Matawa's education department manager Murray L. Waboose said the three-day conference is about planning for the future.
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Education is a critical issue for all communities in the Matawa traditional territory, says the area's Ring of Fire negotiator.
Bob Rae, also the former Liberal leader, was the keynote speaker Wednesday morning during Day 2 of Matawa First Nations' three-day education forum at the Valhalla Inn.
Rae said education is key for any economic development, not just the Ring of Fire, because people need to be ready for jobs.
"As we start with better education, more people have access to training and more people have access to jobs and better incomes," he said.
There are many issues that need to be addressed from early childhood education to getting broadband into First Nation communities and improving the governance of education.
Those will all lead to better results and as Matawa and the province grow closer to a framework agreement for the Ring of Fire, Rae said they can move forward on that project and have a chance to really talk about the education system and other issues that affect people directly.
Matawa education department manager Murray L. Waboose said they're at a crossroads right now having operated under a strategic plan for the last five years and looking to develop a new strategic plan for the next five years.
"Within that vision, we'll also look at how we can utilize the opportunities within the mining sector and also plan accordingly - look at how we can target our post-secondary students to have access to not just jobs within the resource sector, but also professional jobs, trades jobs," said Waboose.
They're also hoping to build relationships with industrial partners and institutions to improve scholarship programs.
"Looking forward, planning for the future - that's what this conference is ultimately about," said Waboose.
"This is a starting point to renew our five-year plan but work with the communities in a more direct and sophisticated (way)...We want the best for our students."
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