Onion Lake History
Chief Seekaskootch’s band signed TREATY 6 at Fort Pitt on September 9, 1876, while other River CREE signed an adhesion to Treaty 6 in 1878 as the Makaoo Band. The bands received adjacent reserves in 1879. In 1885 they were accused of participating in the FROG LAKE MASSACRE and listed as “rebel Indians.” The federal government refused to recognize a chief for these two bands until 1914, when they were told to amalgamate as the Onion Lake Band. The Onion Lake First Nation has educational facilities, a modern health centre, and indoor/outdoor sports facilities. There are both band-owned and privately owned businesses on reserve, providing the community with essential services and employing both residents and non-residents. Currently, 2,408 of the band’s 4,003 members live on the 57,737.5 ha of reserve land, situated 50 km north of Lloydminster. The Onion Lake Reserve straddles the Saskatchewan-Alberta border, making it Canada’s only border Cree Nation.
Values and Beliefs
Onion Lake Cree Nation values education and as such must empower and strengthen the youth by enriching their spirit through educating in a Nehiyaw-based environment.
Onion Lake also believes self-determination in education is a recognized inherent right of Cree Nation’s people. The Onion Lake education system and its governing body – the Onion Lake Board of Education – were established by the exercise of this right under the Onion Lake Cree Nation’s Chief and Council. It is the intent of this Cree Nation – in due time – for First Nations people to assume all leadership roles within this education system.
In 1981 members of Onion Lake Cree Nation finally took total control of their children’s education – from pre-school through to Grade 12. In 1984 control of the post-secondary allowance system was added to the First Nation’s responsibilities. The Board of Education has now assumed total responsibility for an educational system that meets the unique needs of its band members. At the same its doors remain open to all students regardless of race, creed or national origin.
The Onion Lake education system is built on the belief that students must be prepared to participate with competence in both the First Nations and non-First Nations worlds, and to appreciate the merits of both. This task can only be accomplished in an environment that reflects the integrity of the individual, the involvement of the community, mutual respect between staff and students and the principle of free inquiry and expression.
To fulfill this mission the Onion Lake education system must be comprehensive in nature, and provide – to the fullest extent possible – the educational alternatives which respond to the unique qualities, abilities and potential of each individual student.
The Onion Lake education system will utilize resources of curriculum, staff, students, community and environment to assist each student to attain the following:
- A working knowledge of basic academic skills which will serve as a foundation for future endeavors and life-long learning.
- Moral and ethical values consistent with the teachings of our Cree elders
- Physical and emotional health.
- An ability to cope rationally, intelligently and constructively with problems and issues.
- Pride in one’s self and the understanding of one’s relationship to the community, his/her surroundings and the world.
- A thorough understanding of Treaty Rights and its implications.
- Promote First Nation’s culture, society, values, beliefs, history, tradition and language.
To attain these goals the Onion Lake education system oversees Kihew Waciston Immersion School, Pewasenakwan Primary School, Chief Taylor Elementary School, Eagleview Middle School, Sakaskohc High School, as well as the Daycare and Transportation departments.