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2021 VIRTUAL First Nations, Métis & Inuit Education Gathering

Please note that this page is for the 2021 event. Details for the 2022 Indigenous Gathering will be shared as details are finalized.

PDF  2021 Indigenous Gathering Highlights

  Watch Sean Lessard’s Keynote here

Watch the Student Panel here

Watch Tomas Jirousek’s Keynote here

PDF  Witness Sharing  Watch the Witness Sharing Here

PDF  Personal Pledge of Reconciliation PDF  2021 Indigenous Gathering Session Descriptions & Speaker Bios PDF  2021 Indigenous Gathering Program at a Glance

PDF  2019 Indigenous Gathering Highlights


Conference Details

The College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS) is pleased and honoured to announce the rescheduling of the fifth CASS First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Gathering to a virtual delivery format.

We plan to 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 on our collective journey to reconciliation through education. Over the span of 6 years and 4 Gatherings, the movement has continued to gain strength, depth, and momentum as the relationships and commitments grow.

Our fifth Gathering builds upon the learning and experiences that CASS and our education partners have gained and from our participant’s feedback. This year our Gathering will focus on a greater inclusion of youth voices.

We are honoured once again to be hosting an amazing lineup of noted Canadian speakers. Further details will be announced in early January.

We also have a strong array of sessions that offer a balance of First Nations , Métis and Inuit learning about languages, cultures, experiences, and perspectives. Traditional ceremony and practices will be included throughout the Gathering.

Please join us as we come together to hear one another, share with one another and breath life into reconciliation education for all of our children.

In lieu of gifts to presenters, CASS will make a donation to the Métis Nation of Alberta Provisional Youth Council. https://www.facebook.com/ABMetisYouth

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Dr. Sean Lessard is from Montreal Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 6 territory.  He is an award-winning writer, international speaker and researcher in the field of indigenous education and youth. Sean is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Regina and Associate Professor at the University of Alberta.  Sean has been awarded the Pat Clifford emerging researcher award by the Canadian Association for Teacher Educators as well as the American Educational Research Associations Early Career Award Winner.  His work focuses on indigenous youth empowerment and leadership including the development of his not for profit indigenous youth bursary and wellness program that has contributed over $150,000 in the past 3 years to indigenous high school and post-secondary students across Canada.

About Sean in the news:

Their Classrooms – Their Voices Student Panel
Moderated by Seneca Dueck and Layla Dumont of Roots of Resilience

Roots of Resilience Education Foundation https://www.rootsofresilience.info/ co-founders will host a student panel with three young Indigenous students who will share their reflections on their school experiences, their calls to action for the adults and decision makers in education, as well as their hopes for the future of education for Indigenous students in this province.

Layla Dumont is a Nehyiaw iskwew (Cree Woman) from the Onion Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 6 territory. Layla holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and has experience in education, public safety through traditional healing and community-based rehabilitation. It was through her work on the national education initiative Project of Heart, that Layla was called to action in educating others about the history and ongoing legacies of colonization and working towards healing and reconciliation. Layla’s career path led her to public safety where she worked as a parole officer at a healing lodge for Indigenous women, and later when she became program manager of a community-based violence prevention program for Indigenous youth. In public safety, Layla worked through an Indigenous cultural lens that promoted understanding of and healing from historic trauma through connection to spirit, culture, and community. Her career path shifted back to education when she began working with the Alberta School Boards Association as the Indigenous Relations Coordinator, supporting education communities across Alberta in their journey towards reconciliation. Layla has been honoured to work with her community in various capacities throughout her career and is excited to continue and expand this important work through Roots of Resilience.

Seneca Dueck (Crowe) is a member of the Kahkewistahaw First Nation in Treaty 4 territory. Born Salteaux/Assiniboine Seneca was raised in the ways of the Nakota people of Treaty 6 territory. Seneca’s career has been focused in Education working to support Indigenous youth in their endeavors to navigate the public education system in Alberta, and to inspire non-Indigenous youth to confront long held views of Canadian history through the experiences and lens of Indigenous peoples and the complex relationships with the people of this land. Starting her career in Fort Saskatchewan Elementary school as the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Lead in Elk Island Public Schools she then went on to become a Braided Journeys coach with Edmonton Catholic Schools before moving on to become the National Education Strategist for the Moose Hide Campaign. Seneca has also provided support to Healing Our Spirit Worldwide, Project of Heart, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Education events, the College of Alberta School Superintendents FNMI Gathering and more through volunteer work.  Although Seneca very much enjoyed the opportunities to support community through all of these roles, she recognizes her responsibility to pass along the teachings of her parents, family and community that have guided her path.  Seneca sees Roots of Resilience as the avenue to create positive social change in Alberta and she is honoured to use her own agency to support this important work.

The student panel will include:

Arianna Dumont, a Cree and Saulteaux from and has been raised in Treaty 6. She is 11 years old and is a grade 6 student with Edmonton Public Schools.

Kail Dyck, a Métis and calls Mohkinstsis in Treaty 7 his home. He is 12 years old and is a grade 7 student with Calgary Catholic Schools.

Bella Morrisseau, a Cree from Saddle Lake Cree Nation. She is 11 years old and is a grade 6 student with Elk Island Public Schools.

Tomas Jirousek, a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy from the Kainai Nation of southern Alberta, graduated from McGill University this past spring as valedictorian after leading a successful campaign against the use of Redmen as the name of McGill’s men’s sports teams. Tomas graduated with an honours degree in Political Science, with a double minor in Economics and Indigenous studies. Tomas also represented McGill as a varsity rower during his time at the university.

Tomas is currently studying law at the University of Toronto. He joined Pro Bono Students Canada in his first semester at the faculty, where he is currently working to open a pro bono Indigenous human rights clinic in downtown Toronto. Tomas hopes to use his law degree to promote racial equality within the justice system.

Tomas splits his free time between Whitehorse, Yukon, and the Blood reserve in southern Alberta. He credits his mother, a lifelong educator from the Kainai Nation, as his inspiration for pursuing higher education.

About Tomas in the news:

Indigenous Marketplace

With our online format this year, we are unable to provide a venue to support Alberta-based Indigenous artisans. This is an important part of the Gathering and we want to keep our commitment to support so we are listing some of the wonderful artisans that we have hosted in past Gatherings here. Please visit their sites, shop and support them. So many beautiful gifts to choose from:


Fox Cree-ations

Gathering Supporters


For over a century, Nelson has built and continues to strengthen its partnerships with educators and school administrators across Canada, and around the world, who enhance the ongoing development of trusted learning solutions aligned to curriculum expectations. As the education landscape continues to evolve, now more than ever, Nelson’s mission to re-imagine and define these learning solutions, preparing students for tomorrow’s workplace, remains at the core of our values.

Wherever learning happens, Nelson resources are designed to support the educational journey. From engaging and state-of-the-art technologies, to authentic classroom resources, to professional learning services, Nelson’s commitment is steadfast in supporting lifelong learners.


HighWater Press (HWP) publishes acclaimed Indigenous-authored stories. These authentic stories, told by both recognized and emerging Indigenous writers, include globally relevant social justice themes and the re-telling of historical events. HWP’s vibrant and thought-provoking books include a rich mix of graphic novels, young adult and children’s literature, adult fiction, and nonfiction.



Pearson is Canada’s leading educational publisher, developing resources you can rely on in any setting for all core curriculum subjects K-­12. Pearson Canada’s innovative learning solutions are created in collaboration with Canadian educators, with an emphasis on pedagogy, efficacy, and best-in-class content.

Pearson Canada sees the diversity of Canada’s students as a strength and is committed to developing a full array of core curriculum, supplementary, assessment, professional, and early learning resources to help students of all ages learn at their own pace, and in their own ways.

Pearson Canada represents leading professional learning educators from Canada and around the world, including Heinemann, Pearson ERPI, Annick Press, Teacher Created Materials (TCM), Taanishi, Routledge Press, and more.

Find print, digital and hybrid solutions at pearsoncanadaschool.com.

$195 Individual Registration Fee

Online registration is now closed. Please contact claudine.cortes@cass.ab.ca for info.

Goals for the 2021 First Nations Métis and Inuit Education Gathering include:

  • an increase in understanding how to apply foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit for the benefit of all students;
  • an increase in capacity building to meet the learning needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students;
  • an increase in understanding how to engage and collaborate with First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders, Elders, communities and organizations.
  • an increase in awareness and understanding of how to implement and lead practices that support reconciliation within our schools, school systems, and communities

These goals are in support of the Alberta Education Ministry’s outcomes for 2019-23:

  • Alberta’s students are successful
  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit students in Alberta are successful
  • Alberta has excellent teachers, school leaders, and school authority leaders
  • Alberta’s K-12 education system is well governed and managed

CASS Professional Learning Priorities for 2020-23
Leadership and System Excellence


March 15 (evening) - 16-17 (mornings only), 2021


Online format via Zoom.