Maskwacis Cree Junior High is located on the Ermineskin First Nation in Maskwacis, Alberta. We are a Cree School, and are dedicated to delivering quality educational programs aligned with Alberta Education standards and the MESC curriculum whilst in a setting in which students acquire the knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes to become responsible, caring citizens. Maskwacis Cree culture, values, and traditions are integrated into our curriculum and into the daily routines of the school. Our school staff consists of roughly 40 team members who provide quality instruction to over 400 students attending grades 7 through 9.
For 129 years, residential schools were an attempt by the Government of Canada to assimilate First Nations people. There was a mission school in Maskwacis as early as 1894. Ermineskin Indian Residential School was one of the largest residential schools in Canada and operated in Maskwacis from 1916 until 1975. From 1975 until 1990, the Canadian Government assumed the responsibility for running Ermineskin Schools.
MESC (Maskwacis Education School Commission) began as a collaboration between the education authorities in Maskwacîs. The purpose was to examine ways of improving student achievement. By focusing on students, we have been able to continually improve the quality of Cree education for children. The number of students going to school on reserve increased significantly when local control of education began.
Four Nations, Eleven Schools, One Vision
Maskwacîs amalgamated 11 schools from 4 separate authorities to create the Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission (MESC). MESC believes the main step that Canada can take to uphold the spirit and intent of our Treaty right to education is properly funding schools controlled by First Nation communities. As Maskwacîs Cree, we determine how to best implement our Treaty right—and the best way to implement the Treaty right to education is to achieve a high degree of success within our Maskwacîs schools based on community priorities and Maskwacîs Cree beliefs.
Competent, confident, and resilient Maskwacîs Cree speaking students.
Who Are We Apart of?
Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission (MESC) was developed based on Maskwacîs Cree values and focused on the needs of students. Extensive consultation, research, planning and negotiations took place leading up to the inception of MESC.
MESC is owned & operated by Ermineskin Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe, Montana First Nation and Samson Cree Nation. MESC is the education authority for the Maskwacîs Cree. The MESC head office is located in Maskwacis 70 KM South of Edmonton, AB in the Treaty No. 6 Territory.
MESC offers Indigenized curriculum, by embedding Cree culture, language, and traditions into 11 Maskwacîs schools with emphasis on Îyinîw Mâmitonehicikan, Nehiyawewin, Nehiyaw Pimâtisôwin, and Wâhkôhtowin.
MESC Cree Core Values:
1. Iyiniw Mamitonehicikan ᐃᔨᓂᐤ ᒪᒥᑐᓀᐦᐃᒋᑲᐣ
Be compassionate; recognize one another’s diverse experiences, views and voice.
- Have a compassionate mind.
- Be empathetic, kind, loving, caring, and selfless.
- Think and understand our being and existence through a Cree perspective.
2. Nehiyawewin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ
Be careful with your words; listen, learn, ask questions, and take time to reflect.
- A sacred and living language that is embodied through syllabics, identity, story, song, dance, and prayer.
- A gift from Kise Manito (the creator) and stems from natural laws.
- A lifelong and interconnected pursuit to speak the Nehiyawak (Cree language) so that we may promote, prosper, and preserve Nehiyawewin to honour past, present, and future.
3. Nehiyaw Pimatisowin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ ᐱᒪᑎᓱᐏᐣ
Be actively engaged; open-minded, honour spirit and one another.
- Living our Cree Way of life to honour, respect, and live in relation to the tenets of the natural laws of Kise Manito (the Creator).
- Understanding the importance of compassion, reciprocity, and responsibility to community.
- Honouring the intergenerational transfer of Nehiyaw (Cree) protocols, traditions, and ceremonies.
4. Wahkohtowin ᐘᐦᑯᐦᑐᐏᐣ
Build positive relationships; approach every interaction from a place of love and respect.
- A gift from Kise Manito (the Creator)
- A lifelong demonstration of kinship, respect, and the honouring of Kehtehayak, parents, guardians, siblings, and all of creation.
- A belief that all things are related and connected, that all of existence has spirit and that living in a good way requires people to maintain relationships with each other and other aspects of existence.