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In 1993, the Yunesit’in Esgul (School) was built without a gymnasium due to lack of available funds. Community members would have to drive 1½ hours to Williams Lake, BC to use the recreational centre for a variety of activities.

The new gymnasium will serve as a sports centre for the school’s students, and as a community gathering place for meetings, cultural events and emergency management. In addition to contributing to the overall health and wellness of the community, the building of the Yunesit’in gymnasium has provided economic and employment opportunities for its members.

Indigenous Services Canada invested $4.1 million in the project.

Quotes

"Congratulations to the Yunesit’in Government on the opening of your new gymnasium. You have created a beautiful and inspiring space where students and community members alike can come to gather, feast and learn for generations to come. Indigenous Services Canada is pleased to have partnered with you to help make your vision a reality."

The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Indigenous Services

"As a community, we are delighted that this project is fully constructed. It was conceived in the fall of 2012. We were adamant that the gym could be built from our own community, just as the school was built by Yunesit’in members. We received support in building up a training program, the First Nations Construction Industry Education, to encourage community members to attain skills in carpentry and trades, and expose trainees to the workplace. A duplex was built largely by trainees to harness the skills in advance of building the gym. For many of us, there is excitement for and from the children, enthusiasm from the generation who grew up without a school gym, and eagerness by the community to use the facility for sports and community events. We are proud as there were so many people that had a hand in building the gym."

Quick Facts Yunesit’in Government is one of six First Nations that make up the Tsilhqot’in National Government.

The community is located west of Williams Lake in the central interior of British Columbia, with about 230 of 480 members living on reserve.

As part of a long-term strategy to improve education infrastructure in First Nations communities across Canada, Budget 2016 invested $969.4 million over five years for the construction, repair and maintenance of First Nations school facilities.

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SOURCE Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

For further information: media may contact: Rachel Rappaport, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, 819-934-2796; Media Relations, Indigenous Services Canada, 819-953-1160

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