PIKANGIKUM FIRST NATION – John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, along with Pikangikum First Nation Chief Peter Quill, and Parliamentary Secretary Greg Rickford have announced funding for a new school at Pikangikum First Nation.
Pikangikum First Nation is located 90 kilometres north of Red Lake, Ontario, and is 80 kilometres east of the Ontario–Manitoba border. The First Nation has 2,433 members, including 2,343 people living on reserve.
“Our Government is proud to work with Pikangikum First Nation to bring a new school to the community,” said the Minister. “This is the second school investment that we have made under this plan, and we are proud to be making such concrete and immediate progress.”
“We are so happy that Prime Minister Harper, Minister Duncan and our MP Greg Rickford recognize the importance of having a new school in Pikangikum that for the first time since 1950 we will be drumming in our community again. Thank you and we welcome Minister Duncan and MP Rickford to our First Nation,” said Chief Peter Quill.
The Pikangikum First Nation is responsible for managing all aspects of this project, including tendering and selecting contractors. The project’s costs will be finalized following the competitive tendering process. During construction of the school, wherever possible, the contractor and subcontractors will seek to create employment and training opportunities for local community members. It is anticipated that the construction of the school will take up to five years to complete.
“The Harper Government is taking concrete steps to improve on-reserve learning environments and, in turn, to improve educational outcomes for First Nation students,” said Rickford the MP for the Kenora riding. “A good education is key to positioning First Nation students to get jobs and achieve the success and prosperity they seek.”
This project is part of the $175 million for new schools and major renovations included in the Government’s Economic Action Plan 2012 commitments to First Nation education. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada continues to make major investments in the order of $200 million annually to support school infrastructure in First Nation communities across the country.
Education infrastructure investments, such as the new elementary school for the Pikangikum First Nation, demonstrate that the Government of Canada values the benefits of safe and productive learning environments for First Nation students. While good progress to improve on-reserve learning environments will be made through these investments, the Government recognizes that more needs to be done. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is targeting these investments to ensure that priority is given to projects with the highest infrastructure needs.