Alberta hopes deal will improve First Nations graduation rate

Alberta has signed a deal with a group of First Nations in the hope of improving attendance and high school graduation rates.

Province to make curriculum more culturally relevant by including traditional skills like hunting and fish

Chiefs Arthur Nosky, Isaac Laboucan-Avirom, James Alook look on as an agreement establishing a First Nations education authority for the Loon River, Lubicon Lake, Peerless Trout, Whitefish Lake and Woodland Cree first nations is signed by the province and the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council. (CBC)

Alberta has signed a deal with a group of First Nations in the hope of improving attendance and high school graduation rates.

Under the agreement, the province will help the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council make its curriculum more culturally relevant by including traditional skills such as hunting and fishing.

Alberta Education will also help the council to bolster literacy, math and science skills, including protecting the environment.

Education Minister David Eggen met with the chiefs of Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council to sign an agreement for the province's commitment to supporting aboriginal students and schools. A first of its kind in Alberta, the agreement is focused on helping to improve attendance and high school graduation rates. 0:56

The agreement will affect about 1,000 kindergarten to Grade 12 students from the Loon River, Lubicon Lake, Peerless Trout, Whitefish Lake and Woodland Cree First Nations in northern Alberta.

Attendance and high school graduation rates for First Nations students in Alberta are generally below the provincial average.

Education Minister David Eggen says the agreement, the first of its kind in the province, will serve as a framework for agreements with other First Nations.

"We want to ensure First Nations students have the instructional supports they need while receiving an education that reflects their rich culture and perspectives," Eggen said Thursday.

"Working together we can address education needs that are more meaningful to our communities and to our students."

Robert Grey, grand chief of the tribal council, said the agreement will help give their children the education they need to
build a successful future.