Announcing the Retirement of Lorne C. Keeper
With mixed emotions, we announce the upcoming retirement of Executive Director Lorne C. Keeper, effective June 15, 2020.
Lorne has enjoyed a lifelong career serving in First Nations education. He started his first teaching job in 1975 in Nelson House. Lorne then moved to Alberta and Thompson, where he worked with Keewatin Community College as the Executive Director. He joined MFNERC as the Director of Service Delivery in 2000 and then served as the Executive Director of MFNERC starting in July 2002.
As a leader in this organization for the past 20 years, we would like to honour Lorne for his vision and direction in advancing the quality of First Nations education. Under his guidance, MFNERC gained its strong financial foundation, upon which we’ve seen expansion of our services for First Nations. Lorne has seen the staff steadily grow from a handful of specialists to a team of over 400, including the addition of a Publishing Unit, Research and Development Department, and Clinical Services. Most notably, under Lorne’s oversight, MFNERC established the first-ever First Nations school system in Canada, the Manitoba First Nations School System (MFNSS).
Lorne connects the growth of MFNERC to the ongoing movement among First Nations to take back control of education. This advancement is a testament to leaders of the past, particularly with “WABUNG: Our Tomorrows,” a position paper put forward by the Chiefs of Manitoba in the early 1970s.
Lorne believes the key to the Centre’s success is that it has never been a top-down organization. “Our work is grassroots, we don’t go into the communities and say this is what you have to do. You tell us what you want to do and we will help you. In any system, the focus of control has to lie within the community. The way we provide service is we build capacity. In order to control our own destiny, we need to prepare for it.”
Please join us in celebrating Lorne’s contributions and service to MFNERC and MFNSS, and in wishing him a well-earned retirement.