Life after being an MLA

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Calahasen lands job with Northland

SPN Staff

Education has always been one of her many passions, so it should come as a surprise to no one that Pearl Calahasen is now working for Northland School Division.

“Northland School Division No. 61 is pleased to announce the appointment of Pearl Calahasen as First Nations, Metis and Inuit Pedagogical Supervisor,” reads a Sept. 8 news release from NSD.

Calahasen returns to Northland after serving 26 years as Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Lesser Slave Lake constituency.

“When the position became available, I thought this role was up my alley,” says Calahasen. “I always wanted to be involved in the Indigenous languages and ensure that students and communities can revive their language. Without language you can’t deal with culture and you really don’t know who you are.”

Calahasen’s education journey began at the Alberta Vocational College in Grouard where she taught for three years. During that time, she earned a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Alberta.

In 1981, she was hired by NSD as the Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Her responsibilities included curricular weaving of Indigenous language and culture into school programs.

In 1983, Calahasen was seconded to the Ministry of Education and joined the Native Education Project team. The team was instrumental in developing Cree language curriculum and resources.

Calahasen says she is excited to see how far NSD has come since that work and is looking forward to crafting a plan to improve supports for students and educators.

“In this role, we will develop a plan to ensure educators are confident with teaching Indigenous languages and infusing language and culture into the curriculum,” says Calahasen. “Using Indigenous language is always a great tool for us to get kids interested in who they are.”

Throughout her political career, Calahasen continued to advocate for NSD and Indigenous education. In 2011, she was selected to be the co-chair of the Northland Community Engagement Team. The team developed Kids First, the report by NCET; which includes a vision for Indigenous Education Excellence and a Community Engagement Frame- work.

“Being involved with NCET deepened my understanding of what needs to be done to help . . . ,” says Calahasen.

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