A second Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement (AEEA) for the Gold Trail school district has been signed in a ceremony held at a unique outdoor theatre.
Chief Tetlenitsa Theatre, where the Nicola and Thompson rivers meet in Spences Bridge, provided a dramatic backdrop for the celebration. With a design influenced by the traditional structure of an Interior Salish pit house, the theatre proved a perfect setting for a ceremony celebrating past and future.
As well as encouraging student achievement, AEEAs provide opportunities to explore an area’s unique culture. Gold Trail features a program called the Summit Project that takes the learning of Biology 12 and Geography 11 outdoors. Students learn from and with the land and are supported in their learning by local elders.
The Gold Trail school district is located on the traditional territory of the Nlakápamux, Secwépemc, and St’át’imc peoples that represent 19 First Nations. Close to 60 per cent of the total number of students in the district self-identify as Aboriginal.
AEEAs are five-year agreements to enhance the education of Aboriginal learners through programs and actions that promote academic success, positive self-esteem and cultural awareness.
The first Gold Trail AEEA was signed in 2005 by all 19 area bands. The Aboriginal Nations Education Council has dedicated three years of consultation and dialogue to the creation of this second Agreement. To date, 53 districts have signed AEEAs.