NEA board member
MESC board member
As First Nations we have always valued education, historically we all had a role and responsibility in the educational process of teaching and learning. The responsibility of education was held within each of the roles that we carried. Whether it was the elder sharing teachings and knowledge, the parents and relatives teaching skills, or the child learning and practicing – education was a tool to equip the young to take on their role as they matured, developed, and grew into it. The individual skills and gifts our ancestors possessed as leaders, hunters, warriors, visionaries, strategists or negotiators were utilized collectively to benefit the society as a whole.
When contact with the settlers occurred our ancestors were relied upon for their knowledge and skills and this formed the basis of a relationship that would allow the settlers to both transition and find wealth and success in this land we were willing to share with them. This relationship led to treaties being made between First Nations (recognized as sovereign) and the British Crown (settlers). Agreements that were to ultimately benefit both sides “For as long as the grass grows, the rivers flow, and the sun shines”. Included in these treaty agreements was the promise of education for our people as a new way of life was now upon them and new institutions of learning were being formed. Our people were going to have to acquire this new form of education to find success in both worlds.
Historically, when it comes to education, our past does not tell a good story and was it not the vision our ancestors had for it. However, as survivors, we are here today to change that story and re-write a new history of education from this generation on. Despite the fact that the treaty relationship has been unequal we continue to exercise our treaty right to education to benefit our people. We are all treaty people of this land and so we all have a duty and obligation to recognize and respect this relationship. The post secondary student support program under Nipisihkopahk Education Authority works diligently to ensure our students receive the supports and funding necessary to achieve academic success at the post secondary level; from the policies developed to support excellence in education, to the pursuit of funding to meet the educational needs of our ever-growing population.
We recognize the importance and continue the support of our youth and students today to have a complete education that will allow them to succeed in the two worlds we live in as Nipisihkopahkinowahk, Samson Cree Nation members. As Chairman of the post second student services program this is our shared vision for our students – to attain higher levels of education and utilize that education, as in the past, to benefit our society as a whole. In today’s world, post secondary education is a requirement for most occupations and so to help our people progress and advance our nations forward we must attain and succeed at the highest levels of education, in all areas. Samson Cree Nation has many success stories of those who have attained higher levels of education and we want to continue this legacy as we move forward. We will continue to raise the bar of excellence for ourselves as a board, for our students, for our Nation and for our future generations.
Ay hiy nanaskomtinawaw!