Prince George, B.C., school trustees unanimous in call for Indigenous members

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PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — School trustees in Prince George, B.C., have voted unanimously to support the addition of two Indigenous trustees to the board.

District 57 will now send a letter of support to the education ministry and other provincial officials who have the authority to make the change.

The chief of the Lheidli T’enneh, Dayi Clayton Pountney, asked 18 months ago to have one of the seven school trustees elected by members of the First Nation.

The McLeod Lake Indian Band joined that request in September.

A precedent for the proposal has been in place since 2018 when the education ministry created a ward system within School District 57.

It allowed voters from the Robson Valley and Mackenzie regions to elect trustees specifically from those areas.

At the time the McLeod Lake Band presented its request for a dedicated trustee, Pountney said it was the only way Indigenous students could receive necessary support.

"The community is starting to listen," he said Tuesday as the board confirmed its unanimous support.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2020.

— With files from CKPG and the Prince George Citizen

The Canadian Press