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In this remote community of approximately 600 band members, 100 invited guests were on hand to witness yet another milestone to their growing community.
This modern facility will accommodate 150 elementary students and will implement programs such as: Special Education, Physical Education with gym facilities, Home Economics, Industrial Arts, as well as Computer Science. The teaching staff consists of seven teachers and two teacher-aids. The education program is also complimented by a Cree Language Instructor from the Sturgeon Lake Band who teaches Nursery and Kindergarten. The school can boast about 92 percent attendance.
In the opening ceremonies, Master of Ceremonies, Derek Henderson, Principal of both educational facilities at Kiwaytinok and The Gilbert Head Memorial Education Center, is a native from Manitoba. Mr. Henderson gave a welcome address to - the ceremonies held at the Redwood Lodge community center.
Opening prayers were said by elder, Joe Turner from the Prince Albert District Chiefs office. Councilor, Cyril Head welcomed guests on behalf of Chief Gilbert Head, who was unable to attend due to prior commitments in Ottawa.
In his address to the guest, Fifth Vice-Chief, Alvin Head, representing the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Executive, commended the present Chief and Council for their efforts towards education and recalled the first school which was a one-roomed building with no furniture and that, education was always considered a priority. He then introduced the following guests: MLA, Jack Sowen, Elder Joe Turner and Jerry McLeod, Director of Education for Prince Albert District Chiefs.
MLA, Jack Sowen presented the school with a portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. He also congratulated the band for their strong commitment to education.
Elder, Joe Turner special guest speaker, addressed the school children of the community and said, "Education is very important, very valuable." He said his position as an Elder for Prince Albert District Chiefs gives him the opportunity "to teach God's gospel in his own native way". We have to teach our children to share and teach them respect.
The Band also took this opportunity to honor its band members: Wesley McKay and Marcel McKay for recently obtaining their BEd degrees from the University of Saskatchewan through the ITEP program. They were both presented with plaques and both are presently employed by the band as teachers.
Also, in recognition for 23 years of dedicated service as a Janitor, Daniel Nawakayes was presented with a plaque, a hand-made quilt and Indian art. Councillor Cyril Head said Dan never knew the meaning of over-time or frustration, in fact, has been around longer than the school.
Dan Nawakayes also had the honor of cutting the ribbon to officially open the Kiwaytinok Elementary School.
Jerry McLeod representing the Prince Albert District Chiefs congratulated the Chief and Council for their hard work. He commended former chief Alvin Head for his achievements as a long term leader and employee with the Band.
In his closing remarks, Mr. McLeod encouraged staff to continue to further Indian education for their children.
Chairperson acknowledged the following guests: Bill Peters, Dakota Coordinator and Brian Seesequasis, Native Art in the Hallways of the school.
The program concluded with a tour of the educational facility and lunch was served.