Efforts to establish First Nation School Board in Yukon has started

Yukon MLA Jeanie McLean signs the Oaths of Office at the swearing in ceremony in the Yukon Government Legislature foyer, in Whitehorse, Monday, May 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Kelly

The move has been decades in the making

Parents across eight different schools in the Yukon are voting on a proposal that could put the control of their children's education in the hands of the territory's Indigenous bands.

The parents are voting on the proposal to create a First Nations school board with the authority to hire staff, review and modify school plans and request an education program to be provided in an Indigenous language.

Melanie Bennett is the executive director of the First Nations Education Directorate and said the push to establish this school board in the territory has been in the works and discussed since 1973.

The school board would be unique because it would involve several First Nations across the territory instead of one band on a reserve taking responsibility for education.

A report released in 2019 highlighted the lack of educational supports for children in the area to help them succeed in school and graduate. Yukon also failed to adequately reflect First Nations culture and languages in the classroom.

An Indigenous school board would go a long way to fixing those problems, Bennett said.


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