Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand said this school is helping to correct historical wrongs for the future generation.
“It’s what we have been missing on this whole line about equality,” Arcand said. “We can talk about residential schools, the dark history about taking the Indian out of the Indian but this school is going to put the Indian back in the Indian.”
Arcand said many Indigenous students lose their cultural values and language while attending other Saskatchewan schools.
“When we put this school up, we are going to see a change in people and the kids living a quality of life because their identity is found. It’s the gift of the child that we have to focus on and it’s the gift of the child that was taken away.”
St. Frances Cree Bilingual School was in need of a new space after an explosion in enrolment levels.
The new space is expected to allow for 600 students, pre-kindergarten to Grade 9, and 70 child care spaces.
Arcand mentioned on Monday that he thinks so many families will want to send their children to the school for its teachings, that there might not be enough space.
Greater Saskatoon Catholic School division board chair Diane Boyko said she hopes the school will foster students from a wellness and spiritual perspective.
“They will have a place that they will recognize as their home. Their language, their culture, their identity will be celebrated and that within the building itself that they have the opportunity to be the best that they can be,” Boyko said.
She said the school will have a steam lab, spaces for elders, performance spaces and a medicines lab.
The provincial government is investing $45.9 million in the project.