It was a year in the making and today, the Joint Task Force on Improving First Nations and Metis Education and Employment released its final report.

It is an 83-page document with 25 recommendations — all of them aimed at closing the economic gap between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals in Saskatchewan.

The task force outlines three principles that are common throughout the report: dignified mutual relationships between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals; poverty reduction and the prevalence of racism; and recognizing First Nations and Metis culture and languages.

It is also calling on the provincial government to proclaim First nations and Metis languages as the original languages of the province.

The report says more money should be spent on early childhood learning,  and elders should play an important role in teaching values and traditional skills.

On the issue of poverty, the task force says Saskatchewan has a broad, but piecemeal,  approach involving far too many organizations and institutions.

It is calling for a made-in-Saskatchewan action plan with targets and time frames to deal with the issue of poverty.

Aboriginal people living off reserves are four times more likely to be living in poverty than non-Aboriginals.

The task force report concludes there is an urgency and an imperative to grasp this opportunity and to listen to the voices of the communities.

More than 1,000 participants took part in 83 meetings to provide input for the report.

While there is no cost associated to the recommendations, the government has already set aside $3 million in the March budget to implement some of them.

A lot also falls on the federal government, which is being called on to increase Metis and First Nations education funding by about 30%.