Nibinamik school's years-long fundraiser still short of funds needed for Toronto trip

The students of Nibinamik Education Centre have been fundraising for their year-end trip for three years since it was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic. Now they're $20,000 short of their fundraising goal.

Teacher hopes trip will help students discover interests, opportunities

Grade 7/8 students from Nibinamik Education Centre (Dave Mossman)

For the past three years, students in Nibinamik have been fundraising for a year end-trip — an adventure parents and educators say could expand their horizons.

Nibinamik is an Oji-Cree community roughly 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont., accessible only by plane or winter road, with a population of approximately 300 people.

The trip to Toronto was initially planned for 2020 but they were forced to postpone due to the pandemic.

Emily Oskineegish, whose granddaughter is a student at Nibinamik Education Centre, said she's contributed to bake sales and a flea market to help raise the funds for her granddaughter to go on the trip.

"Education is important. It's very important to learn about their future," she said.

The school is still $20,000 short of their $60,000 goal for the trip planned for June, according to their GoFundMe page.

David Mossman, a teacher organizing the trip, is originally from Thunder Bay.

LISTEN | Dave Mossman discusses fundraising efforts:

It's a next level school fundraiser, one their teachers say could make a huge difference for kids from a remote First Nation. Hear more about an effort to get a group of Grade 7/8 students from Nibinamik on a plane to Toronto this spring.

Mossman said although there are cultural experiences in the community such as land-based learning and Oji-Cree immersion, it's important to show students the career options available to them after secondary and post-secondary school.

Nibinamik Education Centre students sporting Blue Jays gear as a fundraiser for the trip. They hope to take in a Jay's game while they're in Toronto. (Dave Mossman)

"Right now, none of our kids are thinking, 'Oh, I could be an actor one day or I could work at an aquarium'… They just think all [their] opportunities, or the only jobs [they] can get are either working for the band office or working at the store or the nursing station," said Mossman.

The trip for Grade 7 and 8 students would include Toronto destinations like the Royal Ontario Museum, the Ontario legislature at Queen's Park, the Science Centre and Ripley's Aquarium, as well as a visit to Niagara Falls.

Principal Kevin Booth encourages the trip.

"It's both educational and recreational for them," he said.

"Maybe it inspires them to further their education; maybe they discover something in these visits that interests them to follow as they go through high school and post-secondary."


Candace Maracle is Wolf Clan from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University. She is a laureate of The Hnatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. Her latest film, a micro short, Lyed Corn with Ash (Wa’kenenhstóhare’) is completely in the Kanien’kéha language.