THE federal government is taking the decision about education away from Lake St. Martin out of concern for the First Nation's children.
On Tuesday, a day after reports a Winnipeg building used as a school for displaced flood victims was shut for fire code violations, Ottawa made it clear the students will be enrolled in the public school system.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development said in a statement Ottawa acted as a final resort through sheer necessity.
"Our priority is ensuring that the First Nations students are able to continue with their education," the statement said. "Given the exceptional circumstances, the Minister has directed the department to offer whatever assistance is required by the province and the First Nation in order to minimize any disruption to the students' schooling."
Families for an estimated 85 students from kindergarten to Grade 9 were told classes were suspended this week because of the problems with the building. The First Nation hopes it can convince the federal government to change its mind and reopen the school next week, after repairs are done.
Education since the 2011 flood evacuation has been a problem for the First Nation. The chief and council have insisted on setting up their own school in Winnipeg as a way of maintaining community, cultural and language ties but have had problems finding classrooms.
Ottawa told the community's leaders the problems were interrupting the students' schooling. They plan to enrol the students in schools across Winnipeg.
Other First Nations with school-aged evacuees in Winnipeg reported Tuesday they haven't had problems getting their kids into schools, and certainly nothing like the problems experienced by Lake St. Martin students.