Today, National Chief Shawn Atleo, the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Kji-keptin Antle Denny, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Morley Googoo, and Chairman of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, Chief Leroy Denny, congratulated Wagmatcook First Nation for the dedication, perseverance, and hard work that has gone into making the Wagmatcookewey School a reality.
With the completion this spring of its final phase, the modern and culturally vibrant school is now ready to serve the students of Wagmatcook First Nation and is an excellent example of what can be achieved by working together.
Quality and culturally relevant education is absolutely vital to the livelihood of everyone in every First Nation community. With this as its guiding principle, in 2012, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey developed a new and collaborative strategic plan with its member communities – one that ensures that students continue to have the best possible educational experience.
Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey’s mission stands to see that students achieve the highest standards in Canada in the broadest sense, and that they are comprehensively prepared for their chosen next steps after high school. The plan lays out MK’s guiding principles and directions of action:
- We operate in a way that is consistent with the seven sacred teachings of respect, honesty, courage, love, truth, humility, and wisdom;
- We are accountable and transparent;
- We continually uphold the importance of language, quality of education providing common opportunity, treaty, and aboriginal rights and land; and
- We ensure that education is provided in a way that our language, our culture, and our traditions are fostered in our students’ lives and embedded in their character;
The plan, and a four and a half year agreement with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, has also allowed MK to make contributions toward projects in its member communities - and in this instance, $6.3 million toward this tremendous milestone in Wagmatcook. In addition, and in collaboration with the contributions and efforts on part of Wagmatcook First Nation, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Chiefs and management team worked together to maximize the use of resources to ensure this project became a reality.
“Without these types of solid partnerships and relationships, a project such as this one would take many more years to complete,” said Chairman of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, Chief Leroy Denny. “It gives me special pleasure to see how our joint efforts have led here in Wagmatcook, and to the facilities that this community, starting today, will enjoy for years to come.”
The Wagmatcookewey School offers a concrete example of how the goals of the education system can be achieved, one community at a time, by Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, schools, and communities working together.
“It is important for us to work closely with each other on all issues that directly affect the quality of education of our people - not only the curriculum in our schools, but also to provide a holistic educational experience that enhances and celebrates our language and culture,” said Denny.
The facility has dedicated space for medicinal gardens; bright, inviting space where students feel comfortable and are encouraged to socialize with each other; rooms for culture and Mi’kmaq language studies; and environments where Elders and youth can learn from, and spend time with, each other.
“These are the most fundamental matters of our everyday life,” says Denny. “And in making them a priority together, as evidenced here today, we are proud to keep enabling prosperous communities and futures for our youth.”