Four Saanich Peninsula band chiefs will sit on Canada’s first Indian school board, it was announced Thursday at a meeting in the East Saanich Reserve community hall.
The new board will run Tsartlip day school on West Saanich Road.
The chiefs – Phil Paul (Tsartlip), Gabriel Pelkey (Tsawout), Don Williams (Pauquachin), and Sandy Jones (Teycum) – will make up an interim board along with Victor Underwood Jr., Gus Bill, Marie Cooper and Tom Sampson.
The four bands formed the Saanich Indian Education Association two years ago when they learned the federal government planned to phase out Tsartlip school as Indian education became a provincial responsibility.
“We are certainly not satisfied with the direction Indian education has been going in the peninsula,” said Phil Paul.
“We have only had about half a dozen Indian people graduate from Grade 12 in 20 years. It may be even less.
“This is particularly discouraging when you consider we have a basically young population.”
The resolution declaring the Indians’ intention to set up the board and run the school was presented to Victor Janzen, district superintendent of Indian education on Vancouver Island.