Onion Lake Cree Nation has broken ground on a new high school. This week, Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan was in the indigenous community for a sod turning ceremony on the project. The Government of Canada is investing $36.8 million in the project and Onion Lake Cree Nation is contributing an additional $3.1 million. The new school has a projected enrolment of 500 students and will include a large gym, indoor running track and lecture theatre.
In a statement, the Canadian Government called having a safe and healthy place in which to learn an “essential component of a student’s education” and affirmed its commitment to partnering with First Nations communities to build them. The government aims to help improve educational outcomes and foster pride and cultural identity for First Nations students. In a statement, Minister O’Regan congratulated Chief Lewis on the new school and affirmed education is critical to improving outcomes for indigenous youth.
“Congratulations to Chief Lewis and the Onion Lake Cree Nation council on this exciting and important project,” says O’Regan. “Education is critical to improving opportunities for First Nations youth, and all students need safe, welcoming learning environments to achieve their best. This new high school will provide the students of Onion Lake Cree Nation with a modern space in which to learn and reach their potential.”
The Ministry of Indigenous Services says the school will be a state-of-the-art facility for learning and will accommodate the growing student population. Construction begins in July and the school is set to open in 2021.