Crystal Schick/Yukon News Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill, left, and Education Minister Tracy-Ann McPhee shake hands and hug at Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre on July 9, after signing a three-year education agreement for more cultural resources and supports for four Whitehorse schools.

Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Yukon government sign education agreement

The three-year agreement will see more cultural supports and resources in four Whitehorse schools

Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Yukon government have signed a three-year education agreement that will see more cultural resources and supports put in place in four Whitehorse schools.

KDFN Chief Doris Bill and Yukon Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee announced and signed the agreement during a press conference at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre July 9.

“It’s taken awhile for us to get here,” Bill told reporters. “Today we hold our hands up to those who have put the hard work in to make this all happen … This agreement is our commitment to the future. We must give our people the tools and resources to succeed.”

Effective from 2019 to 2022, the agreement will see several initiatives put in place at F.H. Collins and Porter Creek secondary schools, Elijah Smith Elementary and the Independent Learning Centre that Bill and McPhee said will benefit both KDFN and other students.

The initiatives include the hiring of a full-time cultural educator, who Bill said will “provide interactive, hands-on learning opportunities” for students, cultural support for KDFN students and input to teachers on KDFN culture and practices; involving KDFN in hiring and evaluation of school staff and administrators; exposing students to more Southern Tutchone culture and language; and allowing for more information-sharing between KDFN and the Yukon government on education matters.

KDFN and the Yukon government will also be researching the possibility of creating a primary-level culture and language immersion program, and jointly evaluating how well the initiatives are working.

The Yukon government is providing a total of $681,465 to fund the agreement, McPhee said, an amount which will cover the aforementioned initiatives as well as the costs of hiring of an agreement manager and provide three years’ worth of stable funding to KDFN’s House of Learning tutoring program.

KDFN will also “kick in” funds where it can, Bill said. The amount KDFN will contribute wasn’t immediately clear.

Overall, McPhee told reporters, the agreement “will support life-long learning by strengthening relationships between Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the schools on their traditional territory,” and ensure “the inclusion of Kwanlin Dün First Nation culture and language in the schools on their traditional territory.”

“The agreement that we’re signing this afternoon represents decades of work by Yukon First Nations to ensure that they have more authority over the education of their children,” she said.

“… Education agreements reflect our government-to-government relationships and our commitment to reconciliation.”

Both Bill and McPhee also said that the signing of the agreement is a step in the right direction when it comes to addressing the problems outlined in an auditor general’s report on the Yukon education system. The report, released last month, found that the system was not meeting the needs of Indigenous students and students living in rural areas.

“Hopefully we can change the story in the auditor general’s report,” Bill said.

The Yukon government has previously signed education agreements with five other Yukon First Nations — Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Selkirk First Nation, Kluane First Nation, Carcross/Tagish First Nation and the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Children’s performer Claire Ness poses for a photo for the upcoming annual Pivot Festival. “Claire Ness Morning” will be a kid-friendly performance streamed on the morning of Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy Erik Pinkerton Photography)
Pivot Festival provides ‘delight and light’ to a pandemic January

The festival runs Jan. 20 to 30 with virtual and physically distant events

The Boulevard of Hope was launched by the Yukon T1D Support Network and will be lit up throughout January. It is aimed at raising awareness about Yukoners living with Type 1 diabetes. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Boulevard of Hope sheds light on Type 1 diabetes

Organizers hope to make it an annual event

City of Whitehorse city council meeting in Whitehorse on Oct. 5, 2020. An updated council procedures bylaw was proposed at Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 18 meeting that would see a few changes to council meetings and how council handles certain matters like civil emergencies. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse procedures bylaw comes forward

New measures proposed for how council could deal with emergencies

A Yukon survey querying transportation between communities has already seen hundreds of participants and is the latest review highlighting the territory’s gap in accessibility. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Multiple reports, survey decry lack of transportation between Yukon communities

A Community Travel survey is the latest in a slew of initiatives pointing to poor accessibility

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

Most Read