Old Sun Community College develops and offers quality courses, programs and services tailored to meet the needs of the Siksika Nation and individuals while preserving the Siksika Way of Life.
(Photo: Old Sun Community College Tipi)
Old Sun Community College has an important responsibility to enhance the sovereignty and Nationhood of Siksika. With an open heart and mind, Old Sun Community College respects diverse ways of life as it promotes the lifelong learning of Siksika culture, language, history and knowledge to our future generations.
Sik-si-ka-wa Ii-kai-sa-ka-kii-tsim-yaa-wa Nii-pai-ta-pii-wah-sin, Si-ksi-kai’po-wah-sin, So-ksiis-ta-wa-tsi-maan
Old Sun Community College is a First Nation, Board governed college operating as a comprehensive and non profit community institution. Operating on the Siksika Nation, our college provides broad programming including certificates, diplomas, foundational learning, and upgrading programs. Our programs are learner centered, outcome focused, and designed to provide graduates with opportunities to improve thier quality of life, prepare for further education and advance their chosen careers.
Old Sun Community College programs are primarily focused on post-secondary education, information technology, Siksika Knowledge studies and foundational learning programs including adult literacy, and academic upgrading.
As a comprehensive community college with local and regional stewardship responsibilities, we collaborate with other educational organizations, business, and community agencies to influence our expertise and to the economic and social well-being of our community and our province.
As a community college, we have a special focus on creating educational opportunities for Indigenous peoples, international learners, persons with disabilities, older employees, non-nation employees, at risk youth, and the unemployed and underemployed in our community. Our curriculum and support services reflect the diversity of our learners.
To meet emerging workforce needs and to improve the quality of life for our students in our community, our programs, curricula, and educational services are customized to meet the specific requirements of industries, educators, communities, and workplaces locally, regionally, territorial, provincially, nationally and internationally.
CHIEF OLD SUN
NAATO’SAAPI (OLD SUN)
The name Old Sun has been associated with formal education on the Blackfoot Reserve for generations. Old Sun was a revered medicine man and was leader of one of the largest of the Blackfoot Confederacy bands, largely because of his success as a warrior.
Old Sun was born in central Alberta around 1819. He died in 1897 on the North Camp Flats on the Siksika Reserve near Gleichen. Naato’saapi was said to have received his spiritual powers from a deer during a vision quest experience. He was also known for curing blindness with a sacred amulet.
Unlike many other chiefs, Old Sun did not turn to the role of peacemaker with age, but continued the life of the warrior. His wife, Calf Old Woman, was also a renowned warrior and one of the few women to take a place in the Siksika warrior society.
In the Treaty 7 negotiations, Old Sun, the warrior, deferred to the Siksika chief of the time, Crowfoot, but signed the treaty for his band. His followers settled north of Crowfoot’s band at North Camp Flats.
Old Sun himself was not much interested in farming but assumed the role of patriarch and remained a much-respected medicine man and spiritual leader. He tolerated missionaries on his reserve but never converted to Christianity himself.
Chief Old Sun’s Blackfoot name was literally ‘Sun Elder’ or ‘Sun Old Man’. In the Blackfoot language, it was Naato’saapi. The first two syllables refer to the sun. The final two syllables of the name mean grey or white hair of an old man. They also aesthetically imply ‘to see’, as in to gain insight.
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL TO COLLEGE
In 1883 Reverend John W. Tims of the Church of England was sent to establish a mission among the Blackfoot Indians. He met with Chief Old Sun who allowed him to build a cabin which became the first school which was eventually named after Chief Old Sun. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the school.
The present brick building was built in 1929 and the Anglican Church continued to operate the school until the 1950s when the federal government took over. The 1960s signalled a new era in Native Indian Education. A move was made to integrate students into the public school system through bussing. As the Old Sun School became vacant, the Blackfoot leaders identified a possible use for the building as an adult learning centre.
As a result, Old Sun Community College began operations as an adult institution on September 20, 1971 and then incorporated as Old Sun Society on March 21, 1973. At first, the College was operated as a satellite campus of Mount Royal College, but in 1978, it became an independent institution run by the Blackfoot Nation. In 1988, the Old Sun College Act was passed in the Alberta Legislature transforming Old Sun Community College into a First Nations College.
Siksika Nation Education Historical Timeline:
The origins of Old Sun Community College comes has many stories associated with it including the story of Chief Old Sun, a Siksika warrior and Chief from the 18th century and the SIksika Nation culture.
Old Sun Community College: Graduating class of 2019
The Blackfoot App was created by Old Sun Community College and the Siksika Board of Education and launched in 2016. Siksika (Blackfoot) phrases organized under 29 theme categories complete with audio, images, quizzes and games. Also included in the app is a cultural section of historical images; a short sign language..Read More
To honour our Siksika way of documenting history, this winter count was commissioned to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Old Sun Community College and the Siksika Nation Post Secondary Student Support Program 20th Anniversary. This story robe became the catalyst to the development of the Siksika Knowledge Studies.
Fifteen students enrolled in the Aboriginal Licensed Practical Nurse (ALPN) Program, a joint venture with Old Sun Community College and Bow Valley College. Eleven students graduated from the program. Niitsitapi Education Assistant Training partnership with Red Crow Community College.
Governor General Michelle Jean meets Master of Teaching University of Calgary students from Siksika Nation.
Siksika Nation Post Secondary Student Support Program celebrates 15th Anniversary. Eleven students graduate from Master of Teaching program.
Thirteen students from Siksika Nation enroll in Sinte Gleska University (South Dakota) Master of Education Degree program. Eleven Siksika Nation students enroll in the Master of Teaching program.
Old Sun Community College celebrates 30 years in operation with a growing number of graduates in adult upgrading, . The Siksika Nation Post Secondary Student Support Program celebrates 10th anniversary with 148 post secondary graduates.
Seven students graduated from Master of Arts in Educational Leadership through San Diego State University. August 15th deadline for receipt of all support documents for Siksika Nation Post Secondary Student Support Program funding.
Construction begins on the new building that will house Old Sun Indian Residential School
Fire destroyed the frame school building on June 27, 1928 and was soon replaced by a brick building. Day school classes are offered for three years until replacement school is built.
A large new residential school opens with authorized pupilage of forty on July 14 Principal Rev. Millard C. Gandier chose the name “Old Sun” in honor of Chief Old Sun.
The government granted long term funding for the school and a larger building was constructed at South Camp the following year. It was expanded a decade later to accommodate more students. The school’s farm, first located at the North Camp and expanded at the South Camp, provided vocational training for..Read More
1907 – 1911 Rampant disease outbreaks in the residential school and recurring unsanitary conditions force government to close the school for extended periods. Needed renovations are stalled due to lack of funding. From July 1909 to December 1911, the building is used as a day school.
White Eagles Boarding School closes and boys return to original Old Sun Boarding School, which is remodelled. The White Eagles building is used as an isolation ward during 1902-1903 smallpox epidemic.
Magnus Begg (from 1894– 1897) resided on Siksika Reserve and was recognized through the Indian Act, 1876 as Indian Agent for Treaty 7 First Nations from 1894 to 1897 whose all-encompassing power stemmed from the Indian Act. Section 137 of the Indian Act, 1894 stated that the Indian Agent had..Read More
Rev Tims’ than established the first Old Sun Boarding School about 7 km west of Gleichen for boys and girls, opens at North Camp on the Reserve with enrolment of fifteen pupils.
The Beginning of Church-State Schooling at Siksika Nation – Championed by the Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, Canada’s Indian policy allowed “any religious denomination that be carrying on mission work upon a Reserve a reasonable quantity of land for buildings” including schools and teacherages (Edgar Dewdney Papers, M320, Vol...Read More
Treaty 7 also known as a peace treaty, is the last of the numbered treaties made between the British monarchy, the newly formed Government of Canada and the Siksika (Blackfoot), Kainai (Blood) Piikani and Tsuutina First Nations on September 22, 1877 near Blackfoot Crossing.