Samson Cree Nation Coun. Mario Swampy (left) and vice-president of MESC, signs a historic agreement with Alberta Education on June 20. The agreement sees funding and curriculum development support. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Maskwacis education authority signs with Alberta Education

This new frameworks sees curriculum development and funding supports for Maskwacis students

A final major agreement for Maskwacis Education Schools Commission (MESC) sets the stage for First Nations cultural learning in Maskwacis.

A special ceremony was held June 20, which followed another recent agreement with the federal government, at the Ermineskin Junior Senior High School. Among the attendees were chiefs and councils along with Alberta Education Minister David Eggen.

For MESC superintendent Brian Wildcat, this most recent agreement is an important step for Maskwacis. “It’s significant on many levels,” he explained, adding that he feels it is an important step for other First Nations across the country.

“We’re creating our own education system but also I think it’s significant for all schools in Alberta because the work that will happen, we will be able to contribute and inform the development of curriculum for all schools.”

Figuring out a way to work with the four First Nations on Maskwacis is not an easy task as reserves are considered a federal jurisdiction, and as such, provincial governments tend to stay away from discussing funding or other agreements.

Wildcat praised Alberta’s government for having a desire to connect with First Nations. This is a first step.

“It allows us to have conversations with the Alberta Government to access supports and services that other Alberta schools and other Alberta children have been able to benefit from,” said Wildcat, stating that First Nations students were typically unable to access these services.

Student assessments and curriculum will be developed by MESC and Alberta Education to meet the needs of students in Maskwacis, which will help inform the province. Some funding support is included in this agreement.

For Eggen’s part, there was always an issue of inequity of provincial schools and reserve schools. “We’ve been looking for ways of getting around that, still with the integrity of nation to nation responsibilities for the federal government to provide education.”

Eggen says discussions havecreated additional funding from the federal government and communication lines between Maskwacis and Alberta Education have opened up.

“Now we can get down to business of improving education outcomes here in Maskwacis,” said Eggen.

When asked about how the province was able to side step the federal jurisdiction, Eggen said it took some political will and negotiation.

“The federal government knew the funding was inadequate,” explained Eggen.

“Somewhere between the two we found a way to move forward.”

He is pleased to see a culture-based learning system will be developed that will provide some knowledge to Alberta Education and to MESC students while also giving students fundamental math and English learning.

This agreement sees a shift in power and intention, added Eggen, who said there are many eyes on MESC to see how this framework will shape First Nation students’ education.

Just Posted

Rabbits saved from barn fire in Ponoka County

The Ponoka County East District Fire Department was called to a barn fire

Bashaw peewee club’s season comes to an abrupt end

Players decide not to go into playoffs without one of their teammates

Ponoka man attacked by dogs issues plea to town council

Troubles with bylaw and handling of court case prompts presentation to council

Concerns over town expressed to Ponoka County council

Resident warns county council in collaboration discussions with Town of Ponoka, council notes its own concerns

Ponoka County resident wants $62,000 in lease revenue

County approves revenue to landowner going forward, legal review to look at retroactive funds

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Ponoka host to Bayer Crop Science seed innovations trade show

The company held a trade show with seed crop science industry partners at the ag event centre

Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dies at 77

Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith formed the made-for-television rock band

Lacombe welcomes ‘Napalm Girl’ to discuss journey from hatred to forgiveness

Latest Herr Lecture to feature Kim Phuc Phan Thi at LMC

Millennial men least likely to have a family doctor: Statistics Canada

Report found more women have primary care physicians, compared with men

Alberta to play for gold in wheelchair basketball

Action-packed first week of Canada Winter Games nearly a wrap

Most Read