17 Seskéha/August 2020
The Kahnawà:ke Combined School Committee (KCSC) and the Kahnawà:ke Education Center (KEC) are shocked and dismayed at the recent passing of Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton.
Joe has always been a staunch supporter of education and language. He demonstrated his commitment working with parents protecting Kahnawà:ke’s right to self-determination and control over our own education. In 1978, he supported education reps and parents in strongly opposing Bill 101, resulting in the establishment of Kahnawà:ke Survival School. In July of 1983, Joe, along with other MCK chiefs, signed a resolution mandating KEC to administer quality educational services, under the authority of the KCSC. In doing so, Joe understood and recognized that parents and community should be the voice for education, rather than a political body.
As a result, the KCSC Constitution and KERA evolved and remain a highly recognized and enviable model of how educational services and governance can be administered within an Indigenous controlled education system.
Joe had a deep interest in seeing MCK and the KEC system have a good working relationship for the continued support of our students, parents, and community. He continued to support education through language promotion and support, connecting our education system with language resources and keeping abreast of the current trends in education.
On behalf of the Kahnawà:ke Education Center and the Kahnawà:ke Combined School Committee, we sincerely wish to extend our deepest condolences to Grand Chief Joe Norton’s entire family.