Meadow Lake Tribal Council – Best Practices during COVID-19
Posted on June 12, 2023
Heather Merasty is the Senior Director of Education at the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC). She talked about the history and goals of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. Since 1981, it has grown from 10 employees with a budget of $150,000 to over 300 employees and a budget of $55 million in 2017. It is located in the northwest part of the province and includes Cree and Dene linguistic groups under Treaties 6, 8 and 10. So there’s a number of things that the Meadow Lake tribal council provides and supports to its First Nations. The mission of MLTC is to equip First Nations children and youth to be able walk successfully in both worlds. It is a federally incorporated board. Chief and Council from each community appoints a person to be a director on the board which meets quarterly, and which also holds an annual general meeting. The MLTC supports nine schools which range from 100 to 350 students and which have altogether over 2400 students. All the schools with the exception of one offer educational programming from nursery school to grade 12. On March 16, 2020, MLTC offices were ordered to shut down and employees were told to work from home. Some schools were trying to provide secondary learning packages and MLTC was continuing to provide support for those schools that requested it. It developed a Return to School Plan that offered three options: in person schooling, virtual online learning and a blended approach. Each community will decide its own approach and its own start date. MLTC will help schools to acquire laptops and devices as well as train teachers. Even with the stress and anxiety surrounding the re-opening of schools, Ms. Merasty sees the better collaboration between different First Nations agencies as one of the small blessings have emerged from the pandemic.