Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.

Thunderbird School on O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation roof collapses leaving 234 students with no school


For immediate release

April 4th, 2023


O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation, Treaty 5 Territory-The community of O-Pip-On-Na-Piwin is facing yet another challenge this week after the roof of the Thunderbird School collapsed over the Easter weekend.
The weight of the heavy, wet snow proved to be too much for the roof.
Engineers are on their way to the community this evening and will be on site Tuesday to assess the damage according to Chief Shirley Ducharme. As of this evening it is not known how long the community will be without a school.

“The large amount of snowfall this winter caused the roof of our school to collapse,” said Ducharme. “The high winds lifted the sheet metal and left the roof bare which concerns us because with freezing rain forecasted for the area it could cause further damage to our school.” “We have been in need of repairs to our school for some time and this certainly doesn’t help matters,” she added.

The community recently declared a State of Emergency and MKO is assisting the First Nation with getting the community a new school. “It seems when it rains it pours sometimes,” said MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “We have already set the wheels in motion to assist in getting the community a new school. The existing one is now almost fifty years old.”

The community has an educational agreement with the Frontier School Division. Any questions regarding the status of the staff of the school are to be directed to Division Superintendent, Mr. Reg Klassen at (204) 775-9741.


For more information:

Philip Paul-Martin

Communications Officer

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak


Email:[email protected]