The Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division is launching a pilot project aimed at increasing Indigenous graduation rates and make the school experience more comfortable and satisfying.
The Mijo Machihowin Academy is a Cree wellness centre for Indigenous grade nine students at E-D Feehan High School.
It will offer an after school fitness program twice a week and five classes including English with Indigenous content and Cultural Arts.
The teacher and consultant overseeing the program believes the academy will help the students make a smoother transition to a new and sometimes intimidating environment.
Kendra Weenie says the fundamental goals are to increase the Indigenous graduation and attendance rates and make First Nations students feel better and more comfortable in the high school environment.
She says the academy was created as part of a call for action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to provide free opportunities for Indigenous youth.
Weenie feels she would have had a more confident start to high school if the academy had been available when she entered grade nine