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Harper Government Invests in the Renovation of the Elementary Schools in the Atikamekw Communities of Manawan and Opitciwan

Rehabilitation of school infrastructure for Atikamekw youth

February 12, 2015 – Ottawa, ON – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, announced today the completion of major renovations at the Simon P. Ottawa elementary school in Manawan and the Niska elementary school in Opitciwan. The work will provide Atikamekw students with a healthy and safe learning environment.

The Government of Canada continues to take concrete steps to create the conditions for more prosperous, self-sufficient First Nation communities. Investing in First Nations elementary and secondary students, and jobs and skills training for youth will lead to their greater participation in the economy, healthier First Nation communities, and a stronger Canada.

The Government of Canada firmly believes First Nations students deserve a quality education, like every other Canadian. That is why our Government has invested almost $1.4 million to improve the Simon P. Ottawa school infrastructure and $1.2 million for the Niska school infrastructure.

In 2014–2015, our Government invested $33.8 million in Quebec on-reserve infrastructure projects. Of this amount, over $5.5 million was spent on schools. We continue to invest in infrastructure projects in order to increase the number of jobs as well as participation from all regions to Canada’s economy.

Quick facts

  • In Manawan, the work involved renovating the gym annex, rehabilitating the building envelope and replacing the windows in the pre-kindergarten section. The goal of the work was to upgrade the infrastructure and extend its useful life.
  • In Opitciwan, along with re-roofing work, the same renovations we’re made as in Manawan. The renovations took place between August 2014 and December 2014.
  • Located 120 kilometres west of La Tuque and 72 kilometres north of Saint-Michel-des-Saints, the Atikamekw community of Manawan has 2,588 members, 2,212 of whom live on-reserve.
  • The Simon P. Ottawa elementary school has about 445 students, from pre‑kindergarten to sixth grade.
  • Located on the northern shore of the Gouin Reservoir, 143 km south of Chibougamau and 217 km northwest of La Tuque, the Atikamekw community of Opitciwan has 2,744 members, 2,255 of whom live on-reserve.
  • The Niska elementary school has about 460 students, from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade.


“Our government is committed to supporting key projects that allow Aboriginal people to fully benefit from our country’s economic prosperity. An education in a quality learning environment and the academic success of First Nation peoples contribute to this vision. We are proud to support this infrastructure project for the First Nations of Manawa and Opitciwan so that, together, we can ensure that students have access to a quality learning environment.”

– Bernard Valcourt,
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

“We would like to first acknowledge the contribution your government has made to the recapitalization work on our elementary school, Simon P. Ottawa. In Manawan, every student’s education and education success is a priority; this area is extremely important and fundamental to the development and advancement of our people, our Nation and our community. We must do everything we can to focus our efforts on improving our infrastructures, increasing our capacities and improving our skills. Let us build our future together.”

– Jean-Roch Ottawa,
Chief of the Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawa

“The Opitciwan Atikamekw Council wishes to thank the Government of Canada and AANDC for its contribution under the infrastructure maintenance program for renovation work at the Niska school.”

Christian Awashish,
Chief of the Opitciwan Atikamekw Council

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Emily Hillstrom
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

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