Dene Nation and the Mastercard Foundation announced a $170,000 partnership that will enable Indigenous students in the North to access education.

Grade 12 Indigenous students who lack connectivity in their homes will now have internet access and schools in communities will be provided with devices such as Turbo Sticks and Chromebooks. These devices will be loaned to families to access education online and to provide educational resources when school resumes in the Fall. Data plans and technical support will also be offered as part of this initiative.

Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya noted that education is fundamental for the future of Dene youth and that he applauds the Mastercard Foundation for taking an innovative approach to addressing the needs of Dene communities.

“The battle against COVID-19 has far reaching impacts for our communities and it is critical we support our most vulnerable with the resources they need. COVID-19 is causing school closings, and the lack of connectivity in homes in the North has further complicated access to education for Indigenous students. For many students, school is not only a place of learning but a safe place where their teachers, classmates, and staff provide support for their health and mental wellness.”

This partnership will also create economic opportunities for post-secondary Indigenous students to develop land-based and cultural resources that will be shared across the territory.

Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation noted that they are very pleased to partner with the Dene Nation in enabling learning to continue despite the disruption experienced by communities.

“We can build resilience for the future by providing young people and families with the tools they need to ensure they have access to education, including education that values their language and culture.”