By Michael Oleksyn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division board of education has approved an agreement with the East Central First Nation Education Authority which will mutually serve student and system needs.
The agreement was formally approved by the board at their regular meeting on Monday. Full details of the agreement are not yet publicly available.
“That’s exciting too. We have been working with the East Central First Nation Education Authority for some time now, (and) we have had really good conversations on mutually beneficial matters,”
director of education Robert Bratvold said.
The three Cree First Nations in the East Central First Nation Education Authority are the Cumberland House Cree Nation, the James Smith Cree Nation and the Shoal Lake Cree Nation.
Bratvold described the negotiations as amicable between the parties involved.
“Sometimes when people think of negotiations you think of two sides that have opposing views trying to hammer at each other trying to get an agreement and that just wasn’t the case,” he said. “We have working with East Central First Nation Educational Authority and with North East School Division and it’s collectively how can we create something that serves all of our student’s needs and serves our system as well.”
The initial agreement began with guidance from the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA), Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and with discussion between Saskatchewan Rivers School Division, East Central First Nations Education Authority and North East School Division (NESD).
The next step in the process is to have it approved by other parties to the agreement. Bratvold believes it should meet approval.
“East Central First Nation Education Authority has to bring it to their leadership to ratify and verify and make sure it meets their approval,” he explained. “We had some members from the Education Authority in the conversation, (and) they will connect back. We have got a really good education services agreement that is more than just tuition, so it’s a good place to be.”
The hope is to have it ready to formalize officially in the next month.
“If the leadership from the other organizations find some things that they just need some more clarification on, but we believe that it’s done, that it’s in a good place, and we will have some formal signing of it to ratify it at the end of May,” Bratvold said.
Michael Oleksyn is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with PRINCE ALBERT DAILY HERALD. The LJI Program is federally funded.