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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones

Minister Geoffrey Kelley takes part in the inauguration of a vocational training center in the Cree Community of Waswanipi

WASWANIPI, May 31, 2006 – Mr. Geoffrey Kelley, Minister for Native Affairs, today took part in the official inauguration of the Sabtuan Regional Vocational Training Center, intended mainly for the young people of the nine communities of the Cree nation. This ceremony was held in Waswanipi, in the James Bay region.

In operation since September 2005, the Sabtuan Center can accommodate up to 120 students who come to learn and acquire vocational and technical skills in such varied fields as carpentry and joinery work, cabinet-making, mechanics, secretarial services and accounting. The Center also offers those young people wishing to become an entrepreneur a program of studies allowing them to develop the aptitudes to start up their own business.

With its residences, the Sabtuan Center can house the teaching and support staff while serving as a home away from home for students all during their training. The Center responds in an efficient and respectful manner to the need to offer in an aboriginal setting training that is adapted to the young people of the community.

For Mr. Jean-Marc Fournier, Minister of Education, Recreation and Sport, “the total grant of $18.3 million awarded to the Cree School Board for the construction of the Center and its residences is a tangible example of the commitment of the Government of Québec to supporting the socioeconomic development of Aboriginal communities.”

For his part, Minister Kelley made a point of underscoring the leadership of the Cree School Board and the commitment of the entire community of Waswanipi in the carrying out of this promising project. “The Sabtuan Center is an illustration of the extraordinary dynamism resulting from more than thirty years of partnerships between the Crees and the Government of Québec,” he said.

Stating that he was very encouraged by the construction of this vocational training center, Mr. Ashley Iserhoff, Deputy Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, wanted to share his vision of better days for Cree youth. “Now is a wonderful time for young Crees. More than ever, their only limitation is their imagination,” he affirmed enthusiastically.

“Like the Cree community, the Government of Québec firmly believes that education and vocational training are economic levers that are essential for the development of Aboriginal communities. In this sense, the Sabtuan Center is a vital tool that allows the entire Cree Nation to aspire to a future rich in all kinds of possibilities,” concluded Minister Kelley.

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Online as of : May 31, 2006