A Brief History of the Education Commission

We often turn to our elders for advice, knowing they hold much knowledge regarding our cultural traditions, our languages, and our way of life. Our elders have a clear vision of who we are as a people, and direct us in this regard. The vision of a comprehensive education system for the people of Treaty 8 came from our elders. It is from this vision that the Treaty 8 Education Commission was formed.

The Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta Education Commission has functioned as an advisory committee since 1997. Initially, it began as an ad-hoc committee of Tribal council and independent First Nation Directors of Education. The purpose was to foster communications and build relationships between the Treaty 8 (Alberta) communities. Discussion regarding the state of First Nations education, common issues, and possible solutions evolved at this table over time.

The Education Commission became an official Committee of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta on March 29, 2004 with the passing of motion #06-29-03-2004 of the Executive Board to accept the Terms of Reference. These Terms of Reference have been updated and amended on various occasions over time. The most recent TOR, which can be found here (link to doc) was approved by motion of the Executive Board on February 27, 2014. Throughout this history, the mandate of Treaty 8 Education Commission has remained:

“The Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta Education Commission, in conjunction and consultation with their respective communities, will establish an exceptional comprehensive education system, within the scope of our inherent, sovereign, and treaty rights to provide lifelong learning, First Nation language and culture programs, and an excellent quality academic curriculum. The Education Commission is mandated authority to approve regulations and to establish procedures to implement policies as passed by the Executive Board.”

The Commission, through the office of the Treaty 8 Director of Education, has consistently worked towards fulfilling this mandate. Each Director has undertaken activities – whether they are policy development, community engagements, or delivery of services – to move our people closer to actualizing this vision.

Most recently, The Commission invited community stakeholders to engage in strategic planning sessions to define Principles and a Framework Model for communities to cooperatively deliver second level educational services. These sessions were held in Edmonton, AB in September, October, and November of 2013. The result of these meetings was the development of a draft proposal outlining the Guiding Principles for Education and a Framework Model for the governance and administration of second level services. These documents can be found here.

Upon conclusion of the strategic planning process, the Guiding Principles and Framework have been presented at a number of forums for feedback. These include Chiefs and Councils from Treaty 8 (Alberta) communities, the Treaty 8 Elder’s Council, the Treaty 8 Education Commission, Local Education Directors and Education Portfolio Councilors, Principals, The Treaty 8 Executive Board, the Assembly of Treaty 8 Chiefs, and some community-wide forums. It should be noted that accountability and transparency are a part of the Guiding Principles, so these presentations continue to be available to communities upon request.

On May 12, 2014 this model was endorsed by the Assembly of Treaty 8 (Alberta) Chiefs via motion #05-12-2014-02. This motion can be found here (link to doc). Many activities have been taking place since the motion to implement the Framework Model. Policy development in the area of governance, personnel, finance, transportation, inclusive education, communications, information technology and management for Support Services has been ongoing, and is at various stages of the vetting process. Terms of Reference for Advisory Committees have been drafted and are also going through our internal approval process. Development of second level services to member communities is ongoing as we move forward in realizing the mandate of the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta Education Commission.

It is important to note that the communities have always been very clear about their autonomy and authority over Education. As such, the Framework Model is a means to provide support and services to communities they may not otherwise have access to, and to assist them in strengthening their authority and control over their Education systems. It is not modeled after a provincial-style school authority that centralizes control of governance and financial administration.



The Treaty 8 Education Commission prioritizes communication and collaboration from the membership of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta. This communication section is a compilation of the Special Education and Special Projects Newsletters and other important documents and reports.


Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta members are proud, confident people who will flourish with an excellent quality First Nation Education System set within a holistic (mind, body, emotion, and spirit) framework.


To explore the building of a First Nation Comprehensive Education System for Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta that does not derogate or abrogate the Treaty No. 8 because we firmly believe education is a treaty right.

To involve the First Nation grassroots people of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta within the process that will give direction towards mission, vision, goals, and objectives of a First Nations Education System for the members.

The Treaty 8 Education Commission, in conjunction and consultation with their respective communities, will establish a First Nation Comprehensive Education System that will provide for Lifelong Learning, First Nation Language/Culture Programming and excellent quality academic curriculum in a holistic manner.


Rita Marten ( ATC )

Chester Auger ( BCN )

Daphne Mai’stoina ( KTC )

Cheryl Sheldon ( LSLIRC )

Karen Horseman ( WCTC)

Lori Aliche ( NPTC)

Gordon Breen ( LRRCN )

Barbara Taylor ( Sucker Creek)

April Giroux (Swan River First Nation)

Laura Giroux  ( Driftpile )

Elder  Rep:

Theresa Tuccaro ( Mikisew )

Alternate Elder – Harry Lawrence (Duncan)


Click here to Download The Guiding Principles Poster

Click here to Download Education Commission Documents.

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3rd annual Treaty 8 Writing Contest – Results

April 4, 2016April 4, 2016
Dear Principals,
I am very happy to report that the 3rd annual Treaty 8 Writing Contest was very successful with over 110 student entries and 6 schools participating. Every student entry will receive a certificate of participation.  Each Division Winner will receive a $100.00 gift card and the runner ups will receive a $50.00 gift card. I am pleased to announce the winners and runner ups for each division.
Division One:
  • Winner- Deshaye Coleman from Driftpile School with his report on Polar Bears
  • Runner Up- Latisha Alook from Chief Tallcree with her report on Eagles
  • Runner Up- Denzel Chalifoux from Driftple School with his report on Eagles
  • Division Two:
  • Winner- Kiana Auger from Clarence Jaycox School with her report on Elephants Runner Up- Shenoa Auger from Clarence Jaycox School with her report on Octopus
  •   Division Three:
  • Winner – Lesleigh Madison Noskey from Clarence Jaycox School with her report on Lacrosse
  • Runner Up- Kayla Alook from Jean Baptise Sewepagaham School with her report on Fingerpull
  • Division Four:
  • Winner- Naokan Adams from Jean Baptise Sewepagaham School with her report on Rebellion.
  •   Writing begins in Kindergarten and to encourage these students to get writing the two kindergarten classes that participated in the writing contest will each receive a class award of a $50.00 gift card. The two K5 classes are from Driftpile School and Fox Lake Elementary School.
    Thank you to all of the schools, teachers and students who were encouraged to write.
    Christina Jervah-
    Literacy and Numeracy Specialist for Treaty 8 First Nations  of Alberta


    December 16, 2015December 16, 2015
    Date: August 25, 2015 Another First Nation within Treaty No. 8 is holding a cultural camp to raise awareness on a "broken First Nation consultation policy". Swan River First Nation, along with Driftpile Cree Nation, is the second community in recent months to set up a cultural camp to highlight the unabated development activity happening on their traditional territory... Read the full Press Release here


    December 16, 2015
    Date: October 21, 2015 Yesterday, the Treaty 8 Chiefs met with Premier Notley at a meeting between the provincial government and the Chiefs of Treaty No. 8.  This meeting was composed of the Premier, Ministers, and the Chiefs from across northern Alberta.  The Chiefs have expressed their cautious optimism after the meeting... Read the full Press Release here