Back row: Trustee Howard Sanderson, Councillor Chris Benn, Councillor Doug Hanska, Councillor Lindsay Bunn Jr. Front row seated: Board Vice-Chairperson Marion Pearson, Board Chairperson Linda Ballantyne, Chief Ken Chalmers, Trustee Darlene Osborne
The Frontier School Division Board of Trustees and Chief and Council for the Birdtail Sioux First Nation renewed their education agreement on Tuesday, December 11, 2018.
The signing marks the continuation of a 10-year relationship between the school division and the First Nation community.
Located approximately 50 kilometers north of Virden, Manitoba, Birdtail Sioux is a Dakota First Nation community with an on-reserve population of about 500 people. Since 2007, Chief and Council have operated their school, Chan Kagha Otina Dakota Wayawa Tipi School, in partnership with the Frontier School Division.
The school currently has a population of 137 students.
The revised agreement places emphasis on meeting the holistic needs of students, including their spiritual, emotional, physical and mental well-being.
“I am very pleased with the new agreement,” says Birdtail Sioux Chief Kenneth Chalmers. “As Dakota people we needed a new and unique agreement that reflected our culture, language and history. We are confident the education to come will support our children’s success so they can graduate from high school well-prepared for participation in life and life-long learning.”
Chief Chalmers thanked Frontier Chief Superintendent Reg Klassen and Frontier Secretary-Treasurer Gerald Cattani, noting that he trusts they have the best interests of the community’s children at heart.
“We are very proud to re-sign with Birdtail Sioux,” says Reg Klassen. “Our goal is to provide every community with the best educational opportunities that reflect their individual needs. We’re looking forward to continue growing with the community and providing the stability and support the students deserve.”
Frontier School Board Chairperson Linda Ballantyne added, “the revised agreement speaks to the value we place, as a Division, on ensuring that the educational needs of our diverse communities are met.”
The community’s economic plan includes building a gaming centre and gas/convenience store in the coming year, followed by a hotel in the near future.
Chief Chalmers is confident that the education Frontier provides will ensure that there is a strong, dependable, self-sufficient labour force that will sustain the economic future of the Birdtail Sioux community.