Around 30 protesters braved -20 C temperatures in Fort Smith, N.W.T Saturday afternoon to express their opposition to proposed cuts in the 2017 N.W.T territorial budget.

Demonstrators felt that the cuts would be felt especially keenly in the small community, where 20-30 students and several teachers would be lost at the Aurora College campus.

"They are major contributors to our community," Chris Westwell, who helped organize the march following the news late Friday that the teacher training and social work programs at the college were at risk of being cut.

"They have children who go to our schools, they shop here for groceries, they live in our apartments. It's a huge program for our community. It's been here for 47 years."


It was cold, but that didn't stop people from gathering in Fort Smith to share their displeasure with proposed budget cuts in the Northwest Territories. (Jimmy Thomson/CBC)

Students marching expressed their dismay at the loss of the teacher training program. They say it helps ensure students in the North have teachers who understand the cultural context — and will stay in their communities after they graduate.

"We need to have northern role models," said marcher Karen Lepine McFeeters. "We need to have people who are going to identify, and who are going to stay here."