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File Hills Chiefs To Boycott School

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 1974      v04 n06&07 p09  
Noel Starblanket
Noel Starblanket

Fort Qu'Appelle - File Hills Chiefs recently announced plans to boycott Balcarres School and the Lebret Student Residence and press for a federal school to serve the four reserves in the File Hills district.

Chief Noel Starblanket of the Starblanket Reserve says, "there has been callous disregard of requests made by the people of the four reserves for curriculum changes and also several incidents involving Balcarres and the residence."

The decision was reached after a meeting of the File Hills Chiefs at the Starblanket Reserve, where the results of a survey were made public. The questionnaire answered by residents of the four reserves, revealed that 71 per cent of the people preferred having a school on the reserve.

The reserves, Little Black Bear, Okanese, Starblanket and Peepeekisis, are currently contributing approximately $.5 million through tuition agreements to the off-reserve schools the children are attending.

"The town of Balcarres receives $.5 million annually from the residents of the reserve doing business there," said Chief Starblanket. "All of this money is disregarded in the treatment of our people."

The band councils have decided to use temporary facilities on the reserves as an alternative to the schools. There are presently four band halls, plus one school building available.

"An education consultant and a co-ordinator will be hired in the near future to do a feasibility study," he said.

The details of the new school will be left to a school committee made up of members of each band. The termination of present tuition agreements, bussing of students to facilities on the reserves and the grades in the school are some of the details to be investigated by the committee.

"The band councils have already committed themselves," Chief Starblanket said. "The success of the school now depends on how far the people want to commit themselves."

"We have to sacrifice a bit now, but we have a lot to gain," he said.