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Renewed Relationship on Education Between The Manitoba Government and Manitoba Métis Federation

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), the national government of the Red River Métis, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Manitoba government on education.

A memorandum of understanding is an agreement between parties outlined in a formal document. Although not legally binding, it signals a willingness between parties to move forward on a contract and a potential starting point for negotiations. 

Announced by Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko and MMF Minister of Provincial Education Joan Ledoux, the memorandum of understanding is a commitment to developing a long-term distinctions-based education strategy to improve the education outcomes of Red River Métis and all Manitoba students. 

“Much of the effort to restore the promises made to our Ancestors in 1870 is being done through the education of our youth,” said Minister Ledoux. “Creating pathways to education and economic stability for Red River Métis citizens helps lift families out of poverty and creates a brighter future for our people and all Manitobans. We look forward to renewing our relationship with the Manitoba government and building on the MMF’s successes in this area.”

This strategy will include a Red River Métis Education Working Group consisting of individuals appointed by ministers Ledoux and Ewasko and invite key education stakeholders, including the Indigenous Inclusion Directorate and its advisory council, Manitoba School Boards Association, Manitoba Association of School Superintendents and The Manitoba Teachers’ Society to participate. 

The strategy will also include the following:

  • educational and other supports for cultural learning, 
  • overall academic success, 
  • transition into the workforce or post-secondary education, 
  • data analysis, 
  • best practices and policy development, 
  • along with additional research to improve outcomes for Red River Métis learners,

This is one of many commitments by the MMF to ensure support for Métis students at all levels of education.

In January 2018, MMF and the University of Winnipeg signed a ten-year MOU. In 2019-2020, the university prepared a research report on Early Development Instrument (EDI) and Métis education. An EDI is a questionnaire that measures Kindergarten children’s readiness for school across several areas of child development and how a group of children and doing compared to children in other communities or provinces. 

The study was to determine how Métis children fare on the EDI compared to non-Métis children and examined the performance by EDI domain, sex, and region. This report showed that although Manitoba generally faired poorer than the rest of Canada in EDI scores, over one-third of Métis children were developmentally vulnerable. Further research is being conducted focusing on increasing tutoring resources and plans to develop education centres in each region to support Métis students. Another partnership was with the University of Manitoba (U of M). This partnership ensured there was Métis Inclusion Coordinator on campus.

In June 2019, MMF’s Provincial Education Department submitted recommendations to Manitoba’s Commission on K-12 Education on improving the education of Métis students and promoting the awareness of Métis people, culture, and history in Manitoba. These recommendations included:

  • To use the MMF/U of W research on educational outcomes to guide interventions for Métis students,
  • Cease the pan-Indigenous approach to education and focus on more distinction-based strategies for Métis students,
  • Mandatory professional development for Manitoba teachers on Métis perspectives,
  • Mandatory Métis content in the curriculum from K-12,
  • Consultations between the provincial government and the MMF,
  • Accountability from the provincial government concerning the Aboriginal Academic Achievement Grant they receive from the federal government,
  • Support from the provincial government for programs that support Métis student success.

Other ways the MMF is committed to improving education for Métis students include the Post-Secondary Education Financial Support System (PSESP), financial aid and awards, a blueprint for the Indigenous education steering committee, and a relationship with the Fortier School Division. 

Sources:

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural

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