On August 29, 2019, Dakota Tipi First Nation and the Manitoba First Nations School System (MFNSS) signed a delegation agreement to work together for the success of the students. MFNSS currently partners with 11 communities from across the province of Manitoba to provide the highest quality of education for First Nations by First Nations.
Those attending the signing ceremony included Chief and Council, students, community members, media, MFNERC and MFNSS staff, and representatives from Indigenous Services Canada and Portage La Prairie School Division. They came to celebrate a partnership that will give the Dakota Tipi students the supports they need to succeed in their educational careers.
Chief Eric Pashe opened the ceremony by stating how education is the gateway for our People. “As Dakota people, we have always followed the buffalo. Education is the new buffalo, and the buffalo has always led our way and continues to do that today.”
A school bus, provided by MFNSS, will provide a safe, efficient, and economical means of travel for the students. Transportation between their homes and the schools in Portage La Prairie proved challenging for the community in the past, and this service was one of the initial reasons Chief Eric Pashe wanted to partner with MFNSS.
MFNERC Executive Director, Lorne Keeper, and Associate Executive Director, Virginia Arthurson, said that it’s time to bring our Peoples knowledge back to our children. Keeper elaborated that “student success begins in the community; we need to take back education for our kids. It’s affecting the success rate of our children—having them go to other communities, getting an education that is not their own.” Keeper and Arthurson spoke of how each Nation—the Dakota, Ojibwe, Cree, Dene, and Ojibway-Cree—has its own stories and histories. We need to ensure our children are proud and know of their heritage.
Councillor Karl Stone also stressed the importance of post-secondary education as he addressed the recent graduates in attendance. A Star Blanket Ceremony after the signing honoured three of the Grade 12 graduates. These students received blankets to recognize their accomplishments, and they will have the blankets as they move forward to attend different post-secondary Institutions in Winnipeg. We congratulate these graduates embarking on the next stages in their education and careers.
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