Aboriginal Student Achievement

Ministers' Statements and Speeches

February 8, 2011 - The Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Jackson Lafferty, highlighted the recent work on the Aboriginal Student Achievement initiative.


Mr. Speaker, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment is pleased to share news about its Aboriginal Student Achievement initiative that focuses on increasing the accomplishments of Aboriginal students across the Northwest Territories.

The initiative’s long-term goal is developing and implementing a territorial education plan to help eliminate the achievement gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. Helping these students achieve success in their studies is one of the ways that the Government of the Northwest Territories is working to fulfill this Assembly’s goal of healthy, educated people.

The Aboriginal Student Achievement Working Group was established in April 2009. Partners included Aurora College, District Education Councils, Aboriginal Organizations, the Northwest Territories Literacy Council, the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association, the Native Women’s’ Association and the Departments of Justice and Health and Social Services.

The Working Group helped direct the Initiative’s focus and developed the following priorities:

  • early childhood and child care;

  • student and family support;

  • literacy; and

  • Aboriginal language curriculum and resource development.


To date, we have held regional forums in four regions. The first took place in the Sahtu from September 28th to 30th. The next was in the Tlicho region from November 17th to 19th. In January, two regional forums took place. From the 5th to 7th we visited the Dehcho, and from the 18th to 20th, Dettah hosted the Yellowknife Forum. The last two forums take place in the Beaufort Delta and South Slave regions in April.

The Sahtu meeting went well and we had a great turnout. Many community and regional leaders attended all three days of discussions. The level of engagement from participants was outstanding. Support for building community connections was a common theme.

The Tlicho meeting was also well attended with the addition of youth participating from the different communities. These bright, young minds who are our future leaders showed their deep understanding of the issues discussed. They spoke for their communities and peers with eloquence.

Youth involvement in the Dehcho meeting saw a strong focus on increasing Aboriginal languages and culture in the education system. Margaret Thom, a community counsellor and educator with the Fort Providence School, provided an inspirational key note address that reinforced the significance of traditional teachings.

For the Akaitcho region, we could not have asked for a better location to host the meeting. The Chief Drygreese Government Building in Dettah provided the perfect environment for this unique forum that saw three school boards coming together to talk about bettering our education system. Communication was a major theme at this forum. Delegates agreed that steps need to be taken to improve communications amongst all education partners.

Community forums held on the third day of meetings gave special attention to action at the local level. Community Aboriginal leaders and educators identified education issues and developed plans of action. Attendees made a commitment to start moving on plans and working towards short-term goals.

In addition to these regional forums, the Department is also supporting an attendance project in each community in the territory. Funding is $10,000 per community, and is matched by funds from the education authority or other partners.

We intend to keep Members informed of the progress of both the regional forums and the attendance projects as the work continues and plan to table a preliminary report during the next session of this Assembly.

Masi, Mr. Speaker.





For more information, contact:

Press Secretary
Office of the Premier/Cabinet
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 669-2302