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2023 First Nations, Métis & Inuit Education Gathering


PDF  2023 Indigenous Education Gathering Learning Survey Report

PDF  2023 Indigenous Education Gathering Witness Statement by Sharon Morin

Event Dates: April 24-26, 2023

Decolonizing Education: Truthing Our Way Forward

Truthing is the action attached to learning the truth (Elder teaching). Truthing, then, is facing uncomfortable and necessary truths and taking action in relation to those truths. We acknowledge that the action of truthing holds with it great responsibility.

Conference Details

Areas of focus of concurrent sessions are directly connected to the theme and include:

  • Time with Elders and Knowledge Keepers
  • Decolonizing – Anti-Racism – Unlearning
  • Land Teachings
  • Treaty Education
  • Language
  • Respectful, Reciprocal Relationships
  • Education Service Agreements
  • Building Foundational Knowledge
  • Stories of Practice – First Nations and Provincial Schools Sharing With One Another

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.

Click here to see the 2022 CASS First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Gathering.


“My learning in this area continues, and I am grateful for all opportunities to make connections, advance my understanding of best practices for Indigenous Education, and realize how I can better permeate Indigenous knowledge into our schools.”

“I learned that our curricula is lacking in the area of Indigenous perspectives and Indigenous Science, and that we as educators need to fill that gap. I learned that residential school survivors and those suffering from intergenerational trauma have much to teach us about our biases, our lack of understanding, and redefining what resilience means. I learned that we as educators do make a make a difference with our words and actions, so we need to be mindful of them and seek opportunities to make a difference because we never know how our words and actions impact those around us.”

I went with an open heart and an open mind and that openness was filled with an unspeakable amount of a new awareness and understanding.

“I have a deeper understanding of what “being in ceremony” means. I have learned more about the Indigenous culture that I can share with my colleagues, my family and community. I have made valuable connections that I can reach out to and ask for help. Through this, I am becoming a better listener.”

“Hearing the elders speak and share stories really helped me gain a deeper understanding of the importance of oral storytelling. There were also sessions that infused facts that I was not aware of. More specially facts and statistics around issues and racism that affect indigenous peoples in the present.”

“This learning opportunity continues to strengthen my understanding of the necessity of forming and deepening relationships with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and Elders as partners in leading this work. Each session contributed to my personal awareness of the culture, struggle, and achievement in Indigenous Education, which will influence my approach and discussions with colleagues.”

“The Gathering opened my mind and heart to all the goodness we as educators can provide for students. I personally loved the “We Are Spirit North program” operating in Kikino Métis Settlement School. I learnt so much. Although some of the sessions took a toll emotionally and mentally, they also inspired me to continue to be the best that I can be for Indigenous Peoples and to listen to what they need – even if it’s to assure them that they are being heard. The Gathering has given me a renewed spirit and the strength and courage to keep striving for them.”

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Dwayne Donald – Opening Keynote (Evening, April 24)

Dr. Dwayne Donald is a descendent of the amiskwaciwiyiniwak (Beaver Hills people) and the Papaschase Cree. He is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair and works as a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. His work focuses on ways in which Indigenous wisdom traditions can expand and enhance understandings of curriculum and pedagogy.


We Need a New Story: Walking and the wâhkôhtowin Imagination
Leaked Alberta School Curriculum in Urgent Need of Guidance from Indigenous Wisdom Teachings
A Curriculum for Educating Differently – Unlearning Colonialism and Renewing Kinship Relations

Pod Cast
Fooknconversations: Dr. Dwayne Donald

Homo Economicus and Forgetful Curriculum: Remembering Other Ways to be a Human Being
Unlearning Colonialism in Education

Dr. Marie Battiste – Virtual Keynote (Morning, April 25)

Dr. Marie Battiste is Mi’kmaq of the Potlotek First Nation, and an enrolled member of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs in Maine. After 28 years teaching at the University of Saskatchewan, she is Professor Emerita and continues research and writing from Sydney Nova Scotia where she is also Special Advisor to the Vice President Academic, Provost and to the Dean of Unama’ki College on Decolonizing the Academy at Cape Breton University.

A graduate of Harvard and Stanford Universities, her passion, research and scholarly work in decolonizing education, cognitive justice through balancing diverse knowledge systems and languages, and protecting Indigenous knowledges have earned her five honorary degrees, and an appointment as Officer to the Order of Canada.  She is an elected Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada, and has earned multiple awards for her scholarly work and advocacy in Indigenous decolonial education.

Her publications include, notably Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit (2013), Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Heritage: A Global Challenge (2000), co-authored with J. Youngblood Henderson, and she has several edited book collections, including Visioning Mi’kmaw Humanities: Indigenizing the Academy (CBU Press, 2016);  Living Treaties: Narrating Mi’kmaw Treaty Relations (CBU Press, 2016); Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision (UBC Press, 2000) and First Nations Education in Canada: The Circle Unfolds (UBC Press, 1995).

She and her husband J.Y. (Sakej) Henderson are proud parents to Jaime Battiste; a Member of Parliament for the Sydney Victoria riding; Mariah Battiste, an award winning online entrepreneur of Sundaylace Creations; and Annie Battiste reconciliation consultant and educator, and proud grandparents to Jacoby, a prize-winning Kojua and Pow Wow dancer.


Dr. Battiste’s Slide Deck
Video of Keynote Presentation (only available until April 24, 2024)


Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Douglas Sanderson – Keynote (Lunch, April 25)
(Valley of the Birdtail:  An Indian Reserve, A White Town and the Road to Reconciliation)

Douglas Sanderson (Amo Binashii) is the Prichard Wilson Chair in Law and Public Policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and has served as a senior policy advisor to Ontario’s attorney general and minister of Indigenous affairs. He is Swampy Cree, Beaver clan, of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

Andrew Stobo Sniderman is a writer, lawyer, and Rhodes Scholar from Montreal. He has written for the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, and Maclean’s. He has also argued before the Supreme Court of Canada, served as the human rights policy advisor to the Canadian minister of foreign affairs, and worked for a judge of South Africa’s Constitutional Court.

Video of Keynote Presentation (only available until April 24, 2024)
Presentation Slides

Andrea Menard LLB / LLM – Banquet Keynote (Evening, April 25)

Andrea Menard LL.B, LL.M, she/they/ᐃᐧᔭᐋᐧᐤ wiyawâw, is Métis from the abolished Red River Settlement and is a Métis Nation of Alberta citizen who has has over twenty-five years’ experience in relationship-building with Indigenous Nations across Treaties 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10 as well as the Métis Homeland regions, and with Indigenous Nations in the unceded lands of British Columbia in the government, academic, non-profit, legal, regulatory, and academic sectors. She was voted Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyer in 2022 for her Indigenizing and decolonizing work.

Andrea is the Lead Educational Developer, Indigenizing Curricula and Pedagogies and is cross-appointed with the Centre for Teaching and Learning and the Vice-Provost’s Office, Indigenous Programming & Research. She assists with Indigenizing courses, programs and research initiatives across the University of Alberta. Andrea also instructs Reconciliation and Lawyers at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law; and co-instructs In Search of Reconciliation Through Dispute Resolution at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Find out more about Andrea here: www.indigenousconnect.org

Video of Keynote Presentation (only available until April 24, 2024)
Presentation Slides
Bridging The Gap: A Decolonization Guidebook for K-12 Educators

Dr. Verna St. Denis – Keynote (Morning, April 26)

Dr. Verna St. Denis is a Professor of Education at the University of Saskatchewan and as of January 1st, 2021, Special Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression. Since 1992 she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in integrated anti-racist education in the Department of Educational Foundations. She is both Cree and Metis and a member of the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation. An alumnus of and former teaching staff of Indigenous teacher education programs in Saskatchewan. Completed a B Ed. at the U of S in 1982, Master of Arts at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Education at Stanford University in 2002. In additional to publishing papers and chapters on the need for and experience of teaching anti-racist education to a primarily young white student teacher body, she has co-authored a recent chapter, titled: Contemporary Challenges and Approaches in Anti-Racist Teacher Education, which will be published in the International Encyclopedia of Education, Fall 2022. Another area of her research focuses on improving outcomes for Indigenous students attending public schools by conducting researching on the personal and professional experiences and knowledges of Indigenous teachers working in public schools. This research has resulted in various publications, including among many, a journal article titled: “Silencing Aboriginal Education through Multiculturalism: There are other children here”. Dr. St Denis has also researched and produced a film, titled: Finding and Understanding Their Way: Decolonizing Canadian Education, in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation and filmmaker, Alison Duke. Although the film has been taken out of circulation for one year to honour the memory of the recent death of one of the participants in the film, the film will once again be made available with a two-tier discussion guide Spring 2023, keep your eye on the STF webpage. In spring 2022, along with her two co-editors, Dr. Amanda Gebhard and Dr. Sheelah McLean, Dr. St Denis launched their book titled: White Benevolence: Racism and Colonial Violence in the Helping Professions. Finally, Dr. St Denis is near completion of a small research project titled: “How school leaders narrate their personal and professional engagement with anti-racist education?” Dr. St. Denis is the recipient of various awards, for teaching, best journal article, significant contributions and service to public education.

Video of Keynote Presentation (only available until April 24, 2024)

Film and Discussion Guides:
Understanding and Finding Our Way: Decolonizing Canadian Education
Discussion Guides A and B

White Benevolence: Racism and Colonial Violence in the Helping Professions

Silencing Aboriginal Curricular Content and Perspectives Through Multiculturalism: “There Are Other Children Here”
A Study of Aboriginal Teachers’ Professional Knowledge and Experience in Canadian Schools
Aboriginal Education and Anti-racist Education: Building Alliances Across Cultural and Racial Identity

Gathering Supporters


Twitter handle: @NelsonClassroom
Instagram Handle: @nelsonclassroom

Nelson is Canada’s leading K–12 educational publisher and we have remained dedicated to our legacy of looking forward for over a century. Our commitment to the individualized needs of students, teachers, and administrators continues to fuel our innovation as an educational partner. In 2017, these efforts manifested in Edwin, Nelson’s revolutionary digital platform that provides a common experience for deep, trusted content and boundless learning pathways. Nelson’s visionary digital transformation embodies our promise of equitable, inclusive, and engaging experiences for all teachers and students.

Intellimedia LP offers services and solutions that maximize the value of systems and data to power and achieve organizational success. Equipped with extensive knowledge and experience in business process, data management, and integration, Intellimedia helps organizations expand capabilities of existing systems, as well as complements them with customized solutions.  

An Edmonton-based Software Company, Intellimedia offers licensed software solutions, technical professional services as well as IT and management consulting to K-12 Schools and School Districts. With a well-established Client base in Alberta and numerous others throughout Canada and all around the world, Intellimedia has become a trusted partner to many School Districts, both large and small scale. 

Among our flagship education solutions are Dossier Education Management System, SchoolEngage, and InteliLink all of which help maximize the value of data as well as increase organizational capacity to ease administrative burden.


Alberta Mentoring Partnership (AMP) is a network of community mentoring agencies, government, and youth working together to raise the profile of mentoring in Alberta. We exist to help schools and mentoring agencies meet the needs of the youth they serve. Our mission is working together to strengthen Alberta’s capacity to support and enhance mentoring, and our vision is for young people to thrive through mentoring relationships.

Boxlight is a leading provider of technology solutions for education environments. Our aim is to improve engagement and communication in education environments by offering a full suite of technology and software solutions. The Boxlight education suite includes interactive displays, classroom audio systems, technology to support STEM education and school-wide communication solutions. Our award-winning brands include FrontRow, Mimio, EOS Education, and Clevertouch. We strive to create innovative, user-friendly solutions that can fully integrate into any learning environment.


Pearson is Canada’s leading educational publisher, developing resources for all core curriculum subjects K-12; Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and French as a Second Language. We see the diversity of Canadas students as a strength and are 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.

Visit our website www.pearsoncanada.ca/alberta to learn about our latest resources! Tweet us @PearsonK12 to connect with us!

Professional Learning, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

The Faculty of Education, through it’s Professional Learning programs and courses, provides high-quality educational experiences for teachers in a wide variety of school environments: Indigenous education, rural, urban, public, and Catholic education contexts. We are currently working with Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority (KTCEA), Edmonton Public and Catholic Schools, Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC) and the Fort Vermilion School District, along with graduates from the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP). Our programs go beyond lectures, providing in-service teachers and school leaders with opportunities to engage in authentic tasks and experiences directly linked to their professional needs. We support teachers in all stages of their careers with part-time, flexible, online learning options:

  • The Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (GCES) is for teaching professionals and other educational specialists seeking advanced professional learning. Study on-campus this summer with our Summer Institute in Teaching Foundational Indigenous Knowledge, which is associated with our GCES in Indigenous Education. Other disciplinary focus areas in the Certificate include Contemporary Literacy Education K-9, Early Childhood Education, Education Futures, Mathematics Education, Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities, Technology in Education, and Trauma-Sensitive Practice – courses in these cohorts are offered fully online.
  • The Graduate Certificate in School Leadership (GCSL) provides opportunities to enhance your skills as a school leader, or aspiring leader, by observing and collaborating with a leadership team of your choice. Courses fulfill academic requirements for Alberta’s LQS and SLQS certification and are offered fully online.

Become an agent of change and create thriving learning environments in your school. Visit https://uab.ca/prolearn for all of our exciting learning opportunities.


After almost three decades in business, Staples Canada is ready to embrace all that’s new. The changing nature of entrepreneurship, creativity, working, learning and growing is happening everywhere you look and it has inspired us to focus on your ever-evolving needs.

We’re transforming Staples Canada to The Working and Learning Company – a company that’s committed to being a dynamic, inspiring partner for all our customers. That means staying true to the company that you’ve come to rely on for all your small business and educational needs, while adapting and growing to serve you better. You’ll see growth in our product offerings and expansion in the services you already know and love us for. We’re taking everything we do for you, our customers, to the next level.

*Staples is also providing this year’s Gathering lanyards.

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

Conference occurs at the Fantasyland Hotel, 17700-87 Avenue, Edmonton, AB

Alternate hotels close by include: West Edmonton Mall InnRiver Cree Resort and CasinoCourtyard Edmonton West, and Four Points by Sheraton Edmonton West. Room rates at these venues vary.


Goals for the 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; and
  • 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; and
  • Alberta’s K-12 education system is well governed and managed.

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


April 24 - 26, 2023


Conference occurs at the Fantasyland Hotel, 17700-87 Avenue, Edmonton, AB