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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
Home > Press centre > Press releases > 2012 > Febuary 17, 2012

Investment to build an elementary school in Chisasibi

Chisasibi, February 17, 2012 – The elementary school in the Cree community of Chisasibi was inaugurated today in the presence of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Greg Rickford, the Minister responsible for Native Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley, the Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), Matthew Coon Come and the Acting Chief of the Community of Chisasibi, Daisy House-Lameboy.

“We recognize education as an important pillar in supporting qualified, self-reliant individuals,” said Greg Rickford. “Our Government will continue to work with First Nation partners across Canada to deliver tangible and lasting results and ensure First Nations are well positioned to be full participants in a strong Canadian economy.”

Because the former premises, in which younger and older children shared space, no longer met the needs of elementary school students, the Community of Chisasibi opted to build a separate elementary school that would provide a more appealing, welcoming and safe environment. The new school will be a vast improvement over the premises that elementary students have had since the Community of Chisasibi was founded in the early 1980s.

"Above all, a school is a place where young people can dream. It’s a place of hope where we can prepare them for the future. Now the children have their own elementary school where they can grow and develop in a setting better adapted to their needs. Together, we’re offering them the best gift of all. I feel honoured to be part of this historic moment with the Community of Chisasibi," said Minister Kelley.

The new school was made possible by a $14 million investment from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, which covers 75 % of the total cost of construction. The Government of Québec contributed $4.65 million, or 25 % of the total cost of the project, as part of the new initiatives of the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport’s 2009-2014 Five-Year Capital Plan.

Line Beauchamp, Deputy Premier and Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, could not attend the event, but said she was delighted about the new school: "By helping to make this key project happen, our government has sent the young people of the Community of Chisasibi an important message, namely, that we care about their success. Now that they have a new school, I hope that it will be place that gives them the urge to learn, to persevere, and to build their dreams." 

The elementary school opened its doors in January. There are approximately 750 students from Kindergarten to Grade 6. Classrooms are practically full already, and with more than 100 births a year in Chisasibi, the school is sure to always have new enrolments.

Matthew Coon Come, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, sees this day as a turning point for the entire community. "From now on, elementary students in Chisasibi will have a school to themselves, a modern school adapted to their needs. Once again I’m very happy about the fruitful collaboration between the Grand Council of the Crees, the Government of Québec and the Government of Canada. By offering our young people the best educational conditions, especially for learning their mother tongue, French and English, we’ve giving them the best tools for leading us into a future that’s just around the corner. And that way, they can help to build bridges between our cultures."

The Community of Chisasibi is bordered to the west by James Bay and to the north by Grande Rivière.

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