Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox joined Kashechewan First Nation Chief Leo Friday and MP Charlie Angus to demand action as education in Kashechewan First Nation is in crisis after the community’s portable classrooms were deemed unsafe for students.
“Kaschechewan’s Chief and Council were forced to close these portables because they feared for the health of their students, who are weeks late getting back to class for the upcoming school year,” said Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox during a press conference and rally on Parliament Hill this morning. “The youth of Kaschechewan deserve a quality education and we will do everything we can to make sure that they attend classes in a safe and healthy environment. We ask the federal government to work with the community and advance the timeframe for the work being planned for Kashechewan.”
Kashechewan declared a state of emergency last month because of the deplorable conditions of the 10-year-old portables, which are rapidly deteriorating and infested with mould.
Youth and other citizens of the community have travelled to Parliament Hill to demand long-term solutions to ensure that students in Kashechewan receive a quality education on par with the rest of Ontario.
In addition to fixing the portables before a new school can be built, the First Nation is asking the federal government to speed up the community’s relocation process, which would see the reserve moved to higher ground further up the Albany River and out of danger from seasonal flooding.
Elementary school students are set to return to school today, two weeks after other Ontario students, as a temporary solution was reached to have students attend classes in shifts at the community’s secondary school.
Chief Friday and other leaders are expected to meet with Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott later today.
(More to follow as this story unfolds).