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Agreement Settled; Band To Get Control Of Education

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MAY 1974      v04 n05 p21  
Sturgeon Lake - The wish of the Sturgeon Lake Band of seeing a community school being built on the Reserve has come into reality as the Band won its fight in demanding control over Indian Education.

The Sturgeon Lake Reserve is located 30 miles northwest of Prince Albert.

After spending two days on negotiations with Saskatchewan's Regional Director of Indian Affairs, Orest Zakreski, the Sturgeon Lake Band received a signed Agreement providing funds for 12 staff residences to be used temporarily as classrooms and giving the Band full authority to hire teachers and purchase all necessary equipment and supplies.

Included in the agreement was the provision of funds to rent mobile homes for teachers so they will be able to live on the Reserve and be available to students after school hours for extra-curricular activities.

The Band had also demanded that the Department of Indian Affairs begin negotiations immediately with Prince Albert School Unit No. 56 to terminate 25 year agreements providing space for Reserve children in Prince Albert schools.

The agreements made in 1967 and 1969 without prior consultation with the Band, cost the Indian Affairs Department $167,000 in capital expenditures at Spruce Home and Wild Rose Schools for classroom space for 165 students.

Total cost of the agreement to the Federal Government is estimated at $1,000,000, said the Band's Education Consultant, Paul St. Jacques.

"It's a big step for us economically, because it employs Indian people and it's a big step for us from the point of view of the control of Indian Education by Indian people," he said.

The classrooms costing $15,000 each, will be turned into staff housing when a permanent Central School is completed.

The Band will hire eight teachers and 13 teacher-aides in addition to the seven and six, respectively, on the Reserve now. It will also hire Reserve residents as bus drivers, janitors, carpenters and plumbers, said Mr. St. Jacques.

These people will be trained through Adult Education and Upgrading courses, also to be held on the Reserve, he said.