OTTAWA, Feb. 3, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, today congratulated the Wapekeka First Nation on the official opening of its new interim elementary school.
The Government of Canada worked with the Wapekeka First Nation to build the interim school following a fire in May 2015 that destroyed the community's Reverend Eleazar Winter Memorial School. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada provided over $5 million for the new school and continues to work with the Wapekeka First Nation to address the community's long-term school infrastructure needs.
In December 2015, the Department entered into a partnership with Wapekeka and Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nations in Ontario to work co-operatively towards achieving safe and culturally relevant learning environments in these communities.
"Losing a school to fire is a difficult situation to overcome for students, school staff, parents and the community. The Wapekeka First Nation community has been resilient and I have been impressed with their determination to ensure students keep learning through this challenging time. All students deserve to have a learning environment that is both safe and supports their success. This interim school is an important milestone in restoring a safe and stable learning environment to the students of the Wapekeka First Nation."
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett,
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
"After fire destroyed our old school in May 2015, our community was devastated. This new interim school has brought happiness and joy, as well as a strong desire to learn, to all our students. The interim school will also restore our residents' feeling of community and self-sufficiency."
Chief Brennan Sainnawap
Wapekeka First Nation
"This project demonstrates what can be achieved when partners work together in a collaborative spirit towards a mutual goal. Providing the students of Wapekeka First Nation with a culturally appropriate and secure place to learn is paramount to ensuring that they are able to receive a quality education."
The Honourable Robert D. Nault,
Member of Parliament for Kenora
- Wapekeka First Nation is a remote Ontario community located approximately 450 kilometres northeast of Sioux Lookout, Ontario. It is accessible by air and winter road. It has a population of 430, approximately 420 of whom live on the reserve.
- Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada provided over $5 million for the new interim school, which accommodates approximately 109 Kindergarten to Grade 8 students.
- Construction of the interim school began in July 2015 and took six months to complete.
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SOURCE Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
For further information: Sabrina Williams, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160