In 1977, the twelve First Nations located in central and northern Saskatchewan established a political alliance which they named the Prince Albert District Chiefs (PADC). The alliance went through a number of name changes over the next thirty years: PADC became PATC (Prince Albert Tribal Council) and then PAGC (Prince Albert Grand Council).
The signatories to the PAGC Act are divided into the following Sectors:
- Black Lake
- Fond du Lac
- Hatchet Lake
- Cumberland House
- Red Earth
- Shoal Lake
- James Smith
- Sturgeon Lake
Woodland Cree Sector:
- Lac La Ronge
- Montreal Lake
- Peter Ballantyne
The Member First Nations/Bands assumed a principled approach early in their association and agreed that the following principles would define their working relationship:
PRINCIPLE I: FIRST NATIONS/BANDS GOVERNMENT JURISDICTION, LAWS AND POLICIES
To promote and protect Member First Nation/Band Governments through the establishment of Grand Council structures and supporting institutions in accordance with the principle of the primacy of the Member First Nation/Band governments and the Treaties.
PRINCIPLE II: TREATY PROTECTION
To promote and protect the rights of Member First Nations/Bands as represented herein, including rights accrued to the parties hereto, resulting from the international Treaties which were entered into between the First Nations/Bands and the Crown of Great Britain and of Ireland, their heirs and successors, as represented by the Governments of the People of Canada, and upon the Government and People of the Member First Nations/Bands as herein represented. The Treaties shall be interpreted according to their spirit and intent as understood by the Member First Nations/Bands.
PRINCIPLE III: PROMOTION OF FIRST NATIONS/BANDS RIGHTS
To promote the betterment of sovereign indigenous Peoples by advancing their well-being, languages, education, health, economic, spiritual, cultural, land, natural resources and political rights.
PRINCIPLE IV: REPRESENT COMMON ISSUES
To develop a common action plan on matters of mutual interest to the First Nations/Bands, Tribal Councils and the Prince Albert Grand Council.
PRINCIPLE V: PROMOTE JURISDICTION
To recognize and affirm each Member First Nation’s/Band’s jurisdiction and territory and to promote the exercise of that jurisdiction over those territories.
PRINCIPLE VI: PRIMACY OF MEMBER FIRST NATIONS/BANDS
The terms and conditions of this Convention shall not be construed to mean that any rights, powers, or jurisdiction of the Member First Nations/Bands who are parties to this Convention are affected in any way, shape or form, unless with the consent of the parties hereto, and that no rights or powers shall be created for the Prince Albert Grand Council or the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations without the ratification of all the Member First Nations/Bands.
PRINCIPLE VII: MEMBER FIRST NATIONS/BANDS CONSTITUTIONS / CONVENTIONS
The Member First Nations/Bands agree to establish their own constitutions/conventions outlining the said powers, rights, and obligations inherent in their traditional values and customs.
PRINCIPLE VIII: GOVERNING BODIES OF PRINCE ALBERT GRAND COUNCIL
The Member First Nations/Bands of the Prince Albert Grand Council agree to establish the Council of Chiefs and the Annual Assembly as the governing bodies of the Prince Albert Grand Council for the purpose of developing or adopting laws consistent with the duties and powers delegated to them by the Member First Nations Band.
PRINCIPLE IX: POWERS, DUTIES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Prince Albert Grand Council will have the following delegated powers, duties and responsibilities subject to the limitations imposed by the Member First Nations/Bands;
- to protect and strengthen Member First Nations’/Bands’ inherent right to self government as bestowed by the Creator;
- to protect, defend, preserve, and reclaim First Nations/Bands traditional territories and resources;
- to safeguard and promote the implementation of Treaties and other international agreements entered into by Member First Nations/Bands;
- to safeguard and promote the special relationship with the Crown as established by Treaty and recognized and affirmed by the Canadian Constitution 1982;
- to initiate dialogue, develop working relations, and negotiate with other First Nation/Band governments and other governments based upon the principles enunciated in this Convention;
- to plan, develop, and establish policies, regulations, and procedures to execute decisions made by Council;
- to hold in trust and safeguard any and all acquired property for the benefit of the Member First Nations/Bands as established by various executive, legislative and judicial acts and trust instruments;
- to report annually to each Member First Nation/Band and to account for all political and fiscal action undertaken by the Prince Albert Grand Council. These continue to guide the Chiefs in their deliberations with respect to common issues.
The Chiefs of the Member First Nations/Bands and their terms of office over the thirty year history [as provided by Indian Affairs] include:
Black Lake Denesuline First Nation
- Alphonse, Leon - (July 7, 1982 - Feb. 3, 1983)
- Boneleye, Edwin - (Jan. 9 , 1999 - Jan. 8, 2001)
- Cook, Leon - (July 8, 1977 - July 6, 1980)
- Cook Thomas Leon - (July 7, 1980 - July 6, 1982)
- Echodh, Victor - (Jan. 20, 2001 - Dec. 22, 2003)
- Robillard, Ronald Albert - (Aug. 23, 1996 - Jan. 8, 1999)
- Robillard, Daniel - (Sept. 20, 1984 - June 19, 1987),( Jan. 10, 1992 - Oct. 4, 1994)
- Sayazie, Donald - (June 20, 1987 - Jan. 9, 1992),( Oct. 5, 1994 - Aug. 22, 1996)
- Toutsaint, Ben - (Feb. 4, 1983 - Sept. 19, 1984)
- Throassie, Frederick - (May 28, 2004 - June 12, 2008)
Cumberland House Cree Nation
- Laliberte, Joseph - (May 7, 1981 - May 30, 1983), (May 31, 1983 - May 23, 1985), (May 24, 1985 - Sept. 4, 1986)
- Laliberty, Peter - (Apr. 16, 2003 - Apr. 15, 2005)
- Settee, Pierre - (April 12, 1977 - April 11, 1979),( April 12, 1979 - May 6, 1981),( Sept. 5, 1986 - June 4, 1987),( June 5, 1987 - June 8, 1989),( June 9, 1989 - June 3, 1991),( June 4, 1991 - May 25, 1993),( May 26, 1993 - May 25, 1995),( June 2, 1995 - Mar. 14, 1997),( May 15, 1997 - Mar. 14, 1999),( Mar. 25, 2001 - Mar. 24, 2003)
- Sewap, Walter George - (Mar. 24, 1999 - Mar. 14, 2001),( Mar. 31, 2005 - Mar. 30, 2007)
Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation
- Adam, Alan Billy - (Dec. 17, 2004 - Aug. 7, 2005)
- Adam, Germain - (???? - July 7, 1980 )
- Fern, George - (Mar. 28, 1987 - Aug. 11, 1987),( Apr. 2, 1992 - Apr. 5, 1993)
- Fern, Pierre - (July 6, 1976 - June 18, 1979)
- Fern, Victor Donald - (Sept. 9, 2005 - Sept. 2007)
- Isadore, Caroline - (Mar. 16, 1996 - Oct. 24, 1996),( Oct. 25, 1996 - Oct. 24, 1997),( Nov. 3, 1997 - July 21, 1998)
- Marten, Isadore (Edward) - (July 1, 1999 - June 30, 2001),( Aug. 10, 2001 - Aug. 7, 2003),( Aug. 9, 2003 -Oct. 11, 2004)
- Marten, Joe - (Apr. 6, 1993 - Aug. 16, 1993)
- Mercredi, Adolphus - (Mar. 17, 1981 - Apr. 21, 1985),( Apr. 22, 1985 - Aug. 8, 1985),( Jan. 31, 1994 - Aug. 2, 1995)
- Mercredi, August - (June 19, 1979 - Mar. 21, 1980),( Mar. 22, 1980 - ????),( Aug. 9, 1985 - Feb. 6, 1986),( Oct. 27, 1987 - Apr. 21, 1989),( Apr. 22, 1989 - Apr. 28, 1991),( Aug. 17, 1993 - Jan. 30, 1994)
- Mercredi, Napoleon - (Apr. 29, 1991 - Apr. 1, 1992),( Aug. 3, 1995 - Mar. 15, 1996),( July 22, 1998 - June 30, 1999)
- Mercredi, Roger - (Aug, 12, 1987 - Oct. 26, 1987)
Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation
- Benonie, Edward - (Nov. 26, 1988 - Aug. 13, 1990),( Aug. 14, 1990 - Mar. 14, 1991)
- Besskkaystare, Joseph - (Sept. 1, 1977 - Oct. 23, 1978)
- Hanson, Emilien - (May 13, 1994 - May 23, 1996),( May 24, 1996 - Dec. 13, 1996),( May 13, 1998 - July 3, 1998)
- Joseyounen, Angus - (May 21, 1987 - Nov. 26, 1988),( May 30, 2002 - Sept. 29, 2004)
- Josie, Louis Peter - (May 20, 2000 - May 12, 2002),( Oct. 29, 2004 - May 10, 2005),( June 8, 2005 - May 12, 2007)
- Josie, Martin - (Oct. 23, 1978 - Aug. 30, 1981)
- Kkailther, Hector - (Aug. 31, 1984 - Mar. 13, 1985),( Mar. 14, 1985 - Feb. 13, 1986),( Dec. 16, 1996 - May 12, 1998)
- Natomagan, Laura - (July 4, 1998 - May 12, 2000)
- Tsannie, Alfred - (Sept. 22, 1993 - May 12, 1994)
- Tsannie, Joe - (Aug. 31, 1981 - Aug. 30, 1984),( Feb. 14, 1986 - May 20, 1987),( Mar. 15, 1991 - Apr. 5, 1992),( Apr. 6, 1992 - Sept. 21, 1993)
- Tsannie, Joseph Boniface - (Oct. 31, 1976 - Aug. 31, 1977)
- Tsannie, Rosalie - (June 1, 2007 - May 30, 2010)
James Smith Cree Nation
- Burns, James RZ - (Apr. 25, 1979 - Feb. 5, 1981)
- Constant, Luther - (Jan. 25, 2006 - Jan. 30, 2008)
- Constant, Walter - (Feb. 20, 1989 - Jan. 17, 1992),( June 2, 2000 - Jan. 24, 2002),( Jan. 31, 2002 - Jan. 30, 2004)
- Daniels, Isaac - (Feb. 6, 1981 - Feb. 8, 1983)
- Head, Eddie - (Oct. 25, 1997 - Jan. 24, 2000)
- Marion, George Michael E. - (Jan. 28, 2004 - Jan. 30, 2006)
- McLean, Angus - (Feb. 9, 1983 - Feb. 10, 1985),( Feb. 11, 1985 - Feb. 10, 1985),( Feb. 11, 1985 - Jan. 11, 1987)
- Sanderson, Solomon - (Apr. 25, 1977 - Apr. 24, 1979)
- Sanderson, Terry - (Feb. 13, 1987 - Feb. 9, 1989 ),( Jan. 18, 1992 - Feb. 10, 1994),( Feb. 11, 1994 - Feb. 16, 1996),( Mar. 29, 1996 - Oct. 24, 1997)
Lac la Ronge Indian Band
- Cook, Harry - (July 15, 1987 - July 14, 1989),( July 15, 1989 - July 14, 1991),( July 15, 1991 - July 14, 1993),( July 15, 1993- July 14, 1995),( July 15, 1995- July 14, 1997),( July 15, 1997- July 14, 1999),( Apr. 1, 1999 - Mar. 31, 2002),( Apr. 1, 2002 - Mar. 31, 2005)
- Cook- Searson, Tammy Miriam - (Apr. 1, 2005 - Mar. 31, 2008)
- McKenzie, James Thomas - (July 15, 1983 - July 14, 1985)
- Venne, James Myles - (July 15, 1977 - July 14, 1981),( July 15, 1981 - July 14, 1983),( July 15, 1985 - July 14, 1987)
Montreal Lake Cree Nation
- Bird, Allen J. - (Apr. 28, 1976 - Apr. 27, 1978)
- Bird, Gilbert - (Apr. 28, 1978 - Apr. 27, 1980)
- Bird, Lionel - (Apr. 5, 2005 - Apr. 4, 2008)
- Bird, Richie - (Mar. 13, 1999 - Mar. 12, 2002),( Mar. 23, 2002 - Mar. 22, 2005)
- Bird, Roy H. - (Apr. 28, 1980 - Apr. 24, 1982),( Apr. 25, 1982 - Apr. 27, 1984),( Apr. 28, 1984 - Apr. 27, 1986),( Oct. 24, 1993 - Oct. 23, 1995)
- Henderson, Edward Noland - (Sept. 28, 1991 - Sept. 27, 1993)
- Naytowhow, Henry - (Apr. 28, 1986 - Apr. 27, 1988),( Apr. 28, 1988 - Sept. 27, 1991),( Mar. 14, 1996 - Mar. 12, 1999)
Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation
- Custer, Joe - (June 15, 1979 - June 9, 1983),( June 10, 1983 - June 18, 1985)
- Custer, Susan Bertha - (Apr.9, 2001 - Apr. 8, 2003)
- McCallum, Darryl - (Apr. 9, 2007 - Apr. 8, 2009)
- Michel, Ron - (June 19, 1985 - June 8, 1987),( June 8, 1987 - June 11, 1989),( June 12, 1989 - June 13, 1991),( June 14, 1991 - June 14, 1993),( June 15, 1993 - Apr. 5, 1995),( Apr. 10, 1995 - Apr. 8, 1997),( Apr.9, 1997 - Apr. 8, 1999),( Apr.9, 1999 - Apr. 8, 2001),( Apr.9, 2003 - Apr. 8, 2005),( Apr. 12, 2005 - Oct. 19, 2005)
- Morin, Philiip - (June 14, 1977 - June 14, 1979)
Red Earth Cree Nation
- Head, Alvin (r) - (Feb. 14, 1978 - Oct. 12, 1980 ),( Feb. 27, 1984 - Oct. 29, 1986)
- Head, Cyril - (Mar. 5, 1993 - Mar. 4, 1996)
- Head, John William (d) - (Oct. 13, 1977 - Feb. 14, 1978)
- Head, Philip - (Oct. 29, 1986 - Feb. 19, 1987),( Feb. 20, 1987 - Feb. 27, 1990),( Feb. 28, 1990 - Mar. 3, 1993)
- Head, Roy Conrad - (Mar. 9, 1996 - Mar. 7, 1999)
- Nawakayas, Miller - (Mar. 8, 1999 - Mar. 7, 2002),( Mar. 9, 2002 - Mar. 7, 2005),( Mar. 8, 2005 - Mar. 7, 2008)
Shoal Lake Cree Nation
- Bear, Gerald D. - (August 11, 1982 - July 25, 1984)
- Head, Marcel Vergil - (June 8, 1999 - May 19, 2008)
- Head, Norman Duncan - (Dec 18, 1978 - July 1, 1981)
- Lathlin, Walter (r) - (July 2, 1981 - Aug. 11, 1982)
- Whitecap, Charles - (July 25, 1984 - July 6, 1990)
- Whitecap, Dennis - (July 7, 1990 - June 5, 1999)
- Young, Thomas - (June 25, 1975 - Dec. 18, 1978)
Sturgeon Lake First Nation
- Charles, John - (Nov. 23, 1979 - Feb. 28, 1981)
- Daniels, Henry - (Mar. 1, 1980 - Nov. 21, 1982),( Nov. 22, 1982 - Oct. 21, 1984),( Nov. 5, 1988 - Oct. 25, 1990)
- Daniels, Willard Henry - (Apr. 1, 2004 - Mar. 31, 2007)
- Daniels, Wesley - (Oct. 22, 1984 - Oct. 17, 1986),( Oct. 17, 1986 - Nov. 5, 1988),( Oct. 26, 1990 - Nov. 8, 1992),( Mar. 27, 1998 - Mar. 26, 2001)
- Ermine, Earl - (Nov. 11, 1992 - Mar. 16, 1995),( Mar. 17, 1995 - Mar. 16, 1998),( Mar. 27, 2001 - Mar. 26, 2004)
- Kingfisher, Harold - (Jan. 24, 1977 - Jan. 28, 1979)
- Naytowhow, Andrew - (Jan. 29, 1979 - Sept. 5, 1979)
Wahpeton Dakota First Nation
- Omani, Leo - (May 29, 1981 - May 28, 1984),( June 1, 1996 - May 31, 1999)
- Standing, Cyrus Merril - (May 20, 1975 - May 29, 1978),( Mar. 30, 1978 - Mar. 10, 1980),( June 1, 1984 - May 28, 1987 ),( May 29, 1993 - May 28, 1996)
- Standing, Garry - (June 1, 1999 - May 31, 2002),( June 6, 2002 - June 2, 2005),( June 3, 2005 - June 2, 2008)
- Waditika, Lorne - (May 29, 1987 - May 28, 1990),( May 29, 1990 - May 28 - 1993)
The PAGC vision and mission statements focus on the protection and implementation of the Treaties that were signed by the First Nations and the Crown in right of Great Britain. As well, the Prince Albert Grand Council is committed to support its member First Nations achieve and implement independent, progressive self-governments and improve the quality of life for their constituents through appropriate and productive social and economic strategies.
PAGC Community Services
Documentation that pertains specifically to the Prince Albert Grand Council
The Head Office of the Prince Albert Grand Council is located on Opawakoscikan Reserve #201, within the City of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The following documents to be cited pertain specifically to Prince Albert Grand Council as a tribal organization, formally known as the Prince Albert Tribal Council and the Prince Albert District Chiefs. Thus, the information to be presented will not only be historical in nature, but will also provide an insight to the services now offered, both to the home reserve communities in northern Saskatchewan and in the urban center, by the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) to its twelve member First Nations, noted as follows:
- Cumberland House Cree Nation;
- Red Earth Cree Nation;
- Shoal Lake Cree Nation;
- James Smith Cree Nation;
- Sturgeon Lake First Nation;
- Montreal Lake Cree Nation;
- Lac La Ronge Indian Band;
- Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation;
- Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation;
- Black Lake Denesuline First Nation;
- Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation; and
- Wahpeton Dakota Nation.
PAGC has and continues to administer and provides the following second & third level services to its twelve member First Nations:
- PAGC Education: in reference to a First Nation Language Consultant, Curriculum Development, Physiologist, Post – Secondary; etc.;
- PAGC Urban Services: with regard to First Nation funding for Vocational and Technical Training previously offered by Canada Employment Centres;
- PAGC Low Income Housing Units: as this pertains to Northern Spruce Housing Inc.;
- PAGC Health & Social Development: in reference to Sakwatamo Lodge, Spruce Lodge, the White Buffalo Treatment Centre, First Nation Child Welfare Services, Hiring of Nurses, Doctors, Dentists, etc.;
- PAGC Sports, Culture & Recreation;
- PAGC Justice: with regard to Court Work Services, PAGC Healing Lodge for men being released from the federal and provincial men’s correctional centres;
- PAGC Engineering & Technical Services;
- PAGC Economic Development: in reference to Agriculture, Forestry, and a Business Partnership through the Prince Albert Development Corporation (PADC); which owns three hotels: the P.A. Inn, the Madison Inn, the Marlboro Inn, as well as a number of office complexes, and the building for the Northern Lights Casino. In addition, Prince Albert Development Corporation (PADC) is a partner in a number of other joint ventures.
It is now noted, when the Prince Albert Student Education Centre came to a close in 1997, the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) by then had in its place, the required second level services in the area of education, to provide to its twelve member First Nations and their twenty-six First Nations; in reference the education services now provided by Prince Albert Grand Council Chiefs Education Board, for example a First Nation Language Consultant, Curriculum Development, Physiologist, Post – Secondary, etc. (PAGC Annual Report, 2001:55-64).
One can truly say that the leadership of the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) and its twelve member First Nations, have worked hard, as was the case of the former leadership of this organization, and have achieved a lot since the 1969 White Paper, to ensure the Federal Government of Canada keeps its treaty commitment of education to First Nation youth (Leo J. Omani, March 19th, 2002). For Senator Allen Bird did say, “We are here for a very important reason; it is for our grandchildren so that they may have a good future” (Cardinal & Hilderbrandt, 2000:71).
Indian Residential Schools
Having cited the activities and services as provided currently by the Prince Albert Grand Council to its’ twelve member First Nations, the next document to be discussed directly relates to the membership of the Prince Albert Grand Council and provides an insight to the history of Indian Residential Schooling in Prince Albert from 1867 to 1995.
Title: Differing Visions, Indian Residential Schooling in Prince Albert, 1867 – 1995
Author(s): Noel Dyck
Publisher: Fernwood Publishing, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1997.
Location: Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, Regina & Prince Albert, Sask.
Summary: This book reviews the historical chronological sequence of residential schooling by various organizations within the location now known as the City of Prince Albert, from 1867 to 1995 (spanning over a period of a total of 128 years). The content noted in this book provides an analysis of the approach taken by the church, the state in reference to the Department of Indian Affairs, as well as the Prince Albert Grand Council to educate First Nation children.
First, from an historical perspective, this book cites the following name changes and dates with regard to the organizations that provided residential schooling to First Nation children within the City of Prince Albert (Dyck, 1997:12):
- Presbyterian Mission School and Emmanual College (1867 – 1908);
- St. Alban’s and All Saints Indian Residential Schools (1944 – 1951);
- Prince Albert Indian Residential School (1951 – 1969);
- Prince Albert Student Residence (1969 – 1985);
- Prince Albert Indian Student Education Centre (1985 – 1995).
A detail discussion is provided by the author now how First Nation leaders and parents continuously pushed for a better service for education of First Nation children, when residential schooling was first controlled by the church, then by the Department of Indian Affairs, noting both of these two organizations in turn pushed for the acculturation and assimilation of First Nation children within the dominate society (Dyck, 1997:7-94). However, once the Prince Albert Grand Council took full control in 1985 and began to better service the needs of First Nation children in the area of education, social development programming, as well as reinforcing their First Nation language and cultural identity, the Department of Indian Affairs in turn immediately began the process of considering the closure of residential schooling in the 1990s within the City of Prince Albert (Dyck, 1997:95-120).
Aware that the Department of Indian Affairs was considering the closure of the Prince Albert Indian Student Education Centre (PAISEC), the author made the following statement as part of his conclusions related to this topic: the remarkable achievements registered by Indian people at PAISEC in ten short years to reverse more than a century of assimilationist purposes can be best appreciated when these are systematically contracted to the previous direction of residential schooling for Indian children by church and state (Dyck, 1997:125).
Having provided a brief summary of residential schooling to First Nation children within the City of Prince Albert, the following document also directly relates to the membership of the Prince Albert Grand Council and provides an insight, from 1894 to 1944, with regard to the history of St. Michael’s Indian Residential School, which was located at Duck Lake, Saskatchewan.
Title: St. Michael’s Indian Residential School, Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, 1894 – 1944
Author(s): Jules Le Chevallier, OMT, Roman Catholic Church
Publisher: Duck Lake Historical Society, 1944
Location: Saskatchewan Achieves, University of Saskatchewan, Murray Building.
Summary: Although the St. Michael’s Indian Residential School did operate until the early 1990s, this book written by a representative of the Roman Catholic Church only reviews the history of the first fifty years of operation of this Residential School, from 1894 to 1944. While a considerable amount of information has now been written about the negative impact on First Nation children and their parents that attended these Indian residential schools, this book written in 1944 paints a glorious picture of the Catholic faith, and mentions the St. Michael’s Indian Residential School’s … unparalleled success in the civilizing task to which it has been assigned (Chevallier, 1944:61). Clearly, the previous quote is now of course very questionable to say the least, as is the following comments drawn from this book, with regard to the data cited below (Leo J. Omani, November 16th, 2001).
The book cited that [d]uring the fifty years [from 1894 to 1944], St. Michael’s [Indian Residential] School … educated … 914 First Nation children …454 boys and 460 girls (Chevallier, 1944:61). It then noted, [a]s in all things human there have been deficiencies to deplore, errors to repair.
The author goes to states, [w]e must humbly admit that certain pupils did not live up to the high standards of virtue and righteousness points out to them. The book then comments, [n]otwithstanding these irrefutable facts, be it said, in all truth, that a sufficient number of sparkling jewels remain to adorn the golden crown of this jubilee-day (Chevallier, 1944:61).
The book concludes with an appendix, citing the names of religious staff of St. Michael’s Indian Residential School from 1894 to 1944, the names of the first students that attended this Indian residential school, and the honour roll of ex-students that volunteered for active service with Canada’s Armed Forces totalling 59 in all, of which the following PAGC members from Sturgeon Lake First Nation were named: Willie Daniels, and Jacob Longjohn (Chevallier, 1944:65-67).
Provincial Schools in Northern Saskatchewan Prior to 1944
The following document directly relates to the membership of the Prince Albert Grand Council, in this case a report written in 1944 with regard to the Educational Facilities in Northern Saskatchewan.
Title: Survey of Educational Facilities in Northern Saskatchewan, Part I, Dec. 18, 1944
Author(s): C. H. Piercy, Superintendent of Schools, Kinistino, Saskatchewan
Publisher: Northern Lights School Division No: 113, La Ronge, Saskatchewan
Location: Northern Lights School Division No: 113, La Ronge, Saskatchewan
Summary: This report was written in 1944 and includes historic data about the provincial schools that operated in northern Saskatchewan, prior to 1944. It also includes data pertaining to the geography, location and lifestyle of the people residing in northern Saskatchewan, including the First Nations and Métis peoples residing within the boundary of what is now known as the Prince Albert Grand Council.
It was noted by the author, [f]or the purpose of this report, the areas included in Part I consist of the territory lying north of the line running Township 54 from the Manitoba boundary to the Third Meridian, then along the south boundaries of the Prince Albert National Park and The Big River Forest Reserve, then up the south boundary line of Township 58, and finally along this line to the Alberta border (Piercy, 1944:1). The document then goes on to provide a description of the area and notes [t]his vast territory comprises approximately one-half of the area of the province of Saskatchewan (Piercy, 1944:1).
Having provided the description of the area pertaining to the above-mentioned survey, the author then noted, [a]long its southern fringe is a wide clay belt whose northern edge extends roughly from Cumberland House to the southern end of Lac La Ronge, and thence north-westerly to Portage La Loche. This belt is covered with an overgrowth of poplar, jackpine and spruce, interspersed with large blocks of muskeg. The soil generally is unfit for agriculture although fertile pockets do occur at Cumberland, Candle Lake, Montreal Lake, Green Lake and Beauval. The area is the home of furbearing animals. The forest produces considerable merchantable lumber, pulpwood and cordwood. The lakes are well stocked with whitefish, jackfish and pickerel (Piercy, 1944:1). In addition, the author cites, [n]orth of the clay area, rock formation replaces clay. There is an overlay of poplar, jackpine and spruce. Towards the north, the trees become shorter and smaller in diameter, and stands of commercial timber is small … [a]bout one-half of the surface of this area is under water and the lakes abound with fish (Piercy, 1944:1).
In having discussed the land, the forbearing animals, and fish pertaining to the commercial value for northern Saskatchewan, the author turns his attention to the people that reside in the area of the survey, noting those who reside in this area are Indians, [Métis], and Whites. The author then proceeded to sub-divide these people into the following categories:
- The Treaty Indians;
- The Non-Treaty Indians;
- The [Métis];
- The Whites; and
- The White Man married to a Native (Piercy, 1944:1-2).
The occupations of the people that reside in this area were also discussed, noting that [f]or the most part, the people gain their livelihood by fishing and trapping. The chief source of income for the purchase of store goods has been the fur catch. In recent years, fishing companies from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have moved in, and have thus provided a market for fish (Piercy, 1944:2).
The author goes to state, [t]he average income of the native is low. Although figures ranging from $200.00 to $1,500.00 were quoted, few of the natives reach the higher brackets. Most of the white men earn $1,000.00 or more. When the fur catch fails, relief has to be given by the provincial government to all except the Treaty Indians (Piercy, 1944:3).
The method of transportation for the people residing in northern Saskatchewan in this time period was also discussed, noting that [t]he area mentioned in this part of the report is a vast system of waterways made up of myriads of lakes and creeks, [and] [b]ecause of the nature of these waterways, four distinct trade routes have been developed (Piercy, 1944:3).
The document then goes on to cite the four distinct trade routes, noted as follows:
- From Black Lake traffic moves along Lake Athabasca to Fort McMurray in Alberta.
- From Lac La Loche trade goes through Buffalo Narrows, then Beauval and up the Beaver River to Green Lake. A Highway now connects Ile a la Crosse with Big River and Meadow Lake. A road, partially completed, connects Meadow Lake with Buffalo Narrows.
- From the Stanley Mission on the Churchill, trade flows through Lac La Ronge up the Montreal River to Montreal Lake, and then along Highway No. 2 to Prince Albert.
- From Reindeer Lake, trade flows past Flin Flon, across Amisk Lake, down the Sturgeon Weir, along the Saskatchewan River to The Pas. Flin Flon is connected also by rail to The Pas and a road between these two points is now under construction (Piercy, 1944:3).
Having provided the above historical data, the author turns his attention to the educational facilities, or lack of them existing in northern Saskatchewan, noting [i]n this sparsely settled area, the schools are scarce and far between (Piercy, 1944:5).
In addition, a chart classifying the types of schools and giving their locations, was provided by Piercy (1944:5), noted as follows:
|Type of School:||Location of School:||Trade Route:
|A. Indian Residential School
2. Lac La Ronge
3. Sturgeon Landing
|B. Indian Day Schools
||1. Montreal Lake
|C. (1) Private Day Schools
(2) Private Boarding Schools
|1. Sandy Beach, 16B
2. Island Falls
1. Ile a la Crosse II
|D. Community Day Schools
||1. Camsell Portage
2. La Loche
3. Buffalo Narrows
5. Carson Lake
6. Chitek Lake
7. Lac La Ronge
8. Denare Beach
|E. Public Schools Organized under the School Act
||1. St. Pascal at Green Lake
2. Charlebois at Cumberland
|F. Private Summer Schools
||1. Stanley Mission
|G. Proposed Schools under the School Act
||1. Pemmican Portage, Cumberland
In citing the above-mentioned chart, it was mentioned by the author, [n]o title or leases could be traced through the Department of National Resources for any of the land on which community schools have been built … [i]t is recommended that titles or leases be secured for all sites on which community schools are built and that all the areas be surveyed (Piercy, 1944:6).
The author then wrote, [i]n the table below is a list of the settlements that are completely without school facilities (Piercy, 1944:6), cited as follows:
|Name of Settlement:||Trade Route:
|1. Stoney Rapids
|2. Fond du Lac
|3. La Loche (West)
|4. Buffalo River
|5. Clear Lake
|6. Snake Lake
|7. Canoe Lake
|8. Sled Lake
|9. Dore Lake
|10. Stoney Lake
|12. Montreal Lake
|13. Lac La Ronge (North) including Bear Lake, Neilman Lake, Foster Lake, Potato River, Contact Lake, Emmaline Lake, and several other small lakes
|14. Stanley Mission
|15. South End
|16. Pelican Narrows and Deschambault
|17. Sturgeon Landing
|18. Candle Lake
As noted in the summary and recommendations, Piercy (1944) submitted a total of 32 recommendations, with the 1st being … [t]hat the entire area described in the portion of the report to be formed into a larger unit of administration. Further, since education under the British North American Act of 1867, and now the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982, is a provincial responsibility, it was also recommended, [t]hat the Department of Municipal Affairs be asked to assist in the construction of school buildings (Piercy, 1944:17). Thus, the creation of the Northern Lights School Division No: 113, with its head office now located at La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Prince Albert Grand Council Elders
The following document cites the recent discussions that were held with the Treaty Elders of Saskatchewan, of which there was participation from the Prince Albert Grand Council Elders.
Title: Treaty Elders of Saskatchewan
Author(s): Harold Cardinal & Walter Hildebrandt
Publisher: University of Calgary Press, 2000.
Location: First Nations University of Canada, Regina & Prince Albert, Sask. & Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Treaty Governance Office, Saskatoon, Sask.
Summary: This book discusses the work being done by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, the Federal Government of Canada and the Province of Saskatchewan (as observer), as this relates to the recent discussions that were held with the Treaty Elders of Saskatchewan with regard treaty implementation (Cardinal & Hildebrandt, 2000, Preface IX).
As for the content in this book, it was cited that the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Canada, and the Province of Saskatchewan (as observer) initiated a series of Treaty Elders Forums in the province of Saskatchewan. The Office of Treaty Commissioner, established by the parties to facilitate the process of treaty implementation, chaired the Treaty Elders Forums that were held in five treaty regions within the province, [in reference to Treaty Four, Treaty Five, Treaty Six, Treaty Eight and Treaty Ten] (Cardinal & Hildebrandt, 2000, Preface IX).
The book noted, Elders from each of the treaty region participated at these open forums, making their presentations to the government parties and to the Treaty Commissioner … At each of the treaty meetings, translators were present to enable First Nations Elders to make their presentation in their own languages. The translators then translated the presentations into English. These presentations were video and audio-taped-recorded] (Cardinal & Hildebrandt, 2000, Preface IX). The authors stated, the result [of these discussions drawn from the Treaty Elders Forums held with Cree, Saulteaux, Denesuline, and Assiniboine First Nations, and noted in the text of this book], contents a traditional First Nations theoretical framework to be used as a guide for approaching the question of treaty implementation in Saskatchewan (Cardinal & Hildebrandt, 2000, Preface IX).
While the content in this book notes that Treaty Elders Forums were held in five treaty regions, Treaty Four, Treaty Five, Treaty Six, Treaty Eight and Treaty Ten, the following information to be cited is specific to the Prince Albert Grand Council First Nation membership. For the Prince Albert Grand Council, the following Elders, as well as FSIN Senators are quoted and/or cited through photographs, with regard to their participation in the above-mentioned Treaty Elders Forums (Cardinal & Hildebrandt, 2000:3-71):
o Treaty Five
- Elder John James Head, Red Earth Cree Nation
o Treaty Six
- Senator Allan Bird, Montreal Lake Cree Nation;
- Senator Hilliard Ermine, Sturgeon Lake First Nation.
o Treaty Eight
- Elder Agnes Alphonse, Black Lake Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder John B. Bigeye, Black Lake Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Victor Echodh, Black Lake Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Pat Robillard, Black Lake Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Charlie Throassie, Black Lake Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Eli Adam, Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Leon Fern, Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Norbert Fern, Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder August Lidguerre, Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Bart McDonald, Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder John James Mercredi, Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Pauline Mercredi, Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Celeste Randhill, Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation.
o Treaty Ten
- Elder Louie Benoanie, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Bart Dzeylion, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Martin Mark Josie, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation;
- Elder Angus Tsannie, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation.
In their closing comments, the authors stated, [m]ost of all, we thank each and every one of the Elders who made a presentation and apologize to all those whose words or thoughts we did not specifically cite or include. We are confident, however, that this book, taken as a whole, reflects the thoughts of the Elders. They expressed a strong hope that a strengthening of the treaty relationship can serve as the basis for securing a lasting, productive, and healthy place for First Nations and their peoples in the treaty partnership with the Crown, Her governments, and Her citizens. The authors concluded with the following quote, as was stated by the late Senator Allen Bird, “We are here for a very important reason; it is for our grandchildren so that they may have a good future”(Cardinal & Hilderbrandt, 2000:71).
The Piercy (1944) Report
First, it appears that the majority of the northern settlements without schools, cited by Piercy in his 1944 survey report, are predominately of First Nation ancestry, and from a historical perspective, it is now noted that these First Nation communities finally began to have schools constructed on their home reserve lands with federal funds in the late 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s. This means, for some of these First Nation communities cited in the Piercy (1944) Report, it was nearly and/or about one hundred years, after the signing of treaty or adhesion to Treaty 5, 6, 8 & 10, that a treaty promise was finally fulfilled, in reference to the treaty clause that a school would be built on each First Nation community, to teach First Nation children, as mentioned by Treaty Commissioner, Morris, in the signing of Treaty Six … the cunning of the white man.
Thus, the Piercy (1944) Report in effect verifies other written text, that for the first one hundred years, since the signing of the western numbered treaties, and before the construction of schools in First Nation communities, the First Nation children born within this period of Canadian history were actually taken away from their parents against their will, with the use of the Indian Act by the Federal Government of Canada, and sent to Indian Student Residential Schools operated first by the missionaries and then the Federal Department of Indian Affairs (Goodwill & Sluman, 1984; Opekokew, 1980).
Chevallier (1944) document, and the book written by Dyck (1997) entitled: Differing Visions, Indian Residential Schooling in Prince Albert, 1867 – 1995
Second, as for Chevallier (1944) and Dyck (1997) documents, while both presenting a different perspective, do speak to the issue of acculturation and the assimilation policy of the missionaries and the Federal Department of Indian Affairs on First Nation children. For it was in this time, specifically, from the 1870s to the 1950s, while at these Indian Student Residential Schools, First Nation children were not allowed to speak their First Nation language, nor were the First Nation children allowed to practice their cultural beliefs, for the Federal Government of Canada through the Indian Act had outlawed First Nation cultural beliefs and practices from 1867 to 1951 (Bull, 1987; Cannon, 1993; Goodwill & Sluman, 1984; Getty & Lussier, 1983; Ing, 1991; Jaine, 1991; Lascelle, 1992; Miller, 1987; Milloy, 1999; Opekokew, 1980; Purich, 1986; Titley, 1986; Tobias, 1976).
As previously cited in this document, historians have referred to this period of Canadian history for First Nation people, from 1876 to 1950, as assimilation through segregation (Titley, 1986; Tobias, 1976). However, for First Nation children at these Indian Student Residential Schools within time period, from 1867 to 1950, this assimilation policy in effect meant double segregation, first from their parents in their home reserve communities, and then from the Canadian public, even when the Indian Student Residential Schools were located in the urban center or town; in reference to the Indian Student Residential Schools located within the city of Prince Albert (Dyck, 1997) and the town of Duck Lake (Chevallier, 1944).
There can be no argument now that in this period of Canadian history from 1876 to 1950, that the Apartheid System was imposed upon First Nation people, both on the parents and children, by the Federal Government of Canada and implemented by the Federal Department of Indian Affairs. Yet, whether one wants to acknowledge it or not, the Apartheid System did exist in Canada as it did in the United States of America and South Africa (Leo J. Omani, March 19th, 2002).
Third, while the Federal Government of Canada did change the Indian Act in 1951, and began the policy of assimilation through integration, from 1951 to 1968, which allowed the Federal Department of Indian Affairs to send First Nation children residing at the Indian Student Residential Schools to attend public schools; First Nation children were still discouraged from speaking their First Nation languages and to practice their First Nations spiritual beliefs (Dyck, 1997; Goodwill & Sluman, 1984; Opekokew, 1980).
After the 1969 White Paper was rejected by First Nations and the Canadian public, Dyck (1997) noted that the Federal Government of Canada decided to take over the administration of Indian Student Residential Schools from the churches (Dyck, 1997:80), and in the case of the Indian Student Residential School in the City of Prince Albert, decided to continue to send First Nation children to public schools without First Nations leaders and parents consent, from 1970 to 1980, although the Federal Department of Indian Affairs had officially indorsed the policy of “Indian Control of Indian Education in 1972” (Dyck, 1997:85-87).
Then, in 1980, the Federal Government of Canada agreed to transfer management control of day-to-day operation for the Prince Albert Indian Student Residential School to the Prince Albert District Chiefs, the forerunner of the Prince Albert Tribal Council and the Prince Albert Grand Council. In 1985, total transfer of control was agreed to by the Federal Department of Indian Affairs to the Prince Albert Tribal Council and the Prince Albert Indian Student Residential School was then renamed The Prince Albert Student Education Centre (Dyck, 1997:88-95).
While the education for First Nation students did improve under First Nations control of the Prince Albert Student Education Centre, there was a continuing concern of the lack of funding from the Federal Department of Indian Affairs to actually provide the required education services that the First Nation students needed (Dyck, 1997:95-116).
Finally, in 1993, under the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) operations, the Federal Department of Indian Affairs began the process of discussion for the closure of the Prince Albert Student Education Centre, taking the position that it was in the process of implementing Indian Child and Family Service agreements with various First Nations and Tribal Councils throughout the Province of Saskatchewan (Dyck, 1997:117-120). Thus, as of 1997, the Prince Albert Student Education Centre came to a close, ending one hundred & twenty-eight (128) years of Indian Student Residential Schooling for the members of the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) (Leo J. Omani, March 19th, 2002).