Lt.-Gov. trying to encourage native achievement

Fort Frances hosted a distinguished visitor on Friday when Ontario Lt.-Gov. James Bartleman met with members of the Rainy River District School Board to talk about how to improve native students’ achievement.
Lt.-Gov. Bartleman, a member of the Mnjikaning First Nation, heard a presentation about a pilot project that NOEL (Northern Ontario Education Leaders) is running to study aboriginal student achievement in Rainy River District.
“It was very helpful here today, getting some real expert views,” he said after the meeting.
“The Lt.-Gov. of Ontario has the same priorities for the success of aboriginal students as the partnership formed with Seven Generations and the Northern School Boards,” noted Warren Hoshizaki, director of education for the local public school board.
“We are pleased to work together,” he added.
Since being named Lt.-Gov., Bartleman has identified three key priorities for his mandate: to reduce the stigma of mental illness, to fight racism and discrimination, and to encourage aboriginal youth in scholastic achievement.
With this last aim in mind, he launched the highly-successful “Lieutenant-Governor’s Book Program” earlier this year.
So far, more than 1.2 million books have been donated from across the province to stock school libraries in First Nations communities in Northern Ontario.
“We’ve had such tremendous success [with the book program,] I want to see this move on to another phase,” he said.
Lt.-Gov. Bartleman said he is assembling “a coalition of interested organizations from across the province” to look into further improving achievement of aboriginal students in the north.
Some ideas he suggested were building libraries, getting bookmobiles, and twinning aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities to allow for learning on both sides.
“We’d like to pay the greatest attention, if possible, to fly-in communities who don’t have libraries,” Lt.-Gov. Bartleman noted.
While he said he would like to help First Nations across Ontario, for now the program will focus on Treaties #3, #5, and #9.