Whitecap renames school to honour teacher
- EFN Staff | November 16, 2016
Charles Red Hawk was the first Dakota teacher at Whitecap Dakota First Nation. He was employed way back in 1916 for approximately eight years at Whitecap’s day-school. To celebrate its past and to lay the groundwork for its future, Whitecap recently opened a new early learning centre featuring 56 spaces and they christened the newly upgraded school the Charles Red Hawk Elementary School.
“Our members have always honoured those that have paved the way. Charles Red Hawk was a pioneer as a Dakota teacher for our people, and he deserves recognition for a legacy of promoting strong values for education this has instilled in our community,” said Whitecap Chief Darcy Bear.
The early learning centre features multiple configurable learning spaces, kitchen facilities and modern learning technology. The facility will serve the needs of the growing Whitecap population and the employees who travel daily to Whitecap for employment. Operated by Preston Early Learning Centre, child care spaces will be open to Whitecap members and non-members alike. The facility represents another positive step in the reconciliation process by providing a unique cultural learning experience, combined with early learning strategies to promote literacy and support readiness for schooling.
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Upgrades to the school include two new classrooms, upgraded gym facilities, a soccer pitch and a link to the Whitecap Health Centre. The school provides a curriculum operated in partnership with the Saskatoon Public School Division (SPSD) and serves children from pre-Kindergarten to grade four. The newly upgraded school provides facilities to meet SPSD standard and will better serve a growing community at Whitecap.
“The newly named Charles Red Hawk Elementary School facility is a demonstration of what can be accomplished when we work in genuine partnership," said the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. “Congratulations to the Whitecap Dakota First Nation on ensuring the secure personal and cultural identity of your young people by providing this exemplary education and learning environment.”
Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education is providing ongoing funding to the centre. Speaking to the benefits of developing early childhood education programs, Government of Saskatchewan Deputy Premier and Education Minister Don Morgan said, “The early years of a child’s life are the foundation of their future and early learning programs, like this new centre, help prepare children for success in school and beyond. The Whitecap Dakota First Nation has done a tremendous job of building partnerships that will serve the education and early learning needs of their children.”
For the leaders of Whitecap, it was an easy decision to make the investment in their education system.
“Our motivation is getting the best education for our children, starting with proven benefits of early learning strategies,” said Chief Bear. “Through our partnership with Saskatoon Public Schools and with the support from both Canada and Saskatchewan together with BMO’s contribution, we are pleased to be able to provide this service not only to our own members, but also make them available to the surrounding community and to those working at Whitecap. We have a diverse workforce at Whitecap. We want to be inclusive and breakdown the doors of segregation, and so it is important for us that all employees have access our Early Learning Centre.”