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StrongStart BC Focuses on First Nations Culture and Traditions

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In 2006 the first StrongStart BC center opened to provide free early learning services for parents and their young children, and a new center is scheduled to open in September at the Nisga’a School District.

“We are excited to open our first StrongStart BC Outreach program in the district,” Nisga’a board of education chair Peter Leeson said in the release. “This is a wonderful opportunity to provide support to families and their young children while embracing the beautiful Nisga’a culture by weaving Nisga’a language and practices into the curriculum.”

Nisga’a, or People of the Nass River, have lived on British Columbia’s northwest coast “since time immemorial,” says the nation’s website. It also notes that the nation’s language, or Ayuuk, and culture are the foundation of their identity.

The StrongStart BC at Nisga’a will provide service to families living in Gingolx, Laxgalts’ap and Gitwinksilkw, and is one of 10 opening this year.

“Over the last five years, we have seen the StrongStart BC program grow from 12 pilot projects to 316 programs across the province, with another 10 opening this September,” Minister of Education George Abbott said in a press release. “We are committed to the expansion of this valuable program and are focused on communities with the greatest need for support of children and their families.”

Nisga’a School District will receive $52,000 for the StrongStart BC center: $20,000 for transportation for the mobile program and the remainder for the first year’s operating costs.