognizes our traditions, language, culture and Indigenous identity. We hope this step is the beginning of a new journey that will lead to the strong future the children of our community deserve.”
“The Mikisew Cree First Nation supports this memorandum that will ensure we will collaborate in advancing improvements to our children’s education in Fort Chipewyan. The future of education in our community will create exciting opportunities for our children. It will ensure that our children’s education will include our way of life, culture, language and knowledge systems as well as the advancements in science and technology. Education is a Treaty right that we will continue to ensure is provided to us in the highest quality. Our ancestors recognised this was important for our future and we continue to share that same vision today. The Mikisew Cree looks forward to working with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Fort Chip Métis Association and the Government of Alberta on this initiative. I would like to congratulate everyone on moving this new education authority forward.”
“With the signing of this memorandum, we affirm the right to guide our children’s education. This memorandum represents a single step on a journey of providing our next generation with educational opportunities that preserve their dignity, self-determination and wellbeing. The future of education in Fort Chipewyan is a system where our cultures, our languages and our traditional ways of life are the basis of the learning provided to our children. Our children deserve this. Our community deserves this. The Fort Chipewyan Métis looks forward to working with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Government of Alberta on this initiative. I would like to congratulate everyone on moving this new education authority forward.”
In the first step towards establishing a new community-based education authority for Fort Chipewyan students, Alberta’s government is providing $150,000 to help the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Fort Chipewyan Métis engage members of their communities. Alberta’s government will share human resources, education expertise and information with the Fort Chipewyan community while exploring opportunities to provide other supports, both financial and non-financial, to help improve the level of service for students.
Reconciliation is a priority for Alberta’s government. As partners in reconciliation, we are listening to and working with Indigenous Peoples in Alberta to determine the best ways forward to a better future.
- The Athabasca Delta Community School serves about 150 students from kindergarten to Grade 10.
- In September 2019 Minister LaGrange was invited to visit the community and meet with First Nations and Metis leadership.
- In November 2019, Alberta’s government approved design funding to support the replacement of Athabasca Delta Community School.
- Budget 2020 included a commitment to the construction of a new K-12 school with capacity for 300 students. Work is ongoing to define the scope of the project and to identify a site for the new school.
- In September 2020, Minister LaGrange returned to Fort Chipewyan to meet with First Nations and Métis leadership and advance the school construction project’s engagement.