A big announcement for the Circle Of Indigenous Nations Society. The organization was successful in their application for an Aboriginal Head Start Program in Grand Forks. COINS was initially left out of the top 12 applicants but received a call in January when they were let in. Executive Director Kris Salikin says they recently received approval to start building.

She says 10 years of operational cost funding are covered by Aboriginal Head Start:

“It’ll really help to sustain the childcare centre there and it’s really my hope that they’ll continue with further funding after the 10 years, but yeah 10 years will be fantastic for those families and children living in the Grand Forks and area.”

Salikin says that means free childcare services for those who take part:

“It’s for Indigenous families so indigenous parents need to be either working, looking for work, or going to school, and so those childcare services will be available to them free of charge.”

The program offers 24 child care spaces including eight infant/toddler and 16 three to five year old spaces. School District 51 has also offered COINS land for the establishment on Grand Forks Secondary School’s premises.

She adds they hope to open in December.

“We’ll probably be breaking grounds sometime in August so there will be a ceremony around that, and we expect to open the doors around the beginning of December so that’s the hope as long as the planning goes as planned, and there will definitely be an opening and a ceremony for the community.”

Salikan says the response from Grand Forks was overwhelming. The two story structure will feature office spaces and a gathering space for traditional ceremonies on the first floor, with a modular home specific to the childcare centre on the 2nd floor.