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Date: February 03, 2000

Members of Fourteen Manitoba First Nations Earn Early Childhood Education Certificates

The pursuit of post-secondary studies is difficult for residents of remote communities but a partnership between UVic's school of child and youth care and the Awasis Agency of Northern Manitoba makes it possible. Sixty-five students from 14 First Nations communities recently completed a two-year diploma program in early childhood education and were recognized at a special assembly in Thompson, Manitoba on Jan. 28. The students were taught by Awasis managers who were able to complete their UVic masters degrees in child and youth care in their communities by special arrangement with the school. They, in turn, flew into rural and isolated communities to deliver the program's courses.

The program, called "The Child Care Visions Initiative in Support of Community Wellness," provides an education relevant to strengthening a community's capacity to provide quality care for its children, youth and families. The program combines traditional knowledge and practices that reflect the students' communities with mainstream theory, research and practices in child development and care. Elders from five communities who assisted with the program were also acknowledged at the special assembly.

Four hundred students have enrolled in courses since the program began. Since they can remain in their community to study, the students are able to advance their education without disrupting their employment or their families. The program builds on a relationship that started in 1995 when UVic's school of child and youth care agreed to provide a master's program by special agreement for 17 family care workers in Thompson. Fourteen workers were with the Awasis agency, which delivers social services to remote reserve communities. UVic instructors flew into Thompson for several days at the beginning, middle and end of each term. The students completed their studies by using a fax, phone and email.

The students who completed the three-year program and received certificates are:

Barren Lands First Nation
Giselle Clarke
Deliah Cook
Glenda Merasty
Neila Merasty
Irene Michell

Pimichikamak Cree Nation
Candice Blacksmith
Florence McKay
Geraldine Ross
Vivian Scott
Lydia Smith
Darla Spence

Northlands First Nation
Theresa Denechezhe

Nisichawayasihk First Nation
Lorette Bonner
Judy Brightnose
Edith Linklater
Stella Linklater
Shirley Linklater
Teresa Linklater
Sandra Spence
Arlene Tait

Oxford House First Nation
Howard Grieves
Mina Munroe
Theresa Munroe
Yvette Munroe
Rosemary Sinclair

Red Sucker Lake First Nation
Bernadette Harper
Betsy Harper
Madeline Little
Rose Simms

Tataskweyak Cree Nation
Lilly Beardy
Beverley Flett
Deborah Garson
Mabel Garson

Garden Hill First Nation
Hazel Flett
Angela Keno
Bella Little
Elaine Little
Arlene McKay

Manto Sipi Cress Nation
Florence Okemow
Priscilla Ross
Arlene Watt

Norway House Cree Nation
Charlene Ducharme
Emma McDonald
Pamela Muminawatum
Madeleine Muskego

St. Theresa Point First Nation
Mary Harper
Pamela Harper
Rose Manoakeesick
Cecilia Mason
Elsie Mason
Karen Mason
Evelyn Monias
Rhonda Monias
Shirley Monias
Sophia Taylor
Deborah Wood
Janet Wood

Sayisi Dene First Nation
Sara Cheekie
Mary Thorassie

Thompson
Irene McKay
Annette Ross Kinley
Leona St. Denis

Wassagamach First Nation
Simone Andrews
Susan Harper
Arlene Knott
Cynthia Knott
Christine Mason
Lawrence Wood

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Media contacts:
Dr. Frances Ricks (child and youth care) at (250) 721-6143.

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