The Ile a la Crosse School Division Board of Education has received an award for innovation and excellence in education. The Premier’s Board of Education Award was given for the historic submission for the First Indigenous controlled Board of Education in Saskatchewan as the Ile-a-la Crosse Northern School Administration Area No. 1 formed in May 1974.

“We are proud of the history of our division,” said Board Chair Duane Favel. “Those leaders of our temporary education committee and our first board had the right ideas. Honouring our culture and language, having teachers involved in our community and empowering our parents to be involved in education are still goals we hold onto. It is because of their vision and our 50 years of being an Indigenous-run school board that we have had our successes.” 

“The school board made decisions about the construction of the new school, which was designed by Metis architect Douglas Cardinal. They hired 21 new teachers that first year with only 1 teacher remaining from the previous year. No longer was it forbidden to speak Cree at school and resources with racist ideas were weeded out. By January 1, 1975, all assets of the school division were controlled by the new board. This was the first-time Indigenous people were making decisions about who would teach their child and administer the school, the responsiveness of school, the school’s awareness of colonization and oppression and most people were enthusiastic. Ile-a-la Crosse Temporary Education Committee and the subsequent elected Board of Education were the first Indigenous controlled boards of education in Saskatchewan,” the submission for the award said.

(Photo courtesy of Glen McCallum, Facebook)