Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug – NEWS – Celebrations are on in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), also known as Big Trout Lake First Nation or KI for short.
The new Aglace Chapman Education Centre is celebrating its official grand opening on June 14, 2023. The beautiful new school was first announced in 2019 and construction started in 2020..
What is exciting about the new Education Centre is that students will be able to complete both their primary and secondary education. This will mean Chief Donny Morris says that students will be able to stay in the community, and after their high school experience is over be in a better position to decide their future.
Previously students attending school in KI were only able to complete their education up to Grade 10. The new K4-to-Grade 12 school will accommodate approximately 392 students.
The ACEC is named after a former KI Chief and strong advocate for the Indigenous people in Ontario. Aglace Chapman was been instrumental in the development and the operation of educational services in the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug community.
Aglace Chapman was Chief in KI back in the 1960’s. He was one of the key people who helped found Treaty #9 back in 1973, that organization is now the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.
Chapman was a man who never feared change but rather saw it as a challenge. Chapman embraced challenges, his view was that the traditional culture of the people, along with its values, could blend with progress.
Grand Opening Celebrations in KI
The community, along with invited guests came together at the ACEC for the Grand Opening. Stan Wesley, as Master of Ceremonies brought the people to their feet as the students arrived into the School Gym.
Elder Sadie McKay opened the Grand Opening with a prayer. She sought that the students look to follow the teaching, learn and obey their parents.
Chief Morris stated that the building of the ACEC has been a total team effort. “Is been a difficult three years, and yet we have success. It took crucial decisions to come to where we are today”.
Getting to the opening of the school in February meant overcoming many challenges, a global pandemic, some mechanical issues, but all of the challenges have led to today’s grand opening.
Mike McKay, KEA Director stated, “We have a journey before us to make sure our children succeed. This is where our dreams start. We now have a bigger one, to make sure these children succeed.
“Building this new school was the easy part, and it is now up to us to make sure our children succeed. We have a lot of work to do, and we can do it. It’s all up to us, all of us, not just the teachers, not chief and council it is up to all of us.
“We had a good year this year, and KI has 25 graduates in 2023. We now have the tools we need for our children to succeed. We have the children who can be the engineers, lawyers, and construction workers and more.”
NetNewsLedger will be publishing a series of articles on the KI Grand Opening. Stay tuned!
KI is an Oji-Cree First Nation reserve in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The community is part of Treaty 9 (James Bay) and is located approximately 580 km north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The First Nation’s land-base is a 29,937.6 ha reserve, situated on the north shore of Big Trout Lake