Central Urban Métis Federation and Catholic schools sign agreement
- EFN Staff | April 19, 2016
At one time, the history and culture of the Métis people was not taught properly in any school in Canada. As the community evolved and partnerships emerged, curriculum improved and school boards started to do a better job. Now, with a five-year memorandum of understanding ending, officials from both the Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI) and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) believe the time is right to strengthen their 10-year partnership in Métis education.
“We have a mutual concern for the well-being of our Métis students,” said GSCS Board of Education Chair Diane Boyko. “The intent of the agreement is to support Métis students in their academic pursuits, as well as recognize and support their unique language and cultural heritage, their identity as Métis people, and the shared histories and relationships with all Canadians.”
The new Educational Alliance agreement was signed at St. Michael Community School on April 18. In 2015, St. Michael began offering a Métis cultural program that focuses on the educational outcomes and well-being of all students. It offers academic and cultural programming such as dance, drama and art, and introduces students to Michif, the indigenous language of the Métis people in Canada.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t have exposure to Michif, the language of my people,” said CUMFI President Shirley Isbister. “Culture and language are so important. I’m so happy with our partnership and the progress of Métis education at St. Michael’s and throughout the whole school division. This new agreement is an important step in recognizing and celebrating the heritage of the Métis people in our communities and our country. This is a day filled with pride and I look forward to when my grandkids get bussed here and learn the language so that they can teach me.”
Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. is a community-based, Métis-operated non-profit charitable organization representing thousands of Saskatoon Métis people that is a local and national leader in the area of urban Aboriginal issues and challenges.
The agreement establishes a working group and governance committee, information sharing protocols, and parameters for consultation and planning to help establish the necessary supports for learning, retention and success of Métis students.
“CUMFI has been very patient and generous with us,” added Diane Boyko. “There is still a lot of hard work ahead but we are moving forward with the values of respect, participation and collaboration.”