Wapakeka First Nation grads a demonstration of hope and dedication

WAPEKEKA FIRST NATION — Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini travelled with a delegation from Nishnawbe Aski Nation to participate in graduation celebrations in Wapekeka First Nation where only months ago the community’s school was devastated by a fire.

During the initial response to the fire, Ontario Regional Chief Day attended a meeting with the community leaders where they were insistent that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada must have an immediate replacement of the school.

“This graduation signals a sign of hope for the children of the First Nation and is a clear demonstration of the strength of the resolve that parents, community professionals and leadership have for their children,” said Ontario Regional Chief Day.

wapekeka school burned down

One major concern that the community expressed when the fire levelled the school was for the impact that the incident could have had on the emotional state of the children. It became clear to the federal government during visits that the strongest of the response team to the fire were the children of Wapekeka. With the support of Chief and Council, community crisis responders and the parents, the children demonstrated the highest degree of determination and resolve in their petition to the federal government.

“I am very proud of the students, the community and everyone involved in responding to this crisis. They persevered and gave all of us a deep sense of pride,” said Chief Brennan Sainnawap.

Community leaders continue to maintain education services to their students and continue to maintain pressure on the federal government to meet timelines for a replacement that is expected to be complete within two years.

“My congratulations go out to the children of Wapekeka for their efforts, results and the hope that they give to all of us is second to none. Their perseverance and attitude toward crisis can only come from a community with strong faith and love for each other. When children succeed with education, their communities become strengthened, when this occurs we all become stronger as Nations,” concluded Ontario Regional Chief Day.

The community has been successful in setting the proper proposals for both a temporary and permanent school replacing the destroyed building.

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