First Nations schools benefit from literacy funding from Indigo

Thursday, June 6th, 2024 10:34am


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Shelby Ch’ng, with the Matawa First Nations Education Department
By Sam Laskaris
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Eleven schools located in First Nations communities in Ontario and Alberta are among the latest recipients from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

These schools will collectively receive more than $300,000 in funding to purchase new books and literary resources.

This funding is part of the $1 million the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation is donating this year to more than 30 schools across the country.

“Libraries play an important role in student engagement,” said Shelby Ch’ng. She is the education partnership liaison for the Matawa First Nations Education Department based in Thunder Bay, Ont, which assists five First Nations schools. “Northern and remote school boards are underfunded and short on space.”

“Principals and school boards often have to make tough decisions between buying light bulbs for their gym or purchasing new books for their schools,” Ch’ng said. That’s why Love of Reading funding is very much welcomed.

“School staff do their best, but with grants like the Indigo Love of Reading grant, it will not only take the decision burden off the staff, but also go quite far with engaging students in a meaningful way,” said Ch’ng, who is also a Thunder Bay city councillor.

The Matawa First Nations Education Department is being awarded $90,000.

The Eenchokay Birchstick School located in Pikangikum, Ont. is getting $100,000 in funding.

The Kettle and Stony Point First Nation Education Services, based in southwestern Ontario, is receiving $50,000 in funding.

And Henry Coaster Memorial School in Ogoki, Ont. is getting $10,000.

First Nations recipients in Alberta are the Tsuut’ina Education Department and Kapawe’no First Nation Collegiate.

The Tsuut’ina Nation department, which will impact a pair of First Nations schools, is receiving $50,000.

And the Kapawe’no school, located in the hamlet of Grouard, is getting $10,000.

More than 10,000 students from across Canada are expected to benefit from the dollars the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation is donating this year.

Foundation officials had previously recognized the disproportionate need of literary resources in rural and remote communities.

But this year, the foundation adjusted the funding application process with the thought of increasing inclusivity and making funding more accessible to all.

This year’s funding recipients are considered more diverse than in previous years.

“Accessing culturally relevant and diverse texts is top of mind for this year’s educators,” said the foundation’s executive director Rose Lipton said.

“The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation is proud to partner with this incredible group of schools and educational organizations to help them realize their literacy goals and get more kids excited about reading.”

Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.