Greetings to all Lighting the Fire Conference Delegates! 

With great pleasure, I welcome you to the 2021 Lighting the Fire Virtual Event. As the first of its kind, I am hopeful it will be a fulfilling and unique experience for each of you.  

This past year has been a rare and challenging experience for everyone. Not only for us as individuals but as educators, family, and community members. This year’s theme, “Student Well-Being: Balancing of the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit,” reflects the need for the spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being of our children to be in balance.  

Ensuring the use of community resources in languages and cultures is ground-breaking work and is a responsibility inherent in what we all strive for in education. This focus on Traditional Knowledge is the direction our Elders and First Nations leadership gave us early in the formation of MFNERC, as stated in the MFNERC Vision: “Support First Nations to develop and implement a comprehensive holistic educational system inclusive of First Nations languages, world views, values, beliefs and traditions with exemplary academic standards, under First Nation jurisdiction.” 

This year’s professional development sessions will focus on three streams: Language & Culture, Recovery Learning, and Student Wellness. We will keep in mind the emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual aspects reflecting a healthy balance for one’s life as we consider the coming of the new school year and how schools and First Nations may be moving forward.  

This online gathering will provide educators, educational leadership, classroom teachers, and parents from the community the opportunity to see, understand, and experience what MFNERC staff have been developing and working on in these new ways by ensuring students’ wellness is first and foremost. Workshops will differ from in-person sessions, but MFNERC staff plans to make your participation informative, interactive, and fun.  Keynote speakers, entertainment, discussions, and opening ceremonies will make for as real of an event as possible!  

MFNERC will continue to ensure accessibility, cooperation, and support to provide the best quality services for your students, schools, and communities.  


Charles Cochrane
Executive Director, MFNERC