Nisga’a School District celebrates forty years of impacting Aboriginal education in Canada

The  creation  of  School  District  92  on  January  1,  1976,  was  a historic event for native education in Canada. It occurred as a result of one hundred years of effort by the Nisgha  people to  gain  control  over  their  educational  destiny.  Very early after  their  contact  with the European  culture the Nisghas  realized  that  it  was  essential  to  understand  the white man’s  ways  in  order  to  deal  with  him  successfully.  Therefore,  in  conjunction  with  their Land  Claim  Settlement,  the Nisghas  pressed  for  their  own  school  system  –  to allow their children to be educated in a bilingual‐bicultural environment.

As a result of their efforts, a new school district was created by the province of B.C. for the Nisgha People. Initially, the Board consisted of Mr. Alvin A. McKay. Through his efforts, in consultation  with  leaders  from  Kincolith,  Greenville,  Canyon  City,  Aiyansh  and  Nass Camp, schools were built in three villages and five group homes (student residences) were built in Aiyansh in 1976. During 1977 School Trustees were elected from the five villages.

On January 19, the 2016 Nisga’a School District Board of Education passed a motion to honour  and thank the visionary Nisga’a leaders who accomplished this unique and historically important development by kicking off a year long 40  Anniversary Celebration. Elders, students,  schools,  guests  and  all  our  communities  will  be  invited  to  join district  employees  in  celebration  events  throughout  the  year,  culminating  in  a  major Celebration next fall.

In acknowledging  this  historic  milestone  the  Board  of  Education  also  committed  to return  to  a  focus  on  the  Foundation  Educational  Philosophy  of  the  Elders  of  the Nisga’a Nation, which stated:

Ts’im gan wilaak’ils wil luu sgihl gandidils

“ Within one’s search for knowledge (education),
therein one will find the true meaning of life”

Media Contact: Mr. Peter Leeson, Board Chair.
Credits: Original 1976 Nisgha School District Pamphlet

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