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

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read