Thunder Bay

First Nations students in Thunder Bay get special welcome

A total of 300 high school students, who left their remote First Nations communities to attend school in Thunder Bay, were treated to a special orientation event today in the city.

Police, city and First Nations officals organize orientation event for high school students.

Keeshtin Fiddler is a Grade 12 student from Sandy Lake First Nation, who attended the orientation session in Thunder Bay. (Cathy Alex )

A total of 300 high school students, who have left their remote First Nations communities to attend class in Thunder Bay, were treated to a special orientation event today in the city. 

The workshop was organized by Nishnawbe Aski Nation in partnership with the City of Thunder Bay.  

NAN Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic said education is becoming increasingly important to native people. 

He said the goal of today's event was to give students the information they need to succeed at school, and stay safe in the city.  

Kakegamic said that's why organizers invited representatives from a variety of police forces, service agencies and community groups.

"The greatest challenge we're going to ever have, as we move forward, is tolerance and understanding. And it's so overwhelming to see various organizations and Thunder Bay services come and show what they have to offer," said Kakegamic.

Keeshtin Fiddler is a Grade 12 student from Sandy Lake First Nation.

He said he found the information booths very helpful.  

He said he's having trouble completing the mandatory 40 hours of community service he needs in order to graduate, and he was pleased to find someone who could offer him advice and make suggestions.

Fiddler also said he appreciated the comments of guest speakers, like Kakegamic.

He said they did a good job explaining how rules and expectations in the city differ from those back in his home community. 

"It is a big transition. I've been here for three years and I still, like, there are some things that I would do in the rez, that I can't do over here and it's important that people know what's appropriate here," said Fiddler.

On Saturday, an orientation event for Aboriginal post-secondary students and their families takes place at Marina Park from noon to 5pm. Canadian writer and educator Wab Kinew will be the keynote speaker.