Indigenous Services Minister tours Six Nations

OHSWEKEN – The new Indigneous Services Minister Jane Phillpott was at Six Nations Monday to make some important funding announcements in education and water at Six Nations of the Grand River.

First stop on the tour was the Six Nations Polytechnic run STEAM Academy – a concurrent high school and college program new this year to Polytechnic’s programming.

Phillpott toured the school and announced Indigenous Services Canada is providing $197,000 in start-up funding for this STEAM pilot program from its New Paths for Education Program, as well as $1.14 million to cover tuition costs for the Indigenous students attending the program.

The school launched in September of 2017 and tuition is open to all students from all backgrounds in the surrounding area.

A second tour and announcement was made later in the morning at the Six Nations Water Treatment Plant. Phillpott announced a $10 million dollar investment from Ottawa for extension of the main waterline.

The funding will be used to bring potable water to two of Six Nations elementary schools – IL Thomas Elementary and OM Smith Elementary – as well as residential connections for 400 additional homes on the territory.

Elected Chief Ava Hill said the minister was invited to the Six Nations Elected Council for a lunch with the council members and to have a meeting about education.

This was the first visit for the minister to Six Nations in her official role as the new Minister of Indigenous Affairs. She was previously Canada’s Health Minister from 2015-2017 and was appointed to serve as Minister of Indigenous Services when the previous department split in two. The former Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett shifted roles at that time and now serves as Minister of Crown‑Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

SNEC Councillor Wray Maracle said he was looking forward to the discussions with Phillpott to lay out the rest of the financial needs for the community.

Maracle said, “We still need a lot of housing. We still need a lot of infrastructure to pipe water to the rest of the reserve. There’s just so much more that we need and I think she’s the one that has the cheque book.”

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