Manitoba chiefs demand school be reopened

first_imgAPTN National NewsManitoba chiefs are calling for dozens of Lake St. Martin First Nation school children to be kept together after the school they were attending was closed last week because of fire code violations.The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs want the federal government to stop a decision to disperse the 85 children within Winnipeg’s school system as a result of the closure saying it will have devastating impacts on them.“I find it appalling that your solution to a ‘building code issue’ is forced separation of these school-age children,” Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs leader Derek Nepinak wrote in a Nov. 6 letter to Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan.The entire community of Lake St. Martin, about 2,000 people, was evacuated last year after a flood. The children had been attending a school in suburban Winnipeg. Where they will go now is up in the air.“The one thing that kept these children tied together throughout the emergency situation is being taken away from them,” said Nepinak.He said the children’s sense of community and identity will be further compromised by the decision. Nepinak said history has shown what can happen when the federal government tries to deliver education to First Nations and referred to residential schools.“By dispersing the children to Winnipeg area schools, the rights of these children to a culturally relevant education experience are being ignored,” he said.Nepinak asked that the feds meet with himself and the property owner of the school to have it reopened immediately.last_img read more