2024 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Gathering

 

Kinship Relations for Student Success

April 24 – 26, 2024
Fantasyland Hotel, Edmonton
Treaty 6 Territory

Delegates should make their reservation by March 19, 2024, applying the Group Code 9482787. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at (780) 444-3000 or toll-free at 1-800-737-3783.

REGISTER NOW
Cost: $655.00 includes GST
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RESOURCES

CASS resources to support your learning in this area include: Guide to Relationships and Learning with the Indigenous Peoples of Alberta; eleadership guides, Establishing and Maintaining Respectful Relationships for Student Success: Education Service Agreements and Improving Success for Indigenous Students; and Learning Guide – A Virtual Circle with Elders.

Disclaimer: Any other non-CASS resources being shared at this conference are intended for consideration and informational purposes only. Delegates are encouraged to exercise judgment and discretion when utilizing these resources, and to respect the authority of their school divisions regarding resource selection.

ROUND DANCE PRE-CONFERENCE

Scheduled for 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, 2024, Gathering delegates will have an opportunity to experience a Round Dance and learn about its related teachings. Round Dance is the embodiment of relationships and connections, in keeping with the Gathering theme: Kinship Relations for Student Success.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Opening Keynote

Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan

Thursday Morning Keynote

Elder Adelaide (Dolly) Creighton and Elder Wilton Good Striker

Banquet Keynote

Cadmus Delorme

Closing Keynote

Elder Lynda Minoose

Chief Billy Joe Laboucan believes education is the key that enables members to gain foundational knowledge to further their future and careers. His inspiration to run for Chief are his ancestors; because he understands that they wanted persons to look after the land. Chief Billy Joe Laboucan has a great love for Little Buffalo and all of the people who live within the community. Chief Billy Joe Laboucan has been on council previously in the early 1980s. And was first voted in as Chief in 2013; he holds his position today. His role as Chief holds great importance to him, because he believes that when people work together it creates strength—It helps to build a strong community and healthy families. His goals for his current term are to see community members working together with renewed friendships, and to resolve the existing land claim. Chief Laboucan looks after Governance, Education, KTC Child and Family Services portfolios.

Adelaide (Dolly) Creighton, Siipiinamayaaki  is a member of the Blood Tribe – Kainai People in Southern Alberta of the Blackfoot Confederacy.  She is a mother of one son and two daughters.  A  grandmother of seven and has eight great grandchildren.

Dolly received her former education in her community on the Blood Reserve in a residential school for ten years.  Her life experiences including her academic education; trainings; teachings and professional careers in Nursing; Social Work; Mental Health Therapist; Community Health Educator; Community Development Coordinator; Project/Program Planner; Certified Trainer; Holistic Healing & Energy Medicine Facilitator.  These experiences  have  provided her with the knowledge and skills to help others how to help themselves.

Her personal healing journey took her to many places across Canada and in the world including California, Europe and Australia. Dolly has experienced the wisdom of body-mind communication and its healing powers including her advanced training in “Intuition & Clairvoyance” teachings.  Her journey of learning is on-going from the wisdom of First Nations Knowledge Keepers; Healers; Herbalists; Hypno-Therapists including world renowned & distinguished teachers from the “Harmony Institute Of PsychoSomatic Therapy” in Australia.  She uses and includes these concepts and techniques to help others how to help themselves, whether it be personal, family, groups, management, professional or community sessions.  Her First Nations Blackfoot Culture and Language is a crucial integrated part of transferring her knowledge and information.

Dolly’s passion is to create awareness and promote the importance of healing from our past.  Especially as it relates to the impacts and effects of the legacy of colonization and residential schools. She believes that in order to become whole and healthy one must balance the body, mind and spirit –  and  have a strong spiritual connection. “When we are balanced we are living fully. When we are not at ease with body, mind and spirit, the result is disease, illness and discord. We tend to get wholistic diseases and for that reason we need wholistic medicine. No body, healer or anyone can give us this balance unless we choose to participate in our own healing process”. Dolly believes that healing is a very personal choice.  It is something that doesn’t come from outside of us – it begins within (inside) each and everyone  of us as  human beings.

Wilton Good Striker is a member of the Fish Eater and Lone Fighter Clans and resides in Isohtapi community in Kainai.  The first ten years of Wilton’s schooling were spent on the Blood Reserve. From there he finished high school in Calgary and studied at Notre Dam College in Nelson, BC. Wilton has a long history of public service including being the first Indigenous member of the Calgary City Police; Tribal Manager for Kainai for ten years; past President of Native Counselling Services of Alberta; and a former Commissioner for AADAC. He recently retired from the National Parole Board where he served as a member for many years

As the eldest living leader of our primary Sacred Society, Wilton holds a special place in Kainai society and within the Confederacy. He is currently a Ceremonial Elder and Teacher of our traditional ways for that society and other ceremonies.  He is a well-respected Elder and Ceremonialist with a wealth of cultural and historical knowledge and is a pillar of the community. He is often called upon by leadership; many departments; the community; and other First Nations and First Nation organizations for advice and teachings.

Cadmus Delorme, a Cree and Saulteaux, is a citizen of the Cowessess First Nation. Mr. Delorme was Chief from 2016 to 2023. In 2023 Mr. Delorme received an honorary degree from the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Institution. In 2021 Cadmus achieved an Institute of Corporate Director designation, In 2016 he received a Master of Public Administration from the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and in 2013 a Bachelor of Business Administration along with a Certificate in Hospitality, Tourism and Gaming Entertainment Management from the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv).

Mr. Delorme served in several capacities while a student in highschool and university, including vice-president and president. In 2012, Cadmus was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his student leadership and the hospitality he showed to King Charles III and his Queen Consulate Camilla when they visited FNUniv in 2012. In 2022 Mr. Delorme was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee. In 2015 Cadmus was named one of CBC Saskatchewan’s Future 40, which celebrates the province’s new generation of leaders, builders, and change-makers under the age of 40. During Mr. Delorme’s time as Chief, his focus was on political sovereignty, economic self-sustainability, and cultural rejuvenation. In April 2023 Mr. Delorme decided to not run for a third term and now is Partner to OneHoop Consulting Group and Partner to Flowing River Capital Group which focuses on enhancing Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #92, Business and Reconciliation.

Mr. Delorme lives with his wife Kimberly, brother-in-law, daughter and two sons on the Cowessess First Nation.

Lynda Minoose B.Ed., M.A.
I was born July 29, 1950, in Bonnyville, Alberta. My parents are Charles Minoose and Josette Estaltheni/Petit. My father’s parents are Elizabeth Telk’ulighu and J.B. Minoose. My mother’s parents are Anastasia Lagrosstête and Noel Estaltheni. My parents had 18 children.

I grew up on Łuwechok Túwé Denesųłiné néné (Cold Lake First Nations), where I attended Cold Lake Indian Day School\LeGoff from 1957-1965. For Grade 9, I attended Racette Catholic School in St. Paul, Alberta, and boarded at Blue Quills Residential School 1965-1966. I attended St. Dominic’s Catholic School in Cold Lake, Alberta 1966-1969 to do Grade 10-12. I completed Grade 12 in 1970 at Alberta College in Edmonton, Alberta. I entered Grant MacEwan Community College in 1972 and attended until 1974. I took 1 semester in Secretarial Arts, 1 semester in General Arts and Sciences, and 1 year in Social Services Diploma program. In 1975, I entered the Morningstar Indian Teacher Education program, of which I completed 1 year in 1976. I took a leave from my studies and worked until 1989, when I went back to Blue Quills Indian College to complete the second year of the Teacher Education Program. I entered University of Alberta in 1990-1991 and graduated with a degree in Education. In 2014, I enrolled in a Master of Arts in Indigenous Languages at the University nuhelot’ine thaʔe hots’į nistameyimakanak Blue Quills. I received my M.A. degree in 2016.

I have had numerous jobs over the years since 1966 to present. I was a substitute teacher in Maine, and Ohio in 1995-1998. I was the Acting Principal at Poundmaker’s Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Treatment School in 1996. In 2000-2003, I taught in Hatchet Lake, SK. In 2004-2007, I was the Vice Principal at Father Megret High School in Hatchet Lake. In 2007-2010, I worked at Cold Lake First Nations as Denesųłiné Language Curriculum Developer and from 2010-present worked as the Denesųłiné Language and Culture Director.

OVERVIEW AND BREAKOUT GATHERINGS

GATHERING OPENING: GRAND ENTRY AND WELCOME TO THE TERRITORY

April 24, 2024 (7:00 p.m.)

OPENING KEYNOTE: Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan

April 24, 2024 (8:15 p.m.)

PIPE CEREMONY

April 25, 2024 (7:00 a.m.)

KEYNOTE: Sii pii nama yaaki, Elder Adelaide (Dolly) Creighton and Elder Wilton Good Striker

April 25, 2024 (8:15 a.m.)

BREAKOUT GATHERINGS

April 25, 2024 (10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)

Facilitator(s): Blackfoot Elder/Knowledge Keeper

Join Blackfoot Elders/Knowledge Keepers who will share knowledge and wisdom about kinship.

Facilitator(s): Cree Elder/Knowledge Keeper

Join Cree Elders/Knowledge Keepers who will share knowledge and wisdom about kinship.

Facilitator(s): Dene/Denesuline Elder/Knowledge Keeper

Join Dene/Denesuline Elders/Knowledge Keepers who will share knowledge and wisdom about kinship.

Facilitator(s): Métis Elder/Knowledge Keeper

Join Métis Elders/Knowledge Keepers who will share knowledge and wisdom about kinship.

Facilitator(s): Goota Desmarais

Dressed in a traditional baby carrier, called an amauti, Goota passionately shares her culture through storytelling complemented by authentic Inuit artifacts. She displays items such as the Qulliq (the Inuit stove), skins of different animals and Inuit art. Goota also brings to the presentation a traditional feast and invites the delegates to try traditional bubble gum, arctic char and more. Her interactive and hands-on teaching style makes learning a fun experience.

Note: Raw food is brought to the presentation to display how the Inuit eat.

Goota Desmarais was born in Kinngait  (Cape Dorset) Nunavut. Her early childhood was spent in a modern Inuit settlement during the winters and in a traditional camp during the summers. She is now an urban Inuk, living in Sherwood Park Alberta for the past 30 years yet stays connected to her Inuit culture through frequent visits to her home community. Goota began sharing her Inuit culture in classroom settings 25 years ago and continues to do so with great enthusiasm.

Facilitator(s): Dr. Daphne Mai-Stoina

Decades before the establishment of Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority, Elders and knowledge-keepers from Loon River First Nation, Lubicon Lake Band, Peerless Trout First Nation, Whitefish Lake First Nation #459, and Woodland Cree First Nation had a vital role in shaping its vision: nîhiyaw kiskinohamâkîwinihk nâkacîwîn (Excellence in Indigenous Education).

In this session, presenters will share how Elders continue to strengthen and realize the vision of KTCEA. Participants will learn the ways KTCEA promotes meaningful involvement of Elders and Knowledge-keepers in curriculum, land-based learning, language revitalization, and traditional foods through an Elders Advisory Committee which is anchored in KTCEA policies and procedures. By sharing our experience we trust you can learn from and consider what you can apply in your context to promote meaningful involvement of Elders.

As a result of participating in this session, you will have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding of how to engage and collaborate with Elders and knowledge-keepers in meaningful ways.

This session will be facilitated by:

Dr. Daphne Mai’Stoina is the Superintendent of Education for Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority and has been in the education system for over 34 years serving in various capacities such as a special education teacher, vice principal, acting principal and assistant superintendent, superintendent, instructional specialist and province-wide Special Education Director. She is from the Siksika Nation and has strong cultural ties with Siksika traditions. Daphne has a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership/Administration (University of San Diego) and a Doctorate of Education (University of Calgary). She has served on various bodies representing First Nations over the years. Daphne has presented at local, provincial, national and international conferences on topics that include special education, Indian Control of Indian Education and inequities in First Nation Education. She has received numerous awards & recognition for her achievements, including the Dr. Olive Dickason Award. She has been blessed with three beautiful children and 9 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, that make her life complete.

Facilitator(s): Dr. Genevieve A. Fox, Wilton Good Striker, Jim McNeely, Piitai Ohkotok McNeely, Makiinima Chief Roy Fox, Verna Weasel Child, and Ramona Big Head

The session will include a presentation and testimonials of participants from the Niitsipowahsin Strategy Tour 2023. Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Historians, students, parents, Educators, Leadership and other members of the Siksikaitsitapi – Blackfoot Confederacy will be invited to share their experiences with the session participants. A short video will be shown of the sites visited in Siksikaitsitapi Territory, this video will include brief clips of the activities at the sites such as ceremony, teachings, and accounts of why this site is significant to the Siksikaitsitapi, and understanding Kinship from the Siksikaitsitapi world view.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn presentation and testimonials of participants from the Niitsipowahsin Strategy Tour 2023. Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Historians, students, parents, Educators, Leadership and other members of the Siksikaitsitapi – Blackfoot Confederacy will be invited to share their experiences with the session participants. A short video will be shown of the sites visited in Siksikaitsitapi Territory, this video will include brief clips of the activities at the sites such as ceremony, teachings, and accounts of why this site is significant to the Siksikaitsitapi, and understanding Kinship from the Siksikaitsitapi world view.

This session will be facilitated by:

Staahtsisttayaaki Dr. Genevieve A. Fox (B.Ed., M.A., Ed.D.) from Kainai – Blood Tribe has been involved with the ethos of Indigenous education in administration, teaching and curriculum development. She has taught from the K-12 to post-secondary education and worked with national, provincial and Indigenous organizations to help change the reality of Niitsitapi. She is the Education Director for the Siksikaitsitapi Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council.

Miisamiinaska James McNeely – from Amskapi Pikuni, strong advocate for the revitalization of Niitsipowahsin and also for the continuation of Sikskaitsitapi ways.

Piitaih Ohkatok Kaysen McNeely – a young warrior, knowledgeable in Siksikaitsitapi ways, an enthusiastic learner of Niitsipowahsin.

Makiinima, Chief Roy Fox is Chief of Kainai Nation, the Blood Tribe. He played a pivotal role in envisioning and supporting the sacred site visits.

Verna Weasel Child is an Elder and educator who travelled with the community on the site visits. She is a culture and language teacher with the Siksika Board of Education.

Akaistsiiskaakii, Ramona Big Head has been an educator for over 20 years. She is Assistant Superintendent for the Peigan Board of Education and was principal of Kainai High School and Cardston schools. She played a key role in supporting the site visits.

Wilton Good Striker is a member of the Fish Eater and Lone Fighter Clans and resides in Isohtapi community in Kainai. He is a well-respected Elder and Ceremonialist with a wealth of cultural and historical knowledge and is a pillar of the community.

Facilitator(s): Ken Fox and Shelley Kirkvold

Holy Spirit Catholic School Division continues to support language revitalization as we seek to live truth and reconciliation in Southern Alberta. This session will explore the ways in which our school division has leveraged grant opportunities, internal strengths, and external relationships to support Blackfoot language revitalization. We know that where language thrives, culture thrives as well – and by fostering our kinship relations with our Elders and communities, we ultimately nurture the success of our students. We will overview our partnership with Changing Horses as well as our internal work that has contributed to positive impacts for students in their sense of belonging and connection to our schools. Participants can expect to engage in story and games as we model our approach to show both practical and structural components we have developed.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • reflect on the significance of story to kinship relations.
  • consider ways in which family and community involvement in school can be enhanced.
  • consider ways in which staff learning and development can be approached. Explore strategies that support language revitalization.

This session will be facilitated by:

Ken Fox (Naato’ipksi) is a Blackfoot Elder and Niitsitapi Faciliator for Holy Spirit Catholic School Division. He is currently pursuing his Education degree in addition to developing Blackfoot language resources and instructional elements.

Shelley Kirkvold (Kakatosans’kakii) is Coordinator of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Education for Holy Spirit Catholic School Division. She is deeply committed to advocacy and support in this field, and is a member of many community and pedagogical organizations.

Facilitator(s): Dr. Jennifer Markides, Mike McMann, Natalie Morris, Chief Kipling, Leah Lizotte, Bobbi Paul-Alook, Noreen MacIteer

Three years ago, Natalie Morris, then Supervisor of Connectivity in the Fort Vermilion School Division reached out to Dr. Jennifer Markides at the University of Calgary to form a research partnership that sought to better address the needs of Indigenous youth, families, and communities served by the Division. With a SSHRC funded grant, the two met with the leadership of Beaver First Nation and Métis local president and past president to establish if there was interest in forming a research partnership. Under guidance from the leaderships, the researcher put a community-informed research proposal through ethics. Since that time, three rounds of research with youth in two schools has been conducted. The division and communities have responded to the information shared by the youth to hire a Beaver teacher and Cree teacher at the respective locations to implement more culture and language teachings as an embedded part of the students’ education. The panel will share our story, actions, and commitments from this ongoing and dynamic partnership, as we seek to change the students engagement with school in visionary and transformative ways.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn about: empowering youth; intergenerational healing; language revitalization; learning from place; learning with/from Elders & Knowledge Keepers; and, Indigenous knowledges & curriculum.

This session will be facilitated by:

Jennifer Markides, PhD, is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Tier II Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Youth Well-Being and Education, and an Assistant Professor cross-appointed to the Werklund School of Education and the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary.

BREAKOUT GATHERINGS

April 25, 2024 (1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.)

Facilitator(s): Etienna Moostoos-Lafferty, Megan Tipler and Karen West

In this presentation, three iskwewak teacher educators from Treaty 6 & Treaty 8 will offer their perspectives on place-based learning and share their experiences in EDES 603: Holistic Approaches to Life and Living as Curriculum and Pedagogy. Much like the course design, the presenters will visit and share their distinct yet interconnected experiences. Guided by kehteya Bob Cardinal and his helper, Dr. Dwayne Donald, students engaged in a scholarly exploration of holism, with ceremonial and spiritual practices embedded in the learning process. As part of the course, students committed to visiting and studying a place of their choosing, utilizing winter counts to chronicle seasonal events and lessons the place offered. This presentation delves into the relationships, insights, and understandings that emerged and evolved amongst the class participants over 13 Grandmother Moons. Centring ethical relationality, we jointly attend to the tensions and layers of colonial logics and histories embedded with our places while addressing the wisdom that positions us in relation with all of creation (Donald, 2009) and connects us to the land.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the role of Indigenous pedagogies and epistemologies, emphasizing kinship with all of creation, in crafting an educational framework that promotes holistic student success. It underlines the significance of ceremonial and spiritual practices in education, focusing on building ethical relationships with the community, the land, and all beings rather than merely acquiring knowledge. The presentation demonstrates how a communal learning process, rooted in Indigenous wisdom and practices and characterized by respect, responsibility, and reciprocity, forms a strong foundation for fostering student success through kinship relations.

This session will be facilitated by:

Megan Tipler is a Métis teacher from amiskwaciy with a diverse teaching background working alongside junior high, senior high, and post-secondary students in urban and rural settings. She returned to the University of Alberta in 2021 to work with the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, supporting Indigenous pre-service teachers. In 2023, she transitioned to the Provost’s Office, working as an Indigenous Strategies Manager. She has recently undertaken the position of Associate Vice-President, Indigenous, at the University of Northern British Columbia. In addition to her professional endeavours, she is pursuing a PhD focusing on the role of nêhiyaw and Métis ‘academic aunties’ in education, drawing inspiration from her personal experiences as the oldest sister to four siblings and aunt to six nieces and nephews.

Etienna Moostoos-Lafferty was born and raised in Grande Prairie, Alberta, and her family originates from Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 8 territory. As a certified teacher, Etienna has experience teaching and leading in First Nations community schools and provincial educational systems. She holds a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Alberta, where she produced a thesis entitled “Pihtikwe: Exploring Withness in Teacher Preparedness and Professional Development.” Currently pursuing her PhD, Etienna is currently exploring topics of Treaty Relationships, Ethical Relationality, Indigenous Knowledges, and Place and Land-Based Education. Etienna also works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Services and Early Learning at MacEwan University. Karen West is a First Nations educator originating from Whitecourt, Alberta. Her maternal family connects her to the Sucker Creek First Nation, and her paternal family settled in Alberta after migrating westward during the Railroad expansion. Her extensive background in science education has enabled her to collaborate with students and instructors across K-12 and post-secondary levels. Karen has also made significant contributions as a curriculum consultant at both the Provincial and Divisional levels. Driven by these experiences, she is passionate about examining the effects of colonialism on education and is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Alberta. Karen leverages her family’s narratives to understand the past and strive for healing and balance in the present.

Facilitator(s): Terry-Lynn Cook, Jason J Bigcharles

Rupertsland Institute, alongside Métis educators and researchers Jason Bigcharles and Terry Lynn Cook, are conducting a needs assessment on the reality Métis children, families and kinship systems within Alberta schools. Learn about the assessment on the exploration of curriculum awareness, demographic data on Métis learners and Métis professionals in the K-12 educational system, and the evaluation of programs and resources, including teaching materials and professional development opportunities. In this session, explore how Rupertsland Institute engages with Métis families and kinship circles to advance Métis education initiatives. This session will be an opportunity to gain insight into how to foster stronger Métis community engagement in your own school divisions by examining Rupertsland’s resources and initiatives.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn Métis Kinship, Métis Initiatives, Métis Community Building, Métis Engagement, Métis children and their families within the school system in Alberta

Rupertsland Centre for Teaching and Learning develops comprehensive foundational knowledge resources, engaging lesson plans, meaningful professional development opportunities and authentic classroom learning tools that speak accurately and meaningfully to topics in Métis education.

Facilitator(s): Dave Lamouche and/or Brenda Blyan

Since 1932 a secure land base for Metis people has been one of the Settlement Council’s primary objective. As the first Metis self-government in Canada, constitutionally recognized as a distinct people with a unique culture, lifestyle and traditions, the Metis Settlements are located across northern Alberta and home to approximately 6,500 people. Together, the 8 Settlements have a land base of 1.25 million acres where generations of Metis have called home. New generations carry the legacy of the eternal promise of protecting the land, the culture, and the people into the future.

This session will bring participants on the journey of Metis Settlement people through the generations forward to today with an exploration of the distinct opportunities and challenges for Settlement people. The session will welcome discussion and questions to ensure participants leave with deeper understanding of our Metis Settlements.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to understand the unique nature of Metis Settlements people and communities, suggestions for making stronger connections with community leaders, parents to achieve SLQS/LQS competencies.

This session will be facilitated by:

Recognized as a strong people leader and public servant, Dave Lamouche serves as President of the Metis Settlement General Council (MSGC). After serving his Settlement community for more than 20 years as a local elected council member for the Gift Lake Metis Settlement, Dave was elected to President of MSGC in November 2022. Through his professional career as an entrepreneur and business owner across diverse industries – from retail to oil and gas to logging to trucking, Dave has maintained a reputation as a strong communicator, an analytical leader, and a hard worker – all guided by his strong sense of integrity, transparency, fairness, and commitment to doing good for people. He is a firm believer in equality and access to education and health care where he had brought his skills to work with Northlands School Division community engagement team and once sat as a Board member of The Peace Country Health Authority. He also believes in entrepreneurship and opportunity creation and has served the community on projects related to resource development and energy. Fluent in both Cree and English, Dave has been able to use those language skills and to maximize his post-secondary education in business management to help negotiate positive outcomes for his Settlement over the years, and to clearly communicate with those he represented in his leadership role. Dave lives with his wife in the Gift Lake Settlement and divides his time between his home there and Edmonton in his role as President. In the past, he volunteered much of his time coaching minor hockey and baseball, he is also known to don on the equipment occasionally still today.

Brenda Blyan is an experienced, dedicated, and effective professional who is committed to serving Metis Settlement members. She was elected to her role as Vice President of the Metis Settlements General Council (MSGC) in November 2022. Prior to her successful election, Brenda served for 5 years as the Administrator for Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement, the Settlement she is proudly a member of as well. Brenda is passionate about her work and is dedicated to ensuring that the Metis Settlement and its members are respected, supported, and empowered. Additionally, Brenda is committed to building strong relationships with local and provincial governments, industry, and other Aboriginal communities. Brenda has dedicated a large part of her career working with the Indigenous community, government, and industry. She has served as the Executive Director of the Canadian Native Friendship Centre in Edmonton, Manager of Aboriginal Business Development for Civeo Canada, and Program Coordinator for the Metis National Council. In her capacity as a private consultant and business owner, Brenda has also conducted research work and advised and lead projects for organizations such as Northlands Park, and the Edmonton Aboriginal Cultural Foundation. The latter specifically focused on low-cost housing needs for Aboriginal seniors. Additionally, she previously served as the provincial Vice President of the Metis Nation of Alberta and was appointed to the Metis Women’s Council on Economic Security. Brenda attended the University of Alberta pursuing a Bachelor of Political Science and Bachelor of Laws Degrees, as well as Athabasca University for a Master of Business Administration. Brenda is a proud mother of three children and Kokum to five grandchildren. She makes her home in Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement.

Facilitator(s): Jonathan Kaiswatum and Steven Crowchild

Education Service Agreements (ESAs) are agreements between First Nations and provincial school authorities to facilitate the attendance of First Nations students living on-reserve in provincial schools. The Tsuut’ina Education Department is actively collaborating with the Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Catholic School District, and Rocky View Schools to develop ESAs that focus on the aspirations of young people, with valuable insights from Tsuut’ina knowledge keepers and elders. The collaborative approach ensures the inclusion of Tsuut’ina language, culture, and perspectives within the education system while nurturing reciprocal kinship relations that foster respect, trust, and mutual understanding. Through their unwavering dedication to student success, the Tsuut’ina Education Department and its neighbouring school districts are ensuring that the ESAs embody the spirit and intent of treaty agreements.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn about vital conditions and considerations required to move forward with Education Service Agreements (ESAs) respectfully, in the spirit of reciprocity, with collective vision, and with collective commitment to student learning and well-being. This is directly tied to the SLQS and LQS acknowledgement that principals and system education leaders playing a fundamental role in establishing and supporting the conditions under which the learning aspirations and potential of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students are realized. The CASS eLeadership Guide: Establishing and Maintaining Respectful Relationships for Student Success will also be highlighted. Participants will learn the story of how it came about, its key dimensions, and how to navigate it with ease.

This session will be facilitated by:

Jonathan Kaiswatum, Director of Education, Tsuut’ina Education Department Jonathan Kaiswatum, nēhiyawēwin (Treaty 4) and niitsitapi (Treaty 7), is rooted in his language and culture. Indigenous worldviews of leadership have significantly influenced his ideology as an educator. He obtained both his Bachelor of Education (2012) and Master of Education (2019) from the University of Saskatchewan and is currently the Director of Education for the Tsuut’ina Education Department. Jonathan is dedicated to bringing reconciliation education and resources to the classroom, aiming to create learning environments that foster an understanding of Indigenous perspectives.

Steven Crowchild, Minor Chief, Tsuut’ina Nation Xakujaa-yina/Chief and Council Steven Crowchild is a Tsuut’ina Isgiya, father, and a current elected member of the Tsuut’ina Nation Xakujaa-yina/Chief and Council. Prior being elected to leadership in 2019, Steven served the Tsuut’ina Nation in the capacity of Education Services Agreement Coordinator for the Tsuut’ina Education Department, where he worked to improve student outcomes through the development of innovative approaches to education, as well as advocating for improved student services through service agreements. Steven has also played an integral role in Tsuut’ina language revitalization efforts through his work with the Tsuut’ina Gunaha Institute, where he began working in 2012, and served in various capacities, including Director from 2014 – 2018.

Cindy Stefanato, Director of Indigenous Learning, Rocky View Schools Cindy Stefanato is an Anishinabek educator from Fort William First Nation, at the head of Lake Superior in Ontario. She is humbled by the opportunity to work with the Indigenous Learning team to lead and support Indigenous education at Rocky View Schools in her current role as Director of Indigenous Learning. Her experience as an educator includes the roles of classroom teacher, counselor, consultant, school-based administrator, and director. She strives to support and further Indigenous education, while keeping student success at the forefront.

Lori Pritchard is a proud Métis auntie, educator and leader whose family ancestry traces to the historic Red River Settlement (MB), and the Batoche, Duck Lake, St. Laurent Métis communities (SK). Lori’s paternal grandparents (Lawrence Pritchard & Verna Vandale) were founding members of the Métis Society (SK) in 1934. Her maternal grandparents were first generation settlers from Ukraine. As a teacher, principal, and system leader, Lori has dedicated her 30 year career to supporting the holistic needs of Indigenous students, Indigenous Education for all students, staff and families, and district level improvement for positive and lasting systemic change. Lori is currently the Education Director for Indigenous Education with the Calgary Board of Education, and is an active member of Calgary’s urban Indigenous community in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.

Helmut Kaiser is a Director of Learning Services with the Calgary Catholic School District. With over 27 years of teaching and administrative experience from elementary to high school and guided by his passion for student-centered pedagogical and assessment practices, Helmut is honoured to lead and walk alongside the Indigenous Education Team, the Teaching and Learning Team as well as the English Language Learning Team to support the educational needs of all our students.

Dr. Dianne Roulson is a white settler with Icelandic and French roots. She was born in Treaty 7 near the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers. She had the privilege of serving in public education for 34 years with the Calgary Board of Education and lead work in her role as Education Director in Indigenous education, curriculum & assessment, languages, and SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity). She is currently working as a Leadership Consultant with CASS to support success for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.

Facilitator(s): Jodie Mattia & TBD

Our journey to understand and live Wahkotowin our school division has been a journey of listening, learning from out missteps and continuing to focus on establishing and maintaining relationships with our community. This session will overview where and how we started and highlights along our journey so far. Our journey has included working with Elders and Knowledge Keepers from our neighbours (Maskwacis), families, and our staff (Indigenous Support Workers) and how this has been difference making for students and staff.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to foster effective relationships. The narrative will support ways to engage with community that is honouring (protocol, listening, decision making) We have focused on Wahkotowin specifically since Dr. Shauna Bruno (past Trustee) and Brian Taje (past Associate Superintendent) with the support of Elder Roy Louis went out an met with families and community across our school division in 2013 to listen and learn how we to engage with our families and community.

This session will be facilitated by:

Jodie Mattia (Director of Support Services): Honoured to lead the Indigenous portfolio within WRPS for the past 8 years.

Facilitator(s): Alberta Education Minister’s Youth Council

Members of the Minister’s Youth Council will share their experiences of being on the Council.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn about Alberta Education’s Minister’s Youth Council and hear from Council Members regarding their personal experiences.

The Minister’s Youth Council (MYC) consists of about 40 junior and senior high students with diverse interests, identities, backgrounds and perspectives from all regions of Alberta. Students on the council provide their perspectives on a number of education topics. Students are members of the Minister’s Youth Council for a 10-month term that aligns with the school year. During the school year, the council attends three meetings.

Facilitator(s): Dr. Jennifer Markides

The Walking Alongside You(th) or WAYs program, led by Dr. Jennifer Markides, is a grant-funded project under the University of Calgary’s “One Child, Every Child” research program awarded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund in March 2023. The WAYs program sees high school students engaged in ongoing cycles of research, where their input is used for collaborative planning and programming that is specific to each school context. The schools where the research is conducted serve primarily Indigenous populations. The specific First Nation’s and Métis leaderships determine the questions the researchers ask, and how the information will be used. Past research has shown that the youth want to learn their languages and cultural teachings specific to their Nations and the neighbouring Nations. The youth have strong ideas about what they want to do in life after high school and what courses or training they need to get them there. Opportunities in rural and remote communities are different than in major centres. Sometimes we must think creatively to provide experiences for youth that would not otherwise be available. These can be cultural, academic, recreational, wellness, social, work experience, or other possibilities. As students see more of their requests being acted upon, they offer additional suggestions and new asks of our team. Sometimes ideas that have not been addressed yet are repeated, which indicates that the youth are still hoping for those changes to be made. Because it is a partnership, all parties—inclusive of the First Nation’s and Métis leaders, school division leadership, and the research team—are responsible for making the prioritized suggestions and goals a reality for the benefit of the youth. This session will offer participants a chance to learn about current opportunities to partner in research that is specific to their context and the Indigenous communities they serve.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn about research related opportunities for: empowering youth; intergenerational healing; anti-racism; language revitalization; learning from place; learning with/from Elders & Knowledge Keepers; and, Indigenous knowledges & curriculum.

This session will be facilitated by:

Jennifer Markides, PhD, is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Tier II Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Youth Well-Being and Education, and an Assistant Professor cross-appointed to the Werklund School of Education and the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary.

Facilitator(s): Jennifer MacPherson and Jeff Horvath

Using land-based activities and play, Spirit North works with schools, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and community members to develop sustainable programs that empower students and support community wellness. Spirit North programs are centered around the pillars of Health, Education, and Community.

In this session, we will provide an overview of how we develop and deliver our programs using the collaborative process of co-creation, which includes input from school staff, youth, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and community members. We will discuss how our program delivery process focusses on relationship building to include their continued voice, input, and participation in programs year after year. We will discuss our future plans, including a Student Leadership program that empowers and develops the leadership potential of youth.

Our program impact will focus on the metrics of developing confidence, focus, joy, wiliness to try new things, and peer-to-peer relationships. Our quantitative and qualitative evaluation techniques include surveys, oral feedback, and photovoice projects.

Our evaluation methodology is based on the three Spirit North pillars of Health, Education, and Community and embodies a Two-Eyed Seeing approach which respects and incorporates Indigenous and Western perspectives to provide a fulsome view of program impact.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn skills on:

  • communicating a philosophy of education that is student-centred and based on sound principles of effective teaching and leadership;
  • recognizing the school community’s values and aspirations and demonstrating an appreciation for diversity;
  • promoting innovation, enabling positive change and fostering commitment to continuous improvement;
  • and accessing, sharing and using a range of data to determine progress towards achieving goals.

This session will be facilitated by:

Jennifer MacPherson is a former classroom teacher, now Master of Education student at the University of Saskatchewan. Jennifer has taken her skills and knowledge as a teacher and combined that with her love for the outdoors. Jennifer support Spirit North Community Program Leaders in their implementation of safe and culturally relevant outdoor programming to empower Indigenous youth through sport and land-based play.

Facilitator(s): Darrell Breaker, Shirley Spotted Eagle, Jeff Grimsdale, Christina Hoover, Claire Wade

Golden Hills School Division strives towards fostering relationships and reconciliation. Join us for a session that showcases the pivotal steps taken to support Indigenous students, ensuring their academic success and sense of belonging within our schools. Highlights of the Golden Hills School Division Journey: Cultural Connections and Guidance: Discover the profound impact of the relationships forged with Elders and Knowledge Keepers from Siksika. Explore how these connections laid the groundwork for a journey towards cultural integration within the school division. Bridging Communities: Learn how this inclusive approach not only improved the academic success of Indigenous students but also enriched the entire school community through a deeper cultural connection. Voices of Elders: Hear directly from the Elders who played a significant role in supporting the leadership team. Gain insights into the wisdom and guidance that shaped the division’s commitment to reconciliation and inclusivity. First Nations Liaisons: Understand the crucial role of First Nations Liaisons in fostering relationships and integrating culture meaningfully within the school environment. Explore the strategies employed to create a supportive and inclusive atmosphere for Indigenous students. Building Foundations: Unpack the essential factors that contribute to an improved sense of belonging for Indigenous students, leading to increased academic achievement. Explore the impact of these foundational relationships on the broader school community. Join us in this session as we unpack Golden Hills School Division’s journey—a testament to the power of relationships, reconciliation, and a shared commitment to fostering a sense of belonging for all students.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to focus on building effective relationships. Golden Hills School Division shares how working collaboratively with Elders, Knowledge Keepers, First Nation Liaisons and community members from Siksika helped to improve student success. The cultural teachings and events demonstrated how Golden Hills School Division is Ensuring First Nation Metis and Inuit learning for all students. This session highlights how fostering relationships has increased students success and a sense of belonging.

This session will be facilitated by:

Darrell Breaker is an Elder from Siksika Nation. Sii-poh-komii (Night Crawler) was born and raised into the Traditional Blackfoot Ways of Life, by his grandparents, He is a fourth generation farmer and rancher in Siksika. Together with his wife of 51 years, Rosemarie and Darrell raised 5 children and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Today he is a mentor with Aiskapomhkiis, Siksika Justice Mediation Program, and cultural advisor and storyteller with Golden Hills School Division.

Shirley Spotted Eagle is from the Siksika Nation, Siksika Alberta. Shirley has her Master of Business Administration from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Management degree from the University of Lethbridge. Shirley’s work experience includes working in the human resources field and she is currently employed as a Liaison with Golden Hills School Division. Shirley participates in powwows as a traditional dancer and enjoys cultural activities such as beading and native crafts.

Jeff Grimsdale is the Superintendent of Schools for Golden Hills School Division. He holds Bachelor Degrees in Education, Physical Education, and has a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Calgary. He has experience in a variety of leadership roles including Associate Superintendent , Director of Learning, principal, associate principal, First Nations, Metis and Inuit Coordinator, and instructional coach. He works collaboratively with the senior leadership team and school leadership teams to provide support in implementing powerful learning opportunities to foster a deep understanding and improve student achievement.

Claire Wade has been an educator with Golden Hills School Division for eighteen years. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Lethbridge and is currently working on completing her Master of Arts in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation from the University of Alberta with a focus on well-being promotion in educational environments. In the fall of 2021, Elder Darrell Breaker from Siksika Nation gifted Claire with the Blackfoot name, Piiksaaki (bird woman). This school year, Claire is currently teaching at Carseland Elementary School and facilitating place-based programming for the Golden Hills School Division. Claire has been the recipient of the CAMH Difference Makers award and was recognized as being 1 of 150 leading Canadians for making a difference for mental health. Her passion for teaching has also been featured in Dr. Peter Gamwell’s recent book Thinker, Learner, Doer: Innovative Pedagogies for Cultivating Every Students Potential.

Christina Hoover has been an educational leader in Golden Hills School Division in her roles as teacher, instructional coach and administrator. In her current role, Christina is the Director of Learning and supports Inclusive Education, First Nation Metis Inuit initiatives and Learning Services. Christina has her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Calgary.

BREAKOUT GATHERINGS

April 25, 2024 (3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.)

Facilitator(s): Etienna Moostoos-Lafferty, Megan Tipler and Karen West

In this presentation, three iskwewak teacher educators from Treaty 6 & Treaty 8 will offer their perspectives on place-based learning and share their experiences in EDES 603: Holistic Approaches to Life and Living as Curriculum and Pedagogy. Much like the course design, the presenters will visit and share their distinct yet interconnected experiences. Guided by kehteya Bob Cardinal and his helper, Dr. Dwayne Donald, students engaged in a scholarly exploration of holism, with ceremonial and spiritual practices embedded in the learning process. As part of the course, students committed to visiting and studying a place of their choosing, utilizing winter counts to chronicle seasonal events and lessons the place offered. This presentation delves into the relationships, insights, and understandings that emerged and evolved amongst the class participants over 13 Grandmother Moons. Centring ethical relationality, we jointly attend to the tensions and layers of colonial logics and histories embedded with our places while addressing the wisdom that positions us in relation with all of creation (Donald, 2009) and connects us to the land.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the role of Indigenous pedagogies and epistemologies, emphasizing kinship with all of creation, in crafting an educational framework that promotes holistic student success. It underlines the significance of ceremonial and spiritual practices in education, focusing on building ethical relationships with the community, the land, and all beings rather than merely acquiring knowledge. The presentation demonstrates how a communal learning process, rooted in Indigenous wisdom and practices and characterized by respect, responsibility, and reciprocity, forms a strong foundation for fostering student success through kinship relations.

This session will be facilitated by:

Megan Tipler is a Métis teacher from amiskwaciy with a diverse teaching background working alongside junior high, senior high, and post-secondary students in urban and rural settings. She returned to the University of Alberta in 2021 to work with the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, supporting Indigenous pre-service teachers. In 2023, she transitioned to the Provost’s Office, working as an Indigenous Strategies Manager. She has recently undertaken the position of Associate Vice-President, Indigenous, at the University of Northern British Columbia. In addition to her professional endeavours, she is pursuing a PhD focusing on the role of nêhiyaw and Métis ‘academic aunties’ in education, drawing inspiration from her personal experiences as the oldest sister to four siblings and aunt to six nieces and nephews.

Etienna Moostoos-Lafferty was born and raised in Grande Prairie, Alberta, and her family originates from Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 8 territory. As a certified teacher, Etienna has experience teaching and leading in First Nations community schools and provincial educational systems. She holds a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Alberta, where she produced a thesis entitled “Pihtikwe: Exploring Withness in Teacher Preparedness and Professional Development.” Currently pursuing her PhD, Etienna is currently exploring topics of Treaty Relationships, Ethical Relationality, Indigenous Knowledges, and Place and Land-Based Education. Etienna also works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Services and Early Learning at MacEwan University. Karen West is a First Nations educator originating from Whitecourt, Alberta. Her maternal family connects her to the Sucker Creek First Nation, and her paternal family settled in Alberta after migrating westward during the Railroad expansion. Her extensive background in science education has enabled her to collaborate with students and instructors across K-12 and post-secondary levels. Karen has also made significant contributions as a curriculum consultant at both the Provincial and Divisional levels. Driven by these experiences, she is passionate about examining the effects of colonialism on education and is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Alberta. Karen leverages her family’s narratives to understand the past and strive for healing and balance in the present.

Facilitator(s): Panel of Students from the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program

While the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) has attracted students from diverse Indigenous groups and communities, ATEP’s foundational approach is based on nehiyaw values, which together describe a way of learning and being together. These fourteen guiding values can be seen on the walls of the seventh floor at the University of Alberta, home of ATEP, and are forefront in ATEP gatherings, courses, and cohorts. Through the guiding values, wâhkôhtowin (kinship) and mâmahwohkamâtowin (working cooperatively), staff, faculty and students of ATEP have created a safe haven in this space among people who know, understand and appreciate the commitment and dedication to this work in becoming a teacher.

Being an ATEP student means nurturing current relationships and welcoming new relationships. Students bring in their own ways of knowing, being and doing. They bring their communities, families and languages in, which allow students to stay close to who they are and where they are from. For many students, ATEP is also a space where students explore a remembrance and revitalization of self. Staff and students are encouraged to uplift our guiding values not only in work and school, but also in their own lives and communities.

Our greatest hope is that students carry these values into their future teaching careers and remain grounded and rooted in the sâkihitowin (love) that is expressed through the ATEP guiding values. A panel of current ATEP students will share their educational journeys and how uplifting the ATEP guiding values has informed and shaped their path as preservice educators.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to listen to diverse ATEP students’ educational journeys, participants will learn how to move through professional learning by uplifting Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.

This session will be facilitated by ATEP students from across various years of study and delivery models.

Facilitator(s): Mavis Averill and Cliff Whitford

Boyle Street Education Centre (BSEC) Charter School is a school dedicated to the learning, emotional and behavioural growth of students who have previously had difficult learning experiences. Most, if not all, of our students have had significant trauma in their lives and subsequently have either left or been asked to leave more traditional school systems. They are returning to learning as they want to chart a better path for themselves. We understand that our students are living with distress, and we also know that this distress impacts their ability to manage emotion and to be proactive in their learning. Many are living with both historical and current trauma. Some of our programs have been developed through the lens of understanding how trauma impacts learning and some of our programs have been grown through the guidance that we have been given by the Elders who have been integral to the work that we do. This combination of both scientific and traditional Indigenous knowledge has led us to the design of our school to include significant support services which fit seamlessly with our trauma-informed teaching practices. Our school Elders and our Indigenous staff have worked hand in hand with non-Indigenous staff over many years to build a school based on shared knowledge. Through trial and error, we have developed school policies, wrap-around services, school procedures, and safety measures to ground our work and our actions in kindness, respect, and dignity. We are working towards the possibility of healing some of the historical educational practices that our Indigenous youth and their families have experienced. The work is immense but so is our belief in positive change. We see the miracle of student growth and success every year. All our lives have been enriched by their efforts and their ability to trust that learning within a safe and welcoming school leads to a brighter future.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn ideas and methods of supporting students through their trauma to a place of trust and safety where they can begin to concentrate on learning. Building trusting relationships with our community of students and their families is the first step which then leads to positive learning experiences. Participants will learn how our school community has put into action the knowledge and guidance that our Elders have given us, along with trauma-informed teaching and school practices, which when added together, build a strong, flexible, and supportive learning environment.

This session will be facilitated by:

Mavis Averill is the current Superintendent of BSEC Charter School. She has been with the school since its inception in 1996, first as the English teacher, then as VP, followed by the Principalship and then the Superintendent position. She has been and continues to be an avid supporter and a willing student of Indigenous ways of learning and practice.

Cliff Whitford is the Indigenous school counsellor and the leader of our Indigenous School committee. He guides our work, connects us to Elders and is a strong advocate for our students in all aspects of their lives. He has also been with our school for many years.

Facilitator(s): Big Stone Cree Nation, Tsuut’ina Nation, Stoney Education Authority, Rocky View Schools, Calgary Catholic School District

Education Service Agreements (ESAs) are agreements between provincial school authorities and First Nations to enable First Nations students living on-reserve to attend provincial schools. The CASS eLeadership Guide: Establishing and Maintaining Respectful Relationships for Student Success has been informed by the voices, knowledge, and wisdom of many, including First Nations and provincial system education leaders. The voices of these leaders are highlighted throughout the Guide, via text and video stories, offering heartfelt and honest guidance to those working on ESAs.

In this session, participants will have an opportunity to hear directly from various contributors to the ESA eLeadership Guide, including leaders from Big Stone Cree Nation, Stoney Education Authority, Tsuut’ina Nation, Rocky View Schools, Calgary Board of Education, and Calgary Catholic School District. These leaders will share guidance and stories about how they are working to keep the spirit of Treaty alive, focussing on the hopes and dreams of Elders, young people and, community, building and nurturing respectful, reciprocal relationships, navigating challenges together and, remaining steadfast in their commitment to young people’s success as learners. Various aspects of the eLeadership Guide will also be highlighted and participants will learn the story of how it came about, its key dimensions and, how to locate and navigate it with ease.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn about vital conditions and considerations required to move forward with Education Service Agreements (ESAs) respectfully, in the spirit of reciprocity, with collective vision, and with collective commitment to student learning and well-being. This is directly tied to the SLQS and LQS acknowledgement that principals and system education leaders playing a fundamental role in establishing and supporting the conditions under which the learning aspirations and potential of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students are realized.

This session will be facilitated by:

Steven Crowchild, Minor Chief, Tsuut’ina Nation Xakujaa-yina/Chief and Council Steven Crowchild is a Tsuut’ina Isgiya, father, and a current elected member of the Tsuut’ina Nation Xakujaa-yina/Chief and Council. Prior being elected to leadership in 2019, Steven served the Tsuut’ina Nation in the capacity of Education Services Agreement Coordinator for the Tsuut’ina Education Department, where he worked to improve student outcomes through the development of innovative approaches to education, as well as advocating for improved student services through service agreements. Steven has also played an integral role in Tsuut’ina language revitalization efforts through his work with the Tsuut’ina Gunaha Institute, where he began working in 2012, and served in various capacities, including Director from 2014 – 2018.

Jonathan Kaiswatum, Director of Education, Tsuut’ina Education Department Jonathan Kaiswatum, nēhiyawēwin (Treaty 4) and niitsitapi (Treaty 7), is rooted in his language and culture. Indigenous worldviews of leadership have significantly influenced his ideology as an educator. He obtained both his Bachelor of Education (2012) and Master of Education (2019) from the University of Saskatchewan and is currently the Director of Education for the Tsuut’ina Education Department. Jonathan is dedicated to bringing reconciliation education and resources to the classroom, aiming to create learning environments that foster an understanding of Indigenous perspectives.

Bill Shade, Superintendent, Stoney Education Authority Bill Shade, Superintendent, Stoney Education Authority. “My name is Makoyapi. My english name is Bill Shade. I am the superintendent for the Stoney Education Authority (SEA). I am originally from the Kainai First Nation. I have been with SEA since 2007. I am married to Melanie Shade and together have a blended family with 5 children and 13 grandchildren with one more expected in May. I am very passionate about First Nations Education and helping our students succeed.”

Chester Auger, CEO Bigstone Education Authority. “I am a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation and have been in the education field for the past 20 years. I have been teacher, administrator and FNMI consultant and now Director of education for my First Nation. I enjoy and have a passion for improving education outcomes for First Nation Children. I enjoy the outdoors and any type of sport especially golf. I also have a passion for enhancing and reviving our Sakaw Cree language.”

Cindy Stefanato, Director of Indigenous Learning, Rocky View Schools Cindy Stefanato is an Anishinabek educator from Fort William First Nation, at the head of Lake Superior in Ontario. She is humbled by the opportunity to work with the Indigenous Learning team to lead and support Indigenous education at Rocky View Schools in her current role as Director of Indigenous Learning. Her experience as an educator includes the roles of classroom teacher, counselor, consultant, school-based administrator, and director. She strives to support and further Indigenous education, while keeping student success at the forefront.

Lori Pritchard is a proud Métis auntie, educator and leader whose family ancestry traces to the historic Red River Settlement (MB), and the Batoche, Duck Lake, St. Laurent Métis communities (SK). Lori’s paternal grandparents (Lawrence Pritchard & Verna Vandale) were founding members of the Métis Society (SK) in 1934. Her maternal grandparents were first generation settlers from Ukraine. As a teacher, principal, and system leader, Lori has dedicated her 30 year career to supporting the holistic needs of Indigenous students, Indigenous Education for all students, staff and families, and district level improvement for positive and lasting systemic change. Lori is currently the Education Director for Indigenous Education with the Calgary Board of Education, and is an active member of Calgary’s urban Indigenous community in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.

Helmut Kaiser, Director, Learning Services, Calgary Catholic School District Helmut Kaiser is a Director of Learning Services with the Calgary Catholic School District. With over 27 years of teaching and administrative experience from elementary to high school and guided by his passion for student-centered pedagogical and assessment practices, Helmut is honoured to lead and walk alongside the Indigenous Education Team, the Teaching and Learning Team as well as the English Language Learning Team to support the educational needs of all our students.

Dr. Dianne Roulson, Leadership Consultant, CASS Dr. Dianne Roulson is a white settler with Icelandic and French roots. She was born in Treaty 7 near the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers. She had the privilege of serving in public education for 34 years with the Calgary Board of Education and lead work in her role as Education Director in Indigenous education, curriculum & assessment, languages, and SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity). She is currently working as a Leadership Consultant with CASS to support success for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.

Facilitator(s): Claire Varley & Nelson Edwin Team

Public and Catholic school authorities currently using Nelson’s digital platform, Edwin, will share their own stories of how they have integrated digital Indigenous resources in classrooms and their impact on student learning. The resources in Edwin are locally developed by First Nations, Metis, and Inuit authors and artists. Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and community members are featured in Edwin allowing for a stronger connection between community and classroom. Participants will be supported in their understanding of how digital resources can be used to acquire and apply foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit for the benefit of all students in their learning communities. For a more hands-on experience, please feel welcome to bring your laptop!

As a result of participating in this session, participants will learn how to access hundreds of Indigenous Education resources created by Indigenous authors and artists and content featuring Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and community members. This hands-on workshop, guides participants through Indigenous content to support the school community in establishing the structures and providing the necessary resources to acquire and apply foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit for the benefit of all students. The vast Indigenous content found in Edwin covers all topics related to the theme.

Facilitator(s): Elder Cleo Reece, Dr. Trudy Cardinal, Annalee Nutter

Through a variety of practices, events and activities, and alongside local Elders and Knowledge Keepers, Fort McMurray Public School Division is supporting belonging, generosity, mastery and Independence to ensure student success. From Land based learning and cultural camps, to mentorship, gathering spaces and Kinship groups, our Indigenous students are able to connect with Elders and Knowledge Keepers to develop positive vision and identity which empowers them and instills pride and increased self esteem. This session will share what we are doing, with whom and how, and why we think it is important. It will include interviews with youth, parents and teachers who will share the impacts of these connections as well as interviews with local Elders and Knowledge Keepers about our relationship.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • learn how to build positive working relationships with members of the school community and local community (Elders and Knowledge Keepers).
  • learn how to establish the structures and provides the resources necessary for the school community to acquire and apply foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit for the benefit of all students.
  • learn how the connections to the land and Elders & Knowledge Keepers positively impacts students through empowerment.

This session will be facilitated by:

Cleo Desjarlais Reece was born in Fort McMurray, Alberta, to Cree and Metis parents. She was raised in Edmonton and later moved to B.C, where she raised a family of four children. She returned to University and completed her teacher training at SFU. Cleo currently sits on the Fort McMurray Public School Divisions Elder’s Council and is an Elder in Residence at two schools. She is a founding director for the Keepers of the Athabasca Watershed Society, which has since evolved into our present-day organization and sits on our Elders Wisdom Council. She is actively involved in many of our projects, programs and community engagement work. She is also a filmmaker, the Indigenous Media Arts Group (IMAG) co-founder, and the foundation director until 2005. She is now a proud grandmother who believes in passing on knowledge to benefit the next generations. She has attended national and international gatherings of indigenous and grassroots organizations. In late 2020, Cleo became the Director of the Community Wellness department for her First Nation and continues to work for healing and wellness in her community.

Dr. Trudy Cardinal is a Cree/Métis professor at the University of Alberta connected to the Northern Alberta communities of Wabasca, Slave Lake, and High Prairie. As a mother, kokom, aunt, and scholar, she is deeply committed to her community and the field of Indigenous education. Continuing to develop projects aligned with her vision of honouring intergenerational Indigenous perspectives in education, Dr. Cardinal recently created a course on relational pedagogies and Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing, in literacy education. Additionally, working alongside her daughter Kyla, she co-created the research initiative Braiding Stories to Live By (BStLB). BStLB exemplifies her dedication to co-creating spaces with and for the community, particularly to nurture and connect Indigenous women and girls.

Annalee Nutter is in her second year as Superintendent of the Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD). She has been with the Division for over 21 years as a teacher, School Administrator and Division leader. Ms. Nutter goes above and beyond to promote Indigenous Education within 16 FMPSD schools, as well as inclusion and diversity. Ms. Nutter helped establish the Division’s first ever land-based learning camp in 2019, which has been exceptionally popular with students, staff, parents, and the Indigenous community since then. She was also responsible for the launch of the first Elders’ Council, the First Grade 7 Indigenous Health conference, and co-planned the First annual Dene Hand Games Tournament for the Division.

Facilitator(s): Teresa Edwards and Migwuhn Twenish

The Legacy of Hope Foundation is a national, Indigenous-led charitable organization that works to promote healing and Reconciliation in Canada. The LHF’s goal is to educate and raise awareness about the history and existing intergenerational impacts of the Residential and Day School System, the Sixties Scoop, and other acts of oppression against Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The LHF creates and disseminates educational resources, travelling museum-style exhibitions, workshops, and research to educate Indigenous Peoples and Canadians alike, foster Reconciliation, and contribute to just and equal relationships by teaching about the true history of Canada. The LHF works to encourage people to address discrimination and injustice in order to contribute to the equality, dignity, and respectful treatment of Indigenous Peoples, to foster Reconciliation, and to bring to light the varied and rich contributions to the foundation of Canada that Indigenous Peoples have made and continue to make. The LHF supports the ongoing healing processes of Survivors and their families, and seeks their input and feedback towards projects that honour them and reflect their true experiences.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn the overview of Indigenous history, specifically of the Residential and Day School System, the Sixties Scoop, and other colonial acts of oppression. We will also discuss the impacts of this oppression on Indigenous Peoples today and provide an overview of our exhibitions and LHF generally. LHF will provide suggestions on how to be an ally and how to address racism and discrimination and what you can do to support Reconciliation in Canada. The LHF works to encourage people to address racism and discrimination so as to contribute to the equality, dignity, and just relationships among all. We will continue to work with teachers, school boards, universities, policing agencies, governments, officials, banks, unions, private businesses, and citizens to help meet these goals.

This session will be facilitated by:

Teresa Edwards, B.A., LL.B./J.D. Executive Director & In-House Legal Counsel, 25 years experience as an International Human Rights Lawyer with 15 years experience with the United Nations negotiating Covenants, Declarations and Agreements and working with over 100 Indigenous communities to advance Indigenous human rights.

Migwuhn Twenish has worked with LHF for 5 years within the Exhibitions and Curatorial Projects Department. She originally started as a placement and has worked her way up into her current position as the Manager of Exhibitions and Curatorial Projects. she has either overseen or been a part of every step in creating new exhibitions for LHF. This includes proposal writing, research, creating, design, community engagement and promoting new exhibitions.

Facilitator(s): Todd Robinson, Madeleine Lemire and Sandra Ciurysek

Join us in this session to discover how ARPDC is empowering educators and laying the foundation for a more inclusive and culturally rich educational experience for all. We will share the three year journey of the ARPDC Orange Shirt Day and Beyond grant work as well as showcase the various online ARPDC Indigenous learning resources, available in both English and French.

Participants will leave this session having discovered a multitude of learning supports, developed under the guidance of Elders from various communities, to support the Reconciliation process and empower a shared understanding of SLQS, LQS, and TQS 5 in “leading and applying foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit for the benefit of all students.”

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain insights into the three-year journey of the ARPDC Orange Shirt Day and Beyond initiative, understanding its evolution and impact.
  • Explore a diverse range of online resources available in both English and French, designed to support Indigenous learning and Reconciliation.
  • Understand how these resources align with and empower a shared understanding of SLQS, LQS, and TQS 5, fostering foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit for the benefit of all students.

This session will be facilitated by:

Sandra Ciurysek is the Director for the Northwest region of ARPDC . Sandra is a longtime resident of the Peace Country and lives in Berwyn, Alberta. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Lethbridge and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta. Sandra is a former elementary school principal, and high school English teacher. She has taught various subjects from K-12, led the student services department of K-6 school and has a passion for education. She is experienced in delivering adult learning, teacher professional development and is an advocate for lifelong learning.

Madeleine Lemire is a Franco-Albertan who is very proud to be the Director of the Consortium provincial francophone (CPFPP) of ARPDC. She began her career in a variety of teaching positions in Calgary’s Catholic and public school boards. Prior to joining the Consortium, she worked extensively in the field of professional development as a consultant and specialist. She also has experience working with pre-service teachers as a university associate at the University of Calgary and as an instructor at the University of Alberta’s Campus St Jean. Support for francophone education is an important cause and close to her heart.

Todd Robinson has enjoyed a 33 year career in education that has provided many amazing opportunities to serve students and staff in a variety of roles. Todd had the honor to serve as the Director of Education (CEO) for Lloydminster Public School Division for seven years. In early 2022, Todd became involved with the Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortium (ARPDC) serving as the Director for Learning Network Educational Services (LNES) and in January of 2023 transitioned into his current role as the Executive Director for ARPDC.

Facilitator(s): Nadine Dack-Doi, Mike Shoemaker, Philomene Stevens, Tracey Stevens, Ollie Benjamin and Virgle Stephens

Relationship is key in the work that we do to serve all students. Knowledge keepers and elders are essential. They bring wisdom. language and culture. Through this presentation, the journey of reconciliation will be shared with steps that have been taken to learn with and from knowledge keepers and elders to support the relationships with youth in all schools. Practical ideas to engage knowledge keepers and tools to serve divisions will be shared. Knowledge keepers will be present to share their insights and suggestions to work collaboratively to address youths’ needs.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to apply these competencies:

SLQS: Visionary Leadership and Ensuring First Nations, Metis and Inuit Education for All Students LQS: Supporting the Application of Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Metis and Inuit Education for All Students and Understanding and Responding to the Larger Societal Context Kinship Relations for Student Success. Related topics : Learning with and from Elders and Knowledge Keepers to support all youth from kindergarten through grade 12.

This session will be facilitated by:

Nadine Dack-Doi, M.Ed., is the Indigneous Services Coordinator for Canadian Rockies School Division and the former principal of Exshaw School. She has experience in Indigenous Education, Inclusive Education, land based learning, and English as an Additional Language Learners and is focused on developing collaborative, relationship based teams to address student needs.

Mike Shoemaker, M. Ed., is a strong advocate of shared leadership, inclusion, professional learning, and forward-thinking instructional practices. Mike is the Director of Learning Services and has fulfilled administrative roles within Canadian Rockies School Division. He is an innovative leader and is respected across the division for building high-performing educational teams.

Philomene Stevens is a knowledge keeper from the Stoney Nakoda Nation. She is a survivor of the residential school system and believes that we must work collaboratively to address the wrongs of the past and walk together in unity. She believes strongly in sharing her knowledge with youth to inspire and educate all students to ensure abrighter future for all. Education is key through ceremony and traditonal Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Ollie Benjamin comes from the Stoney Nakoda Nation and is a proud knowledge keeper who supports students from all schools in Canadian Rockies Public Schools. Ollie seeks mentorship from the pipe carrier and knowledge keeper, Virgle Stevens. The land is very important to Ollie and the relationships that are built on the land, especially in the mountain area surrounded by horses.

Tracey Stevens yields from the Stoney Nakoda Nation and seeks to develop a proud future for all Indigenous students. She does not want students to go through what she experienced as a young girl in day school. Teaching knowledge that was passed down from her family is verry important and imperative for all Indigenous students to learn so that they do not lose their culture. This ensures all Indigenous students are firmly grounded in their way of life.

Virgle Stephens is a proud member of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, which is part of the Sioux Nation. He is very passionate about teaching the young generation about the history of Indigenous people and the language. Language is the key to communication among all. He is a heriditary pipe carrier from his father’s side. His work is rooted in bringing people together in kindness and building positive relationships. His mission is to ensure a better future for many generations to come for all people.

BANQUET AND KEYNOTE - Cadmus Delorme

April 25, 2024 (6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.)

PIPE CEREMONY

April 26, 2024 (7:00 a.m.)

KEYNOTE: Elder Lynda Minoose

April 26, 2024 (8:15 a.m.)

BREAKOUT GATHERINGS

April 26, 2024 (10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.)

Facilitator(s): Shawna Goodstriker and Joseph Many Fingers

In 2022, I and my brother Joseph Many Fingers were selected to be apart of a first time mountaineering team that consists of Indigenous climbers from Treaty 6, 7 and 8 in Alberta in an attempt to summit North Americas highest peak, Mt. Denali in Alaska. The initial goal is to elevate First Nations youth, and community members in non-traditional athletic endeavor’s through a means of knowledge enrichment of the mountains. Most importantly, how healing and therapeutic it is on an individual.

As a second-generation residential school survivor and a Blackfoot educator, I am beginning to see my mountaineering journey unfold in a way that is not only knowledge enrichment but another part of my personal epistemology that I deem as therapeutic endowed. I strongly see my inner self revealing a lot of mixed emotions coming through. I am finding myself admitting that I too have succumbed to much trauma in my young life, and as a result I’m beginning to think that this opportunity was a blessing in disguise from creator to help me heal my inner wounds. Loved ones who have come and gone, I am finding that I have been giving the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and tools transferred to me from loved ones to be used effectively and more deservingly in an area that I could honestly say “I think I’ve found my place in time of peace, harmony, and healing while being in the mountains”. With the support and guidance of our beloved family, elders, friends, and community members; they have been our driving force in seeing this expedition through successfully. Joseph and I have influenced many people within our surrounding communities in taking the initiative in bringing groups of youth and adults into the mountains to visit ancestral Blackfoot sights and markings.

We are hopeful that this entire experience and all of its teachings, we’ll be able to give back to our communities, all Indigenous people of all ages, including non-Indigenous people the importance of healing the mind, body, and spirit through the mountain’s and all that encompasses the surrounding area.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to focus on the following competencies:

SLQS 5 e. pursuing opportunities and engaging in practices to facilitate reconciliation within the school community.

LQS 5 c. enabling all school staff and students to gain a knowledge and understanding of, and respect for the histories, cultures, and languages, contributions, perspectives, experiences, and contemporary contexts of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit; and d. pursuing opportunities and engaging in practices to facilitate reconciliation within the school community

This session will be facilitated by:

Oki Nisto Anokok Miistaakskiaakii. Hello, my Blackfoot name is Mountain Woman. My English given name is Shawna Goodstriker. I am forty-three years of age and a very proud single mother to three beautiful children Jayden, Dayton and Petra. Grandmother to two precious grandchildren Ricky and Lily. I have been employed with Kainai Board of Education as a elementary teacher for the past ten years. I received my B.A/B.Ed. from the University of Lethbridge in 2014. In 2021, I received my MA in Education from the University of Calgary.

Joseph Many Fingers is a 51-year old Blackfoot man from the Kainai Nation. He is very blessed to have three boys and two grandsons. He is currently employed with Park Canada in Paahtomahsikimi (Waterton Lakes National Park) as an Indigenous Laison Officer. Joseph if often found somewhere in the Rocky Mountains on his days off hiking with his partner Brenda or his sister Shawna. Together with his cultural teachings and practices and his strong sense of adventure, Joseph has found his real connection to the land and Mistakiisti (Mountains). His main goal this year is to summit Mt. Denali

Facilitator(s): Eric Jensen

The Battle River School Division’s Equity in Action Project, a collaborative initiative with Joe Heslip from the BC Ministry of Indigenous Education, focuses on fostering Indigenous student success across all levels of the school division. Over the past two years, this transformative project has strategically addressed four key pillars—Policy and Governance, Learning Environment, Pedagogical Core, and Learning Profile. The Equity Action team, comprising senior leadership, board members, directors, administrators, teachers, and students, has actively dismantled unconscious biases and confronted systemic racist structures.

The project’s holistic approach has yielded notable outcomes, including improved academic performance metrics for Indigenous students, increased attendance, a rise in self-declaration rates, and a growing sense of belonging for all students within the Battle River School Division. Engaging with Knowledge Keeper Brad Rabbit from the Montana Nation in Maskwacis has been instrumental in providing cultural guidance and fostering cultural competency within BRSD. Students have actively participated in cultural activities such as powwows and craftsmanship, creating drums, skirts, rattles, earrings, and establishing meaningful connections with their Indigenous heritage. This comprehensive initiative reflects Battle River’s commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive educational environment for all students.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to focus on the following competencies:

The Battle River School Division’s Equity in Action Project aligns with the Teacher Quality Standards, Leadership Quality Standards, and Superintendent Quality Standards in Alberta by addressing various components related to effective teaching, leadership, and administration.

Teacher Quality Standards (TQS):

  • Leadership and Collaboration: The Equity Action team, consisting of teachers, actively collaborates to dismantle unconscious biases and address systemic structures. This aligns with the TQS focus on teachers contributing to a positive school culture through collaboration and leadership.
  • Professional Growth and Development : Teachers engage in ongoing professional development as part of the Equity in Action Project. This supports their commitment to continuous improvement and staying informed about best practices, which is essential under TQS.

Leadership Quality Standards (LQS):

  • Visionary Leadership: The leadership team, including senior leadership and administrators, demonstrates visionary leadership by actively participating in the Equity in Action Project. This aligns with the LQS emphasis on leaders inspiring and motivating others toward a shared vision.
  • Fostering Effective Relationships: The collaboration within the Equity Action team reflects the emphasis on building effective relationships among team members, promoting inclusivity and trust, which is a key aspect of LQS.

Superintendent Leadership Quality Standards (SLQS):

  • Building Relationships and Partnerships: The project involves collaboration not only within the school division but also with external partners such as Joe Heslip from the BC Ministry of Indigenous Education and Knowledge Keeper Brad Rabbit. This aligns with SQS focusing on building positive relationships and partnerships.
  • Effective Communication: Communication is vital in addressing biases and confronting systemic issues. The Equity Action team’s efforts align with SLQS in fostering transparent and effective communication within the school division.

In summary, the Equity in Action Project in the Battle River School Division is designed to meet the Quality Standards in Alberta by incorporating collaborative efforts, professional development, visionary leadership, effective relationship-building, and transparent communication, all contributing to the overall improvement of educational outcomes and fostering an inclusive learning environment.

This session will be facilitated by:

Eric Jensen is in his 3rd year as Equity Coordinator at Battle River School Division. Eric is a teacher by trade after spending 1.5 years in Battle River School Division as a humanities teacher before spending his next 3 years teaching in Wetaskiwin. Eric is currently working on his Masters of Arts in Equity Studies.

Facilitator(s): Holly Brandsma, Kimberly Fraser-Airhart, Melanie Lapp

This session is designed for participants to explore authentic recommended Métis educational materials that help to create teachable moments and provide foundational learning opportunities throughout the school year. Together we will explore resources designed by Métis educators and community that weave Métis voices into learning and how Rupertsland Institute uses the principles of kiyokewin in consulting, creating and delivering Métis education.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to understand Métis foundational knowledge, Authentic Educational resources, virtual classroom field trips, and a variety of programs, events, Engaging with community and applying foundational knowledge.

This session will be facilitated by:

Holly Brandsma, is a proud Métis woman, Educator, mother and wife connected to the historical Métis community of mânitow sâkahikanihk – Lac Ste Anne and resides in amiskwaciy-wâskahikan – Edmonton. Holly has facilitated learning in various capacities such as consulting, as a curriculum coordinator and has taught from K-12 for over 20 years. Holly is reclaiming language and cultural ways of knowing and being and loves being on the land. Holly is currently completing her Masters of Indigenous Land Based Education and is passionate and committed to advancing Métis education as a Metis Education and Learning Initiatives Consultant with Rupertsland Center for Teaching and Learning.

Kimberley Fraser-Airhart is a Métis woman from amiskwaciywâskahikan (Edmonton, AB). She joined the Education Team at Rupertsland Institute (RLI) in 2018 to work on Métis Foundational Knowledge Themes, and is currently serving the Métis Nation with RLI as the Métis Education Manager while completing her Masters of Education. Kimberley’s educational work invites everyone to grow in living out relationality, truth-telling, and celebration of Indigenous languages and cultures. Guided by stories and wisdom from her Métis community, she is committed to working alongside leaders in Indigenous education to create community-guided, research-informed, educational experiences.

Melanie Lapp is a proud Métis Iskwew from Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement. She is a mother, kokum, educator, photographer. Melanie is the Métis Access to Post Secondary Manager at Rupertsland Institute.Melanie Lapp is a proud Métis Iskwew from Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement. She is a mother, kokum, educator, photographer. Melanie is the Métis Access to Post Secondary Manager at Rupertsland Institute.

Facilitator(s): Chester Auger, Bill Shade, Clayton Kootenay, Jody Kootenay

The Treaty 6, 7, and 8 educators alliance was created for system leaders from band operated schools. Schools that are operating on reserve are federally funded and each First Nation operating a school on there own territory have full authority to manage all areas of operation. The Alliance mandate is to serve and support band operated schools directors of education, CEOs and superintendents. The opportunity to gather , network and share best practice is the main focus of the group. The TEA group works as an advisory body under the IKWC organization providing best practice to the IKWC board of directors and chiefs roundtable on education. The session will provide system leaders and educators from the provincial authorities information on the work the group has undertaken and highlight key projects that will be helpful for gathering participants. The group has completed work on ESA , learning loss and other areas that have impacted education from a First Nations perspective. The session will also high light the work IKWC has undertaken over the years in the areas of education, The IKWC organization can provide support to our partners from Alberta education. This information session will enhance attendees “supporting the application of foundational knowledge about First Nations , Metis and Inuit education for all students.”

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn foundational knowledge on First Nations, Métis and Inuit matters. The information that will be shared is coming from a First Nations perspective and provide information on how First Nations led organizations share best practice on educational matters.

This session will be facilitated by:

Chester Auger, CEO Bigstone Education Authority “I am a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation and have been in the education field for the past 20 years. I have been teacher, administrator and FNMI consultant and now Director of education for my First Nation. I enjoy and have a passion for improving education outcomes for First Nation Children. I enjoy the outdoors and any type of sport especially golf. I also have a passion for enhancing and reviving our Sakaw Cree language.”

Bill Shade, Superintendent, Stoney Education Authority Bill Shade, Superintendent, Stoney Education Authority. “My name is Makoyapi. My english name is Bill Shade. I am the superintendent for the Stoney Education Authority (SEA). I am originally from the Kainai First Nation. I have been with SEA since 2007. I am married to Melanie Shade and together have a blended family with 5 children and 13 grandchildren with one more expected in May. I am very passionate about First Nations Education and helping our students succeed.”

Jody Kootenay is the Director of Education, Alexander First Nation. “As a part of the TEA group, I am the Treaty 6 representative and am the Director of Education for Alexander First Nation. I am a mother of 3 with one grandson and married to Clayton Kootenay. I have worked in my home Nation for over 15 years and in education for over 25 years. I am currently enrolled in my PhD in education. The partnerships and friendships with other Nations and organizations have brought so much more to our students and to each of us.”

Facilitator(s): Erin Tisdale, Josephine Small, Elders and Team

The session will outline the holistic supports in place in Wolf Creek Public Schools that are working to build success for our indigenous students. Working along side our Elders, Knowledge Keepers we continue to grow together, moving forward in a good way. Some topics included in our presentation – learning about our Elder program, our Cree language supports, our teacher cohort program, curriculum connections, and our Wisdom and Guidance committee.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn stories of practice connected to the following SLQS/LQS competencies – Building effective relationships -Ensuring First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education for all students – Instructional leadership -Visionary leadership – Managing School Operations The interconnectedness of our kinship relations, the competencies above, and our story of practice will frame the learning for participants.

This session will be facilitated by:

Erin Tisdale is the Director of Indigenous Education and Reconciliation in Wolf Creek Public Schools. Other experiences include First Nations, Metis and Inuit Student Success Coordinator, junior high and high school teaching and school leadership, mom, bonus mom, and grandma. She is humbled to work and lead on treaty six territory and honours the voice and relationships with the Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Indigenous Community that continue to walk alongside her.

Ms. Josephine Small is from Neyaskweyahk (Nay-yahs-kway-yahk) the Ermineskin Cree Tribe in Maskwacis. Josephine is the 4th oldest of 12 children born to James and Kathleen Small. She had 1 daughter and has 2 surviving sons. She has eight master’s, not degree’s, her masters are her grandchildren and on Feb 6/24 welcomed her first great grandchild. Josephine’s first language is Cree which she speaks and writes fluently. Most of her academic teaching career has been focussed on teaching Cree. She feels blessed to have grown up in an era where Cree was the only language spoken in the homes and in the community. . . Currently, Josephine is employed off reserve at Wolf Creek Public Schools in Ponoka, Alberta as the Indigenous Learning Support Coach. She is proud to be teaching Cree language and culture in a public school system as she feels children off reserve need to have access to their roots as well. They need to see themselves represented in the schools and in the curriculum. She feels that WCPS is totally committed to fulfilling TRC’s Section 62.1 Call to Action and they are leaders among other school districts in that facet. Josephine feels that her traditional upbringing, active participation in ceremony and culture, being a day school survivor, and just being a strong, resilient, Cree woman, all contribute to her being able to walk and work in both worlds with confidence. **Please connect back with me as I likely will have a co-presenter(s) and will include their bios here as well. Thank you!

Facilitator(s): Jonathan Mauro, Ryan Sawula

Red Deer Catholic’s Indigenous Education Services team will share the various programs and supports they provide to support Indigenous Students’ well-being and Success in our schools. Our programming focuses on the 4 C’s – Credit: school/course credit, Connection: to school, family, and community, Community: help establish a sense of community with our students, staff, and community members and Culture: supporting students to reconnect and learn about ones culture. This is done through mentorship/transition camps, family evenings, and land camps.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to walk away with with ideas and programs that they can use to support indigenous students, families and staff in our schools. The session will highlight the following Gathering theme: empowering youth; intergenerational healing; language revitalization; learning from place; learning with/from Elders & Knowledge Keepers; and, Indigenous knowledges & curriculum.

Facilitator(s): Dr. Evelyn Steinhauer, Danielle Steele, Jessica McVey, Charis Auger

Since 2002, the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) has been a beacon of hope, increasing the number of Indigenous teachers in Alberta through Indigenized teacher education. Physically operating out of amiskwacîwâskahikan (Beaver Hills House; Edmonton, Alberta), ATEP has continually responded to community needs to offer programming to students of all undergraduate years of study in multiple formats: on campus, online, part-time, evening courses serving working professionals, and piloting community-centric cohorts in collaboration with multiple Indigenous communities and organizations. Led by Dr. Evelyn Steinhauer, ATEP colloquially understands itself as “the canoe beside the big ship”; a sovereign program within the University of Alberta designed to meet the needs of Indigenous communities and advance the number of certified teachers across the country. This is enabled by our online, synchronous, delivery mechanisms and predicated on the value of students being able to stay in their home community with their kin, local support networks, and often continue to work and contribute back to their communities to support their families. This further serves Indigenous teacher education by encouraging graduates to develop or maintain local networks, ultimately enabling them to share their gifts in teaching where they are most acutely needed.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn how to lead a learning community grounded in wâhkôhtowin and Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.

This session will be facilitated by:

Dr. Evelyn Steinhauer is an agent for change in the advancement of Indigenous Education. Born in Alberta, Canada, and a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Dr. Steinhauer completed both her PhD and her M.Ed Degrees at the University of Alberta. Her enthusiasm for education extends into her multiple roles in the Faculty of Education. Professor Steinhauer serves as the Associate Dean, Indigenous Teacher Education; Director of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, ATEP; and Coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples Education graduate program/specialization. Additionally, she is actively involved in a variety of initiatives, and working groups/committees, both locally and nationally. However, it is not all work for Evelyn and she is first to admit that her most cherished roles in life are that of being a mother, grandmother and great grandmother and Jim’s wife.

Danielle Steele is a settler-Métis from amiskwaciwâskahikan (ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ) and a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. As a Master’s student in the Indigenous Peoples Education stream, she is focused on the intersection of treaty education and universal designs for learning from a sociocultural perspective. A graduate of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP), she now works as a kiskinwahamakew (Academic Learning Facilitator) with on-campus and part-time ATEP students after teaching with the Edmonton Catholic School District and the Conseil Scolaire Centre-Nord in Edmonton and St. Albert. Danielle has previously worked for Apple, lululemon athletica and Aritzia in senior leadership roles, contributing to her interest in governance and institutional organization. She is eager to ethically contribute to the work of creating equitable education spaces and demonstrate her passion for collegial and heart-led governance.

Jessica McVey is a Métis-Cree woman from nistawoyou (Fort McMurray) and a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta with deep roots in northeastern Alberta. Upon graduating from the University of Alberta with a B.Ed. in Secondary Education, Jessica taught Junior High Language Arts in Enoch, Alberta. Currently, Jessica has the privilege of walking alongside Indigenous pre-service teachers at the University of Alberta as a kiskinwahamakew (Academic Learning Facilitator) in the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program. In addition to her professional roles, Jessica is also a student, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunty, wife, and her most cherished role: a mother to her two littles ones.

Charis Auger, Old Lady Bear That Beautifies Where She Walks In The Bush is a tastaweniwak (TASS-TAW-WIN-EE-WOK) and member of the Bigstone Cree Nation. She holds a B.A. in Native Studies with a certificate in Indigenous Governance and Partnership as well as a B.Ed. in Secondary Education. Currently, she holds space as the kiskinwahamakew within the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program at the University of Alberta.

Facilitator(s): Shannon Loutitt

School and system leaders will have the opportunity to reflect on the power of relationship-building with Indigenous students and families. We will explore wise practices based on the lived experiences of Indigenous Elders and educators as well as academic research.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to focus on SLQS/LQS: Building effective relationships, Fostering effective relationships.

This session will be facilitated by:

Shannon Loutitt was born in mâskwasîpîsis (Grande Prairie) and raised in nistawoyou (Fort McMurray). She now lives in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton). Shannon is otepemsew (Métis); her dad Jack is from Fort Smith and her late mom Irene is from Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement. Shannon works with Edmonton Catholic Schools and is also pursuing her Masters in Educational Policy Studies with a specialization in Indigenous Peoples Education. She is a Cree language learner and proud auntie.

Facilitator(s): Elder Darrell Breaker, Shirley Spotted Eagle, LaToya Bartlett, Claire Wade

The Ik ka nutsi park partnership took flight in the 2019-2020 school year. This partnership provides students from Carseland Elementary School with the opportunity to take part in place-based learning at Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park on a regular basis throughout the school year. ​

A foundational aspect of this program has been to connect with Elders and cultural liaisons from Siksika Nation. The Elders and cultural lissions share Blackfoot culture, language, and Indigenous ways of knowing with the students. The students also develop a deep connection and relationship to the land.

The intention of this session is to share our journey and learning. We hope that sharing our story and some of the key components of our programming can serve as a tool for educators who are interested in further building their knowledge and skills of connecting and developing relationships with Elders and place.

As a result of participating in this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn the importance of developing a respectful relationship with an Elder and creating a space for sharing Strategies for implementation of place-based learning Student success.

This session will be facilitated by:

Claire Wade has been an educator with Golden Hills School Division for eighteen years. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Lethbridge and is currently working on completing her Master of Arts in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation from the University of Alberta with a focus on well-being promotion in educational environments. In the fall of 2021, Elder Darrell Breaker from Siksika Nation gifted Claire with the Blackfoot name, Piiksaaki (bird woman). Claire resides on Treaty 7 territory just east of Calgary. This school year, Claire is currently teaching at Carseland Elementary School and facilitating place-based programming for the Golden Hills School Division. Claire has been the recipient of the CAMH Difference Makers award and was recognized as being 1 of 150 leading Canadians for making a difference for mental health. Her passion for teaching has also been featured in Dr. Peter Gamwell’s recent book Thinker, Learner, Doer: Innovative Pedagogies for Cultivating Every Students Potential.

Darrell Breaker is an Elder from Siksika Nation. Sii-poh-komii (Night Crawler) was born and raised into the Traditional Blackfoot Ways of Life, by his grandparents. He is a fourth generation farmer and rancher in Siksika. Together with his wife of 51 years, Rosemarie and Darrell raised 5 children and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Today he is a school bus owner and contractor, a mentor with Aiskapimohkiiks, Siksika Justice Mediation Program, and cultural storyteller with Golden Hills School Division #75.

Shirley Spotted Eagle is from the Siksika Nation, Siksika, Alberta. Her Blackfoot name is Apiihsapaaki (refers to a woman looking out for the tribe with her eyes). Shirley has her Master of Business Administration from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Management degree from the University of Lethbridge. Shirley’s work experience includes working in the human resources field and is currently employed as a Liaison with Golden Hills School Division. She works with two schools, Carseland and Samuel Crowther Memorial Junior High in Strathmore. As a Liaison, she provides assistance and school support to both Indigenous and non Indigenous students by providing culture awareness, teaching basic Blackfoot language and activities for the school. Shirley participates in powwows as a traditional dancer and enjoys cultural activities such as beading and native crafts.

LaToya Bartlett has been a school administrator for the past 11 years with experience with all grade levels K-12. LaToya started her career within the Fort Vermilion School Division and currently is the principal of Carseland School within the Golden Hills School Division .The majority of LaToya’s career has been working with Indigenous families and students, which inspired her Masters thesis research in the area of indigenous student success in public schools. LaToya completed her Masters of Educational Studies at the University of Alberta and a diploma in Human Resource Management from the University of Calgary. LaToya has received recognition from the Alberta Excellence in Teaching Awards Program and currently serves on the provincial Mentoring in Schools Subcommittee and the Women in Leadership (WIL) Committee. Currently LaToya is working toward her CPHR designation and researching in the areas of trauma informed leadership for doctoral admittance.

CLOSING KEYNOTE: Witness to Education Gathering and Calls to Action

April 26, 2024 (11:10 a.m.)

CLOSING CEREMONIES AND RETIREMENT OF THE FLAGS

April 26, 2024 (11:50 a.m.)


In partnership with Alberta Education.

We continue to grow the vision of bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators, education partners and members of our communities together to share our experiences and stories as we progress in our collective journey to reconciliation through education.