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SD61, Greater Vic Metis Nation sign deal to boost education on Metis culture

SD61 board chair Ryan Painter called it a “monumental moment”
From left to right: Ryan Painter, Greater Victoria School District Board Chair, Caitlin Bird, Métis Nation Greater Victoria President, Lissa Dawn Smith, Métis Nation British Columbia President sign the agreement. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria School Board)

The Metis Nation of Greater Victoria has signed a new education deal with its provincial arm and the Greater Victoria School District.

The agreement includes a commitment to provide Metis-specific resources for new Indigenous courses offered in SD61 schools and build relationships with the Metis community. There are currently 357 students that identify as Metis going to school in SD61.

“As a community, we have heard that Metis children and families have a better experience within the educational system when they feel seen, understood and supported,” Metis Nation Greater Victoria President Caitlin Bird said in a statement. “While our cultures and needs may be distinct, one thing that Metis Nation of Greater Victoria shares with Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations is that we understand the importance of placing our children at the centre of the work that we do.

“This agreement embodies those important relationships and values.”

The agreement was co-designed by Elders, community members, and staff over the past year. Topics relating to Metis will continue to be reviewed by the Metis House with Greater Victoria School District staff.

“Finalizing this agreement is a monumental moment as we look to renew our relationship with the Metis people and take steps towards reconciliation,” Greater Victoria School District board chair Ryan Painter said in a statement.

Metis Nation Greater Victoria (MNGV) is one of the four “houses” consulting with SD61 on Indigenous education. The other three are the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, and the Urban Peoples House Indigenous Advisory (UPHIA), representing all other Indigenous Nations.

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