Wasaho Cree Nation School Opened Fort Severn
THUNDER BAY, ON - October 3, 2016 ---- Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox joined with Fort Severn First Nation Chief Paul Burke and community members to celebrate the official opening of the remote First Nation’s new school today.
“We are proud to celebrate the opening of this wonderful new facility which will allow the youth of Fort Severn First Nation to pursue their education in a safe and healthy environment,” said Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox, who holds the education portfolio. “This school is an investment in our youth, and this community, and will give these students the opportunity they need to achieve academic success and reach their full potential.”
The Wasaho Cree Nation School has seven classrooms accommodating 24 students in each. It is equipped with a science lab, computer lab, library, special education classroom, cafeteria, breakfast program, gymnasium, soccer field, baseball field and an outdoor hockey rink. The school currently has a staff of 17 but is in the process of hiring more.
“We are gathered today to celebrate our school grand opening and to recognize the people that made all this possible, and I say thank you on behalf of the people of Fort Severn for this gift. A gift that will hopefully span generations and to open doors for a new breed of indigenous youth who have access to a global community,” said Fort Severn Chief Paul Burke. “Now that we have a proper school, we need to concentrate on providing the tools and support for the staff to continue to inspire our children to grow and mature.”
Funding for the $22-million project was announced by the federal government in 2015. Construction material was shipped to the remote community during the winter ice road season and construction began in spring 2015. The new school welcomed students in kindergarten to grade 8 in September.
The most northern community in Ontario, Fort Severn First Nation is located along Hudson Bay approximately 850 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay with an on-reserve population of approximately 550 people.