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Holding on while letting go : education, politics, and Yukon public schools, 1960-2003 Sikkes, Ryan Timothy 2019

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   HOLDING ON WHILE LETTING GO: EDUCATION, POLITICS, AND YUKON PUBLIC SCHOOLS, 1960–2003  by RYAN TIMOTHY SIKKES B.Ed., University of Victoria, 2002 M.A., University of Victoria, 2006    A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF EDUCATION in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES   (Educational Leadership and Policy)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  April 2019  © Ryan Timothy Sikkes, 2019   ii    The following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, the dissertation entitled:  HOLDING ON WHILE LETTING GO: EDUCATION, POLITICS, AND YUKON PUBLIC SCHOOLS, 1960-2003  submitted by Ryan Sikkes  in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy   Examining Committee:  Jason Ellis, Educational Studies Supervisor   Alison Taylor, Educational Studies Supervisory Committee Member   Simon Blakesley, Ph.D., Director, Student Information & Assessment, Yukon Education Supervisory Committee Member   Wendy Poole, Educational Studies University Examiner   Geertje Boschma, Faculty of Nursing University Examiner   Helen Raptis, Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria External Examiner    iii Abstract  This dissertation presents a history of Yukon’s public school system between 1960 and 2003 – a history that is inseparable from Yukon’s colonial history as a territory of Canada.  This period witnessed a devolution of power from the federal government to the Yukon government that resulted in a shift of the day-to-day political tensions and disputes in Yukon moving from a federal-territorial orientation to a territorial-local one.  Two key themes are consistently present in Yukon’s political and educational history. The first is the tension between centralization and devolution of power between levels of government.  The second is the confidence required by each level of government to devolve or accept power.  Key developments of Yukon’s linked constitutional and educational development serve to periodize the history.  The creation of the Advisory Committee on Finance in 1960, the appointment of elected Yukon Council members to the territorial Executive Committee in 1970, the arrival of responsible and representative government to Yukon in 1979 via the Epp Letter, the passage of the Education Act in 1990, and the final devolution of programs and services from the federal government (along with an updated Yukon Act) in 2003 all serve as events that show significant shifts in (or the potential to shift) the transfer of power from the federal, through the territorial, to the local level.   Textual documentary sources including federal and territorial government documents and reports, correspondence, newspaper articles, and legislative documents were the primary source materials used to write this dissertation.     iv Lay Summary  This dissertation presents a history of Yukon’s public school system between 1960 and 2003 – a history that is inseparable from Yukon’s colonial history as a territory of Canada.  This period witnessed a devolution of power from the federal government to the Yukon government that resulted in a shift of the day-to-day political tensions and disputes in Yukon moving from a federal-territorial orientation to a territorial-local one.  Two key themes are consistently present in Yukon’s political and educational history. The first is the tension between centralization and devolution of power between levels of government.  The second is the confidence required by each level of government to devolve or accept power.      v Preface  This dissertation is an original, unpublished, independent work by the author, Ryan Sikkes.    vi Table of Contents  Abstract ...................................................................................................................................... iii Lay Summary ............................................................................................................................ iv Preface ........................................................................................................................................ v Table of Contents ....................................................................................................................... vi List of Tables ........................................................................................................................... viii List of Figures ............................................................................................................................ ix List of Abbreviations .................................................................................................................. x Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................... xi Dedication ................................................................................................................................ xiv Introduction ................................................................................................................................ 1 Structure of the Dissertation .............................................................................................................. 13 Chapter 1 – A Brief History of Yukon (and Its Schools) until 1960 ........................................ 21 Pre-history to the Gold Rush .............................................................................................................. 22 Klondike Gold Rush and Establishment of Yukon Territory ............................................................ 24 World War II and the Alaska Highway ............................................................................................. 28 Colonial Governance Continues Unabated Postwar .......................................................................... 30 School Governance and Parent-Teacher Associations ....................................................................... 33 Education of Indigenous Children in the 1950s ................................................................................. 36 Dismissal of a Superintendent of Schools .......................................................................................... 40 Growth of Roman Catholic Separate Schools and Sectarian Divisions ............................................. 44 Desire for Provincehood and Autonomy ........................................................................................... 51 Chapter 2 – 1960–1970 Advisory Committee on Finance to the First Elected Yukon Council Member Responsible for Education ......................................................................................... 55 Ottawa Consults Yukoners: Advisory Committee on Finance and the 1960 Committee on Education ............................................................................................................................................................ 56 Revisions to the School Ordinance, 1962 .......................................................................................... 66 Integration of Indigenous Students into Public Schools Exposes Inequities ..................................... 72 Separate Schools and Religious Education ........................................................................................ 85 Beginnings of French/Francophone Education .................................................................................. 93 Increased Local Control over Programs and Services ....................................................................... 97 “Independence of Action”: The Devolution of Authority over Selected Programs ........................ 104 Chapter 3 – 1970–1979 Elected Executive Control through to the Loss of the Commissioner’s Executive Authority ................................................................................................................ 107 Executive Authority for Education Is Delegated to a Locally Elected Politician ............................ 108 Commencement of Indigenous Land Claims ................................................................................... 114 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972 .................................................................. 121 Revised School Ordinance of 1974 ................................................................................................. 130 Public Involvement in Education – The Education Council and School Committees ..................... 136 Competing Interests Clash: Indigenous Education .......................................................................... 143  vii The Haines Junction Language Debate ............................................................................................ 146 The Diminished Commissioner: Responsible Government Arrives in Yukon ................................ 150 Chapter 4 – 1979–1990 – Responsible Government until the Education Act of 1990. .......... 155 Yukon Achieves Responsible Government ..................................................................................... 157 Shifting Ground: Canada’s Constitution and Land Claims ............................................................. 164 Indigenous Education Remains Firmly in the Department of Education ........................................ 170 Little Change Leads to a Lot of Dissatisfaction and a Territorial Task Force ................................. 178 A New Government, New Vision, and New Challenges ................................................................. 189 A Period of Intense Public Consultations about Education ............................................................. 195 Partners in Education – Development and Introduction ................................................................. 207 Chapter 5 – 1990–2003 – Education Act until the Final Devolution ..................................... 223 The Education Act Era Begins ......................................................................................................... 225 Umbrella Final Agreement and Self-Government Agreements ....................................................... 232 Limited Devolution of More Authority to School Councils ............................................................ 239 “Back to Basics” Educational Reform Attempt in Yukon ............................................................... 251 Mandatory Education Act Review ................................................................................................... 260 The Final Devolution and an Updated Yukon Act ............................................................................ 275 Chapter 6 – Educational Developments Since 2003 .............................................................. 281 Chapter 7 – Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 291 Learning from the Past: Implications of This Research for Practice ............................................... 297 A Note on the Sources Used in This Research and for Future Research ......................................... 303 Bibliography ........................................................................................................................... 308 Abbreviations used in footnotes and bibliography .......................................................................... 308 Primary Sources ............................................................................................................................... 308 Secondary Sources ........................................................................................................................... 320 Appendix 1 – Powers and Duties of School Committees, Councils, and Boards .................. 325 1962 School Ordinance .................................................................................................................... 325 1974 School Ordinance .................................................................................................................... 326 1990 Education Act .......................................................................................................................... 327 Appendix 2 – Federal / Yukon Political Timeline – 1950–2018 ............................................ 331 Appendix 3 – Yukon School Enrolments – 1958–2003 ......................................................... 338 Appendix 4 – General Educational Statistics – 1958–2003 ................................................... 346    viii List of Tables Table 1. Whitehorse school enrolment, 1958–2003 ............................................................... 338 Table 2. Rural school enrolment, 1958–2003 ......................................................................... 342 Table 3. General Educational Statistics, 1958–2003 .............................................................. 346     ix List of Figures Figure 1. Map of Yukon ........................................................................................................... 19 Figure 2. Yukon Indigenous Language Map ............................................................................ 20 Figure 3. Rural and Whitehorse Enrolments, System and per pupil costs, 1958-2003 .......... 350    x List of Abbreviations AIP Agreement in Principle AYSCBC Association of Yukon School Councils, Boards, and Committees CYFN Council of Yukon First Nations CYI Council of Yukon Indians CSFY Commission Scolaire Francophone du Yukon CTBS Canadian Test of Basic Skills DIAND Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development ExCom Executive Committee of the Yukon Territorial Government EATF Education Act Task Force ECMRE Executive Committee Member Responsible for Education ERP Education Reform Project FFL French First Language FNEC First Nations Education Commission JCIET Joint Commission on Indian Education and Training MLA Member of the Legislative Assembly NDP New Democratic Party NWT Northwest Territories PTA Parent-Teacher Association RCEYT60 Report of the Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960 RCEYT72 Report of the Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972 TTFOCT Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow UFA Umbrella Final Agreement YA Yukon Archives YANSI Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians YC Yukon Council YG Yukon Government YLA Yukon Legislative Assembly YNB Yukon Native Brotherhood YNLC Yukon Native Language Centre YNTEP Yukon Native Teacher Education Program YTA Yukon Teachers’ Association  xi Acknowledgements  I am quick to admit that I live a very charmed life.  Reflecting on all the support I have received during my pursuit of this doctoral degree has affirmed how lucky I am to have so many caring and encouraging people in my life.  Completing this degree has been somewhat of a selfish pursuit and I am grateful for all who have indulged my desire to pursue it. I have been so fortunate to have had educational leave from my work as a secondary school principal over the last year and a half to research and complete this dissertation.  I am grateful to the Yukon Department of Education and the Yukon Teachers Association for this leave.  Mike Woods, Lorraine Taillefer, and Greg Storey are supportive supervisors whose willingness to entertain my requests for flexibility and accommodation has been integral to the completion of this program. The staff of Vanier Catholic Secondary have had to put up with an absent principal for many days over the past four years and I can’t thank them all enough for their patience and understanding.  In particular, I would like to thank Jeanette Gallant and Katrina Brogdon for their leadership at the school during my many absences. I chose the Doctor of Education program at UBC for two main reasons – the cohort model and the face-to-face classes designed to accommodate the needs of those who work full time while studying.  The 2015 ‘Chickadees’ – Alana, Alyson, Amanda, Anjum, Chas, Chris, Darren, Lisa, and Marney – are an ambitious and impressive group who consistently challenged my thinking.  My approach to public education has been transformed over the last four years and much of that change has been stimulated from the experiences and observations they have graciously shared with me.  Our course instructors – David Coulter, Deirdre Kelly,  xii Hans Smits, Fei Wang, Alison Taylor, Shauna Butterwick, Sam Rocha, Daniel Schugurensky, Michelle Stack, Hongxia Shan, Claudia Ruitenberg, and Jason Ellis – have expanded my horizons as a practicing educator and as a scholar.  I am grateful for the effort you all invested in planning thought-provoking courses, designing meaningful assignments, and providing detailed and substantive feedback on my work. This dissertation would not have been possible but for the kind and helpful staff at the Yukon Archives.  Thank you for your unfailingly polite responses to my many requests for assistance.  I am also grateful to the Council of Yukon First Nations for sharing documents from their archives. Thank you to Dorothy Turnbull for your keen eye for detail while assisting with the copy-editing of this dissertation. Drs. Alison Taylor and Simon Blakesley kindly agreed to serve on my committee and I appreciate all their support and feedback on my research proposal and dissertation.  Dr. Sam Rocha was my pro tem supervisor and, after listening to me bounce from one possible research question to the next over many months, helped direct me towards this research project which has been a perfect fit.  Thank you for that and for connecting me to Jason to pursue it. Dr. Jason Ellis has been a wonderful supervisor.  After hearing horror stories of supervisors who never return emails, take months to provide comment or feedback on work submitted, or who care little about how the research process needs to fit into the everyday lives of their students, I feel like I won the supervisor sweepstakes as he unfailingly demonstrates the exact opposite of each of those shortcomings.  I can’t express well enough  xiii my appreciation for your timely practical support, constant encouragement, and realistic approach to completing my research amongst all the other competing priorities in my life.  My mother- and father-in-law, Maureen and Arne Axen, hosted me for well over 100 nights during this program.  Thank you for your hospitality, your curiosity and encouragement, and for allowing our whole family to spend so much time at your home during the summers.  My mom and dad, Marg and Sid Sikkes, have also been incredibly encouraging and also agreed to let our kids stay at their home for various stretches over the summers which was really helpful. My children – Samuel, Sarah, and Bart – have been so patient with me being unavailable to them while away at UBC or stuck in front of my computer working.  While I hope that my pursuit of this degree will serve as an example of life-long learning, I do feel pangs of regret for all the times I was away.  Now go and clean your bedrooms.  Please. Finally, there is no question of whom the single most important person is that made all of this possible for me.  Starting nor finishing this degree was not necessary to give us or our kids a better life.  It was simply an itch I felt I needed to scratch.  Katie has always supported my ambitions and I will be eternally grateful for her constant love and willingness to make sacrifices for my benefit.  Thank you, Katherine Anne Axen Sikkes, for being so amazing—and for putting up with me.  I love you.      xiv Dedication        For Katie, Samuel, Sarah, and Bart.    1 Introduction  In 2013, the Government of Canada, the Government of Yukon, and representatives of various Yukon First Nations’ governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Education Partnership committing all parties to establishing “a partnership in education that will result in the creation and implementation of a joint action plan, for the success of First Nations’ learners.”1  Read on its own, this document is laudable because it commits the three governments to working collaboratively for the common good for those whom the system has served least well, historically, using the common measures of academic testing and graduation rates. Looking back over records from the preceding years, however, one might stumble upon a similar agreement executed in 1981, An Agreement in Principle with Respect to Indian Education (Kindergarten to Grade 12) in Yukon, between the same three parties (with the exception that the First Nations were represented collectively by one organization, the Council of Yukon Indians) that committed all parties to objectives very similar to those of the 2013 document.2 A comparison of these two documents leads to the question of why, after more than 30 years, the three parties to both agreements felt it necessary to recommit to the same principles                                                 1 A note to the reader:  Many terms are used to describe Canada’s First Peoples.  I have opted to use the term Indigenous wherever possible.  Direct quotations contain the terms that match those used in the source materials, along with some paraphrases. Government of Canada, Memorandum of Understanding on Education Partnership, (2013), https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1363616280284/1363616361810. 2 An Agreement In Principle with Respect to Indian Education (Kindergarten to Grade 12) in Yukon, 1981, Pamphlet Collection, Yukon Archives, PAM 1981-0275.  2 and objectives laid out in the first.  For educators and school leaders in Yukon’s public schools, a need to renew such a commitment may seem somewhat confusing because they can observe significant resources within the Department of Education focused on ensuring equity and increasing the achievement of Indigenous students through curriculum, language, and experiential opportunities for learning.  In addition, significant events such as the settling of First Nations’ land claims, the creation of First Nations’ self-governments, a complete overhaul of the legislation concerning the governance and operations of Yukon’s public schools, and numerous reviews of the education system have taken place throughout this same period.  How might one best examine the seemingly contradictory situations of so many developments intended to improve the educational system to best meet the needs of Indigenous learners in contrast to the perception that, in fact, little has changed over the past 30 years?  Further, (in what might be considered the broadest research question guiding the development of this dissertation) how might such an examination effectively guide the practice of school leaders? The answer to these questions (and many others that concern educational developments in Yukon) lies in a comprehensive understanding of Yukon’s educational history.  The study of history has been described as examining the process of change or its inverse – continuities that have persisted through the years – along with the causes and consequences of such changes or continuities.3  Guiding today’s educators and school leaders                                                 3 Peter N. Stearns, “History and Public Policy,” in Social Science and Public Policy: The Roles of Academic Disciplines in Policy Analysis, ed. George J. McCall and George Weber (Port Washington, NY: Associated Faculty Press, 1984), 91–122; Richard Aldrich, “The Three Duties of the Historian of Education,” History of Education 32, no. 2 (2003): 133–43.  3 toward gaining a better understanding of the changes that have occurred over the past decades is the best approach to assisting them to effect more positive changes in the future. Education systems do not develop in a vacuum.  Therefore, the examination of this situation can be enhanced by a broader understanding of the history of Yukon’s educational system alongside the history of Yukon itself.  Yukon’s educational history – especially the history of school governance – is inseparable from its colonial and territorial history.  Two themes emerge as a common thread running through the history of Yukon, and its educational system, through the second half of the 20th century.  The first is tensions over the centralization and devolution of power between levels of government.  The second is the confidence required by both levels of government – the one devolving power and the one receiving it – to transfer it and exercise it effectively and appropriately.   The history that I present here will use these common themes, illustrated by developments in Yukon’s educational system, to reveal the shifting of the day-to-day political tensions, from federal-territorial to territorial-local (e.g., Yukon First Nations government, municipality, or school council) over the course of more than 40 years.  I have lived in Yukon for more than 16 years.  I worked as a teacher for four years, a vice-principal for five, and a manager in a Yukon Government Crown corporation for two.  Currently, I am nearing the end of my sixth year as a secondary school principal.  All my years as a teacher and school administrator have been at Vanier Catholic Secondary, a publicly funded Roman Catholic secondary school (Grades 8–12) operated directly by the Yukon Department of Education.  I offer the brief autobiographical account that follows because it is integral to how my practice as a school administrator has developed and, subsequently, the research questions that resulted in this dissertation.  I will then elaborate  4 further on four areas where my curiosities combined with my personal history and practice have led to the writing of this dissertation: changes in school processes or reforms, Indigenous education, school governance, and the role of politics in education. Before moving to Yukon, I lived in Victoria, British Columbia (BC), where I obtained a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) degree from the University of Victoria in 2002 with a focus on instrumental music education, with additional coursework in chemistry.  Prior to my university studies, I grew up in a small town in northern BC that was a very homogenous community made up of European settlers and their descendants who moved to the area starting in the early 1900s to make a living in farming, ranching, or forestry.  My parents are of European ancestry – my father was born in the Netherlands, and my mother’s parents were born in England and Ireland. My hometown was also located approximately 35 kilometres from a traditional Wet'suwet'en village-turned-Indian-reserve known commonly as Moricetown.4  I had Indigenous classmates throughout my school career, but I don’t remember recognizing the marginalization of Indigenous peoples or hearing about residential schools as a child at home or at school. At Vanier, I was offered a permanent position to teach chemistry and science and embraced the challenge of teaching subjects for which I had content knowledge but little pedagogical training.  I chose to pursue a Master of Arts in curriculum studies at UVic to develop my pedagogical knowledge in science and mathematics education because I discovered I had a passion for teaching these subjects that exceeded my desire to teach music.  Upon finishing my master’s degree in 2006, I was encouraged to apply for, and subsequently                                                 4 Moricetown was named after a Catholic missionary and historian, Fr. Gabriel Morice, OMI.    5 was offered, the position of vice-principal at Vanier (a position that required a graduate degree) and that had suddenly become vacant. Finding myself in a school leadership position very early in my career, I was forced to learn quickly the broad strokes of the position, since my master’s degree did not include any coursework on or training in school management or educational leadership.  This rushed and ad hoc approach to leadership development meant that I often failed to notice, much less respond to, the nuances as I went along.  The upside was that I needed to question everything – including long-standing practices, philosophies, and traditions.  This habit has continued throughout the decade I have served as a school administrator and has, perhaps, contributed to the difficulty in determining a single question or topic on which to write this dissertation. An example of something I questioned that has led to this dissertation is the following.  When I arrived in Yukon, all of our students wrote Alberta achievement tests in Grades 3, 6, and 9 for language arts and mathematics, even though Yukon followed BC curricula.  I accepted this practice as a teacher, but early in my tenure as a vice-principal I asked a veteran administrator why this was so.  He explained that it was a hasty decision made when Yukon was heading into a territorial election and there was an issue of whether Yukon students could meet provincial standards.  According to him, Alberta apparently offered the best deal to license their tests for a one-time assessment at those grade levels.  The election came and went, the government changed, but the tests remained in the face of much opposition from teachers and parents.  I asked him how this could have happened – why didn’t the Department of Education stop the testing after one year as was planned?  “Sometimes in Yukon you only have to do things once for them to become tradition,” he replied.  6 Despite my chuckling over his flippant response at the time, I have since come to realize how dramatically it has influenced my desire to write this dissertation because it speaks to the notion of how dramatically past events and circumstances can influence current policies and practices.  Many curiosities and questions about my practice re-emerged during my doctoral coursework, and I struggled to focus on one and to choose a methodology that would best help me to evaluate my own practice (and that of others) and make choices to advance my practice.  I will admit some initial cognitive dissonance about the prospect of studying the past in order to make better decisions about the future.  Ravitch and Vinovskis address this issue, arguing in Learning from the Past: What History Teaches Us About School Reform that “unfortunately, many policy makers and analysts believe that current problems are new and unprecedented” and lamenting “the unexamined belief that knowledge of history is not necessary or particularly helpful.”   They conclude, however, that “although studies of past educational reforms do not necessarily provide immediate and specific suggestions for improving our present system of schooling, they do contribute to a better understanding of the complex and diverse nature of educational development and change today.”5  After considering arguments such as this, and following some sage advice, I was convinced that the discipline of history – a research tradition that examines change and continuity through the study of past events and often documents – was an ideal way to address many of the questions                                                 5 Ravitch, Diane, and Maris Vinovskis. Learning from the Past: What History Teaches Us About School Reform. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.   7 about the origins of the policies and procedures that directly affected my practice as one of Yukon’s school leaders.  This approach did, indeed, reveal to me the events that led to the testing decision.  Specifically, I could verify that debate about Yukon students’ achievement levels was being actively used as a partisan political tool in the 1990s and that standardized testing was a direct response.  Further, the research helped me to better understand the context – most notably how the centralized structures of the Department of Education were increasingly in conflict with desires for more local control over school programming during that period.  Persistent concerns about whether local control was resulting in lower student performance revealed why subsequent governments would not consider changing a flawed (in my opinion, at least) testing regime for more than a decade. This is but one example of how history helped me to better make sense of my practice.  Perhaps because of changes in process or reform attempts developing immediately into “traditions,” I have certainly witnessed skepticism towards ideas that young teachers (and administrators) and the recently arrived from other jurisdictions have brought with them.  In general, this skepticism manifested itself as an intense resistance to any change in some schools to the point where I wondered if the resentment directed towards any change efforts that seemed to come from “outside” was systemic.  I was often curious about the processes of change in Yukon’s schools and how strongly it might be related to the “outsider” influence – of which I was one.6  During my time in Yukon, there have been several educational reform attempts that have borne little fruit in terms of systemic change, which again led to my                                                 6 And perhaps I am still perceived as one, despite my 16 years of residency.  8 curiosity about how educational reforms came and went in Yukon.  A historical approach is useful in gathering or grouping a collection of similar or related events to shift the focus from the specific people or events to broader forces of change.  Such an analysis reveals Yukon’s more recent attempts at educational reforms as a collection of politically motivated initiatives, externally imposed on the Department of Education with little to no support within the department for implementation.  Yukon’s rural communities, some of which are almost entirely populated by Indigenous families, have a single schooling option operated by the Yukon Department of Education.  This situation has raised concerns about the relevance and quality of the education provided to Indigenous students in these schools.  Newcomers often wonder, since the Indigenous population is only a fraction of the total population, why Indigenous leaders appear to have such significant influence with other levels of government – influence that can be unhesitatingly used even when it provokes conflict and controversy or is perceived as obstructionist.   A common observation is how Indigenous advocacy organizations or First Nations governments can appear completely unwilling to compromise on certain issues, instead choosing to gamble on the courts to possibly achieve an outcome that is more favourable.   In addition, new arrivals to Yukon from elsewhere in Canada often use terms like “Indian band” or “Indian reserve” and are confused by the notions of “self-governing First Nation” or “settlement lands” when corrected on their terminology.  I will confess that I initially perceived this as pure “political correctness” but have more recently come to understand the long struggle of Yukon’s Indigenous peoples for self-determination and recognition of rights and title that were never lost due to treaties.    9 A historical approach, when looking at Indigenous educational issues, was a useful way to make sense of the speed (or lack thereof) of change.  Circling back to the agreements described at the start of this chapter, a historical approach has helped me to identify the specific forces that resulted in the basic concerns of Indigenous parents about their children’s education changing so little over such a long period of time.  For example, my research revealed that land claim and self-government negotiations during the 1970s and 1980s introduced massive uncertainties into Yukon’s future that shifted focus away from educational concerns.  Further, this dissertation reveals that the pace of change was influenced by Yukon’s Indigenous peoples’ willingness to tolerate the uncertainty and exercise great patience in order to achieve an outcome with which they could be satisfied.  This is instructive to me, as a school leader, in understanding how my desire to solve problems quickly might not be matched by Yukon’s Indigenous community, who are more concerned with ensuring that a proposed solution is the best one.   After my first few months as a Yukoner, I was informed that I had the right – despite having no children and being an employee of the school – to vote in my school’s election for school council members.  In addition, I was urged by some to exercise this right in the upcoming election to help oust some of the current members who were making life difficult for our principal.  This seemed a really odd circumstance considering my experiences in BC where, with some exceptions mostly in the larger cities, school board elections were sleepy affairs that had little or no effect on the operations of most schools.  Thus began my education about the governance and operation of Yukon’s schools.  All of Yukon’s public schools (including the Catholic schools) are operated directly by the Department of Education.  The deputy minister of education is an appointed civil servant who is the “CEO” of the  10 Department of Education and oversees all aspects of the operation of schools.  During my undergraduate years as a student in the faculty of education, we had the good fortune of having BC’s deputy minister of education visit one of our classes.  The instructor, upon seeing the blank looks on our faces after announcing the upcoming visit, had to give us a crash course on the organizational structure of typical government ministries and ended his lecture with “the deputy minister will have exactly zero influence on your day-to-day work as a teacher.”  In Yukon, however, this maxim does not hold true.  The bureaucratic apparatus of the Department of Education performs the dual roles equivalent to those of a provincial Ministry of Education and a school board inside one single organization, headed by the deputy minister.  This hybrid system is complicated further by the existence of school councils that have significant authority over the operation of individual schools – less than a school board but far more than a Parent Advisory Committee (or “PAC,” which exist for most schools in BC).  A Yukon school council has the authority to recommend the dismissal of a principal to the superintendent, and several have availed themselves of this ability on occasion.  As a principal, I find it quite confusing when the superintendent (to whom a principal reports on a day-today basis) issues instructions that a school council finds reasons to oppose.  Some principals joke about the “care and feeding” of their school council as one of their primary job duties while others ignore the councils at their eventual peril.  This organizational structure of school governance and operations is not matched anywhere in Canada (or perhaps the world).  It can certainly be confusing for new administrators and can cause a great deal of uncertainty for all administrators.   This has led me to another research question: Where did this unique structure arise from, and why has it endured?  Here history provided answers as well.  As this dissertation  11 will show, this system of governance was rooted in efforts – based on more than seven years of consultation with the public – to create governance structures that were intended to devolve the operation of schools completely away from the territorial government to local school boards.  This intent furthered the trend of the ongoing devolution of powers from the federal to the territorial government.  School councils were intended as an intermediate step to build capacity in those elected for the additional responsibilities of boards, but school council members grew to enjoy their increased authority without the extra pressures that would come from the additional responsibilities of fully autonomous school boards.   Politics is an odious word for some, and many agree that politics has no place in schools.  A simple definition of “politics” was once offered to me as “the allocation of scarce resources” – whether they be money, time, or other finite resources that need to be distributed equitably and rationally.  This definition helped me to become comfortable with the notion of politics in an organization to represent how I, as a manager and administrator, allocate resources and evaluate the perspectives of those who would or would not receive what they’d hoped for.  What I have just described is what I would label as “small p” politics, as opposed to “large P” politics, which I understand to be the partisan politics that we associate with our larger political systems (e.g., federal parliaments, legislative assemblies, or municipal councils).  One of the outcomes of Yukon’s Department of Education being a hybrid ministry/board is that the department is overseen by an elected minister of education who sits as a member of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.  Thus, the organizational chain of command between the elected politician who is charged with governing the system (and who plays “large P” politics) and those who operate the schools is quite short.    12 The short chain of command can be illustrated by an experience I had early in my career as a vice-principal. I helped my superintendent compose a briefing note for the minister of education about the processes of player selection for a Grade 8 volleyball team – in anticipation of the question being raised in the Yukon Legislative Assembly later that afternoon!  This situation is not unique to Yukon’s education system – similar incidents occur with regularity in all of the territory’s government departments.  As a new teacher in Yukon (and later as a principal), I always found the perceived needs of the “large P” politicians to influence minor operational decisions in some schools discomforting and sometimes downright distasteful.  As a current administrator, I have had to learn to analyze my day-to-day decision-making along with my efforts to bring positive systemic changes to the school through “large P” political lenses, which I understand most school administrators in larger jurisdictions do not feel compelled to do (at least not as frequently as I).  Here, again, history reveals that this aspect of my practice is rooted in the existential identity of the Yukon territory.  Yukon recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first election contested with political parties – an election that had a direct effect on Yukon, effectively severing its colonial administrative and legislative relationship with the federal government the following year.  A historical examination may not reduce my frustrations about Yukon’s politics, but it has increased my appreciation of how it has helped to achieve a responsible and representative territorial government for Yukoners. Personal and professional experiences have led me to research and write this dissertation.  Each of these four dimensions (school process changes or reforms, Indigenous education, school governance, and the role of politics in education) have seized my attention at various points during research on my doctoral degree, resulting in numerous questions  13 being raised, each begging for further analysis in order to help me chart a path forward in my practice.  Common to the process of working through each question, however, was a point when I would scratch my head and ask myself, “How the heck7 did we get to this point…?!”  The most effective and instructive answers to this question have come through the process of carefully examining and analyzing past events, circumstances, and forces that influenced change – in short, the historical approach.  I have come to feel that this approach is, simply, a critical aspect of good educational practice. Educators and school leaders who have a thorough and complete understanding of the past will, indeed, make better decisions for the future.    Structure of the Dissertation Each of the first five chapters begins with a brief overview.  Chapter 1 begins with a short description of the settlement of non-Indigenous people throughout the territory brought on by two major developments.  The first is the discovery of gold in the creeks around what is now known as Dawson City in the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in peoples in the late 1800s that resulted in the creation of the Yukon Territory from what had been part of the Northwest Territories.  The second is the building of the Alaska Highway, a path cut across the entirety of Yukon from east to west during World War II.  Both developments firmly established the federal government as the sole provider of programs and services to all Yukoners.  Ottawa’s distant and paternalistic approach to decision-making is demonstrated through two educational issues: The provision of education to Yukon’s Indigenous children                                                 7 Or a colourful expletive.    14 and the dismissal of a long-serving superintendent of schools.  Further, as the population concentrated in the newly established capital city of Whitehorse, a concurrent demand for an expansion of the Roman Catholic separate schools revealed a population divided on the question of separate schools that would result in a change in Ottawa’s approach to resolving local disputes. The next phases of Yukon’s linked constitutional and educational development are marked by the following events: The creation of the Advisory Committee on Finance in 1960, the appointment of elected Yukon Council (YC) members to the territorial Executive Committee in 1970, the arrival of responsible and representative government to Yukon in 1979, the passage of the Education Act in 1990 and an updated Yukon Act, which came into force in 2003.  Each of these occurred near the beginning of each decade and serve as the periodization of this history. Chapter 2 covers the period spanning from the creation of the Advisory Committee on Finance in 1960 to the appointment of the first elected Yukon Council to the territorial Executive Committee in 1970.  The 1960s was a decade containing a series of incremental changes whereby the federal government began to allow Yukoners to have more of a voice in the decisions that affected their lives.  It begins by detailing the work of a Committee on Education in 1960 that helped to resolve some of the tensions created by the rapid expansion of the school system and gave Yukoners an opportunity to provide input into the running of the institution of schools – the first meaningful consultation process sanctioned by Ottawa.  More active attempts to integrate Indigenous students into the territory’s public schools exposed rifts in the demands of the non-Indigenous settler population as well as of the Indigenous population.  The latter were increasingly finding a voice to express their claim to  15 the land and desired to see themselves better represented in the school system.  The federal government’s appointment of Yukoners to the powerful position of commissioner, following many requests, did not greatly affect the federal government’s complete control over all of Yukon’s affairs.  However, creative and thoughtful solutions to problems arising in schools (both public and separate) along with increased participation of parents in advisory committees would help the Yukon Council make the case to have its elected members play a greater role in the territory’s most influential governance and administrative organ, the Executive Committee. Chapter 3 starts with the appointment of an elected Yukon Council member to the Executive Committee in 1970 and ends three months short of 1980 with the arrival of responsible and representative territorial governance.  The 1970s was a period when the federal government’s confidence in elected Yukoners to make responsible governance and administrative decisions increased.   It began with the appointment of the first elected Yukon politicians to exercise control over a program area – one of which was education – in 1970.  The early 1970s saw Indigenous groups across Canada forcefully arguing for increased rights and opportunities.  Yukon’s contribution to this fight was the delivery of a seminal document to Ottawa, Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow, which started the land claims and self-government negotiations process in Yukon and across Canada.  At the same time, the Yukon Council implemented educational legislative reform that enshrined mechanisms for parents to advise school principals and the Department of Education on the operation of their children’s schools in a revised School Ordinance but did not expand the advisory role.  A dispute over the teaching of an Indigenous language in Haines Junction revealed a notable example whereby the voices of the parents needed to be weighed against the needs of the  16 territorial system and against federal and territorial political priorities.  Throughout the decade, the authority of the federally appointed commissioner was continually weakened through letters of instruction issued by the federal minister of Indian and northern affairs in favour of locally elected representatives.  This continued through to 1979, when the minister instructed the commissioner to give all her authority to a fully elected Executive Committee. Chapter 4 covers the period starting with the Epp Letter that brought responsible and representative government to Yukon in 1979 and ends with the passage of a progressive piece of education legislation in 1990.  This period demonstrated the territorial government’s increasing confidence in its own authority, which was demonstrated through an ambitious legislative agenda that showed the territorial government’s confidence in the abilities of individual communities to assume more local control of services, including education.  The chapter starts with the advent of responsible and representative government in 1979, which was not, initially, followed by a bold new direction for Yukon.  Yukoners’ newly gained responsibilities were initially tempered by the continuing land claim negotiations and the repatriation of Canada’s Constitution.  Despite the commitment of Indigenous groups for their children to remain in territorial public schools, there was little in the way of innovations in education in the early 1980s.  Widespread public dissatisfaction contributed to the development of an unsanctioned and locally facilitated consultation process about Yukon’s schools.  Changes continued to be minimal until the middle of the decade when a territorial election resulted in a change of government and the development of a federal-territorial funding agreement, and a revitalization of the land claim negotiation process provided impetus for change.  What followed was an intense period of extensive consultations about education with two separate processes, the Joint Commission on Indian Education and the Education Act  17 Task Force, both proposing a radical reconstruction of Yukon’s education legislation.  Both reports suggested increasing various mechanisms to provide increased local control that were incorporated in a new Education Act, assented to in 1990.  These mechanisms were intended to allow the territorial government to potentially completely divest itself of the business of running schools, but this did not happen. Chapter 5 covers the period starting from the passage of the Education Act in 1990 and continues through to an updated Yukon Act coming into force in 2003.  Despite the potential for more local control, the 1990s showed that the territorial government’s confidence in devolving its power was not matched by a desire from local groups to accept it.  The Department of Education was working hard at the beginning of the decade, anticipating that local school councils would quickly become school boards and assume complete control over the operation of schools.  However, the development of self-government agreements that created more questions about the jurisdiction over Indigenous education, and school councils’ uneasiness in assuming the increased responsibilities that would come with the increased authority, prevented the widespread transition to school boards.  The confidence of the territorial government in their ability to govern education effectively evolved into overconfidence, demonstrated by two failed attempts to institute additional legislative reforms.  The first was a hastily developed “back to basics” movement only a few years after the passage of the Education Act, and the second was a mandated 10-year review of the Education Act.  Both were perceived as partisan attempts to use education as a political tool, causing both to ultimately fail in making any significant changes in legislation.   During the end of the 1990s, the federal government released its grip on the last programs and services that it directly controlled through a devolution transfer agreement and a  18 new Yukon Act that gave Yukon almost complete “provincial” powers over programs and services.  However, the federal government was not willing to grant similar provincial-type protections and maintained its ultimate control over Yukon’s future.   Chapter 6 briefly describes some additional educational reform attempts and selected educational issues since 2003 that highlight the shift of political tensions from the federal-territorial to the territorial-local level.  These developments suggest that the confidence of both the territorial government and that of local authorities to devolve more control to the local level (either school councils or First Nations governments) has only recently started to have been regained.8 Finally, Chapter 7 presents a brief conclusion to the history presented in this dissertation with the suggestion that recent developments at the local level are reminiscent of those that occurred at the territorial level starting in the 1960s. Four appendices are also included at the end of the dissertation: a list of the powers and duties of school committees, councils and boards in the 1962 and 1974 School Ordinances and 1990 Education Act; a timeline summary of federal and territorial political changes (1950-2018); school enrolment statistics (1953-2003); and general educational and population statistics (1958-2003).                                                    8 The author arrived in Yukon in June 2002 and began in the employ of the Public Schools Branch in September 2002, at which point he became an active participant in the system, and this is one of the reasons that this history ends in 2003.  19 Figure 1. Map of Yukon.     Map by Sue Thomas, https://yukonsights.ca/YukonMap.html.  Used with permission.    20 Figure 2. Yukon Indigenous Language Map.     Map by Yukon Native Language Centre, https://www.sgsyukon.ca/language-initiatives/yukon-first-nations-languages/. Used with permission.      21 Chapter 1 – A Brief History of Yukon (and Its Schools) until 19601   The Yukon Territory was created through an act of Parliament in 1898 from land carved off the Northwest Territories as a reaction to a massive influx of miners following the discovery of gold in 1896.  The Yukon Act established the federal government’s authority over the planning and implementation of all programs and services that would be required to support the population.  This arrangement was initially welcomed amidst the chaos of “gold fever” but the welcome changed to resentment as permanent settlers desired more control over their own affairs.  The construction of the Alaska Highway during WW II brought more settlers and increased criticism of Ottawa’s approach to governing and administrating the territory.2   Two developments involving educational matters demonstrated the extent to which federal decisions with little or no consultation had drastic effects on lives of Yukoners.  The first was changes to the Indian Act in 1951 to allow for the education of Indigenous students in provincial and territorial schools and was an example of a national policy that was implemented, with mixed success, in each of Yukon’s communities.  Secondly, Ottawa revealed its deafness to the concerns and desires of Yukoners through the firing of a popular and long-serving school superintendent.                                                   1 For a comprehensive treatment of the early years of schooling in Yukon until 1960, readers are recommended to consult Marjorie Almstrom’s A Century of Schooling: Education in the Yukon, 1861–1961. 2 See Figure 1 (on the preceding page) for the route of the Alaska Highway – it is marked as Highway 1 on the map.  22 These events were followed by intense public debate about separate schools in the late 1950s.  The federal government was reluctant to directly intervene, which signalled a shift in their approach that would lead to more opportunities for local decision-making in the 1960s.  Pre-history to the Gold Rush The vast lands of today’s Yukon Territory constitute a land mass the size of France and a home to over 35 000 people. The territory has existed only as a bounded area since an act of the Canadian Parliament – the Yukon Act – defined it in 1898.  This action by the federal government was a swift and decisive action to “hold on” to this land in the face of a sudden and rapid influx of gold-seekers into the area, spurred on by the discovery of gold at Bonanza Creek in 1896.  A primary focus of the Yukon Act was to bring law and order to the region, ensuring that judges, courts, jails, and coroners were in place to support the efforts of the North West Mounted Police, who had been sent north to maintain order and Canadian sovereignty in the area.3 Indigenous peoples had been living in the region for thousands of years; their ancestors had arrived by walking over a land bridge from what we now know as Russia during the last Ice Age.4  After the arrival of waves of European explorers to the east coast of North America, traders and missionaries started to push west, and there was a constant presence in Yukon of                                                 3 Coates and Morrison, Land of the Midnight Sun: A History of the Yukon, (Montreal: McGill Queens University Press, 2017) 83–4; Cameron and Gomme, The Yukon’s Constitutional Foundations, Volume 2: A Compendium of Documents Relating to the Constitutional Development of the Yukon Territory, (Whitehorse: Northern Directories Ltd., 1991) 50–4. 4 Coates, Best Left as Indians: Native–White Relations in the Yukon Territory, 1840–1973, (Montreal: McGill Queens University Press, 1991) 3.  It should be noted that the theory of a “land-bridge” is disputed by some Indigenous peoples.  23 both starting in the early 1800s.  Fur traders, in particular, created economic relationships with Indigenous peoples.  Schools began to emerge as primarily Anglican missionaries established themselves in the few permanent settlements (the Indigenous peoples lived a nomadic lifestyle based on subsistence harvesting) to provide what Marjorie Almstrom (a long serving Yukon teacher and Department of Education official who wrote a comprehensive history of the first 100 years of schooling in Yukon) refers to as the “three Rs” of the time: Reading, writing, and religion.5 These schools were often run by clergy (or their wives) and offered instruction, usually through the methods of recitation and rote memorization (since books and other supplies were almost impossible to obtain because of the remoteness and isolation) in the alphabet, reading words and sentences to the point where scriptural passages could be used for instruction, Bible stories and morality tales, basic arithmetic, and handicrafts like knitting and sewing.6  While efforts were undertaken to assist Indigenous children and adults in learning English, there were also efforts by missionaries to learn and codify the various Athabaskan dialects spoken in the region in order to assist proselytization, especially in the more northerly latitudes.7 While the rest of Canada was trying to deal with the “Indian Problem” in the late nineteenth century, usually through mechanisms contained in the Indian Act, the Government of Canada was content to leave Yukon’s Indigenous peoples to live their lives free from                                                 5 Coates, Best Left as Indians, 21–31; Almstrom, A Century of Schooling: Education in the Yukon 1861–1961, 3–5.  Again, readers are urged to read both these histories for a thorough and comprehensive treatment of the period covered in this chapter. 6 Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 5. 7 Ibid., 13–15.   24 government interference or control.  In addition, unlike much of the rest of Canada below the 60th parallel, no treaties were ever negotiated with Yukon’s Indigenous peoples – a fact that would have dramatic implications almost a century later.8    Klondike Gold Rush and Establishment of Yukon Territory In 1867, the United States of America purchased the lands now known as Alaska from Russia and began to explore and survey them in earnest.  Much of this survey work, done by American companies and workers keen to explore and exploit the vast mineral wealth of the area, resulted in prospectors replacing fur traders as the primary economic driver of settlement in the area that included the Yukon.9  Therefore, aside from the Indigenous peoples, it was mostly American settlers and prospectors in Yukon in August 1896 when the discovery of a rich deposit of placer gold triggered the stampede of settlers coming north.  This rapid migration is commonly known as the Klondike Gold Rush and, almost overnight, created the largest city in Canada west of Winnipeg: Dawson City.10 While the Canadian government had a small presence in the area doing surveying work in the late 1800s, the arrival of the North West Mounted Police in 1894 marked the first permanent presence of the government.  For several years, communities of prospectors and settlers had popped up beside various creeks and waterways as gold was being discovered.  The miners paid no taxes and followed self-imposed rules to maintain order and peace.  The                                                 8 Coates, Best Left as Indians, 162. 9 Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, (Whitehorse: Legislative Assembly of Yukon, 2009), 6–8. 10 Coates, Best Left as Indians, 36–9.   25 arrival of the mounted police was the first real assertion of Canada’s sovereignty over the area, and their presence dramatically increased after the 1896 gold discovery.11  Prior to the Yukon Act, the area was under the control of the government of the Northwest Territories from its headquarters in Regina.  The federal government, in conjunction with the mounted police, had created a chief executive position stationed in Yukon to make decisions on behalf of Ottawa because telegrams containing queries and instructions could take up to six weeks to be sent and then arrive back.   The passage of the Yukon Act formally created the role of commissioner to provide administrative, executive, and legislative powers to the newly formed territory.  This individual was appointed by the Governor in Council (the federal cabinet) and reported to the minister of the interior.  He was assisted and advised by a council of six individuals composed entirely of other federal employees.  The commissioner was also assisted by other federally funded employees (such as the judge) but could also use territorial revenues from locally collected taxes and permit fees to employ territorial civil servants and make expenditures to provide other services, including the provision of education.12  The provision of education was not a priority in the early years of the Yukon Territory, since most prospectors did not come with children or remain in the territory long enough to settle and start families.  As Dawson City’s population grew, several private schools emerged, usually staffed by the few American women who had accompanied their husbands, for the few children who needed schooling.  The demand for public schooling did increase along with the population, and it was lamented                                                 11 Coates and Morrison, Land of the Midnight Sun, 57–8. 12 Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, 11.   26 in Dawson City’s local newspaper that despite having a population of almost 20,000 English-speaking citizens, it had no public school.13 Part of the reason for the delay in the provision of public schools was that the commissioner and his council were federal employees who were not well prepared to provide the services typically provided by provincial or local-level governments, such as education.  Many Americans, who were used to having local control over many of the programs and services that the commissioner was expected to provide, became agitated and made demands for elected representatives to be included on the commissioner’s council.  In particular, the concept of common schooling and its use in helping to civilize unsettled territories was a recent phenomenon in the western United States where many of the gold seekers originated from.14  These factors led to discussions of what provisions a Yukon school law might contain.  There were assumptions that it would likely be based on what was in effect in the Northwest Territories, which included denominational schooling – a notion that would have conflicted with the sensibilities of the Americans who came from a tradition of secular common schools.15 Commissioner William Ogilvie was able to begin addressing the issue of providing schools in 1899 and, indeed, looked to the Northwest Territories for legislation that could serve as the model for Yukon’s.  Ogilvie, however, hoped to avoid a sectarian system and proposed such to the heads of Dawson City’s four primary denominations (Anglican, Roman                                                 13 Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 75. 14 David Tyack and Elizabeth Hansot, Managers of Virtue: Public School Leadership In America, 1820-1980 (New York: Basic Books, 1986), 39–44. 15 David Tyack, The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974); Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 78–9.  27 Catholic, Presbyterian, and Methodist), who had experience collaborating to deliver health services in the burgeoning community.  The Roman Catholic priest, however, would not participate in a non-sectarian system and opted to create a separate school for Roman Catholic families that would be funded by their taxes.  The other denominations agreed to a non-sectarian public school, the necessary supplies were ordered, and the school was slated to open in the fall of 1899.  However, in a twist of fate, the steamer carrying the supplies sank en route to Dawson City and, faced with increased pressure to provide publicly funded schooling, Ogilvie offered any school that could accept more students a public grant.  Following that offer, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School, which had opened in the fall, accepted additional students and received the public funding.  Later, despite the opening of the public non-sectarian school, the School Ordinance was written to provide public funding to both the public and separate schools, like those in the Northwest Territories. Despite Ogilvie’s continued desire for the creation of school boards that could levy school taxes that would cover the entire cost of running the system, the schools – public and separate – were all maintained through territorial grants.16 The growth of Dawson City resulted in a public and a separate school continuing to operate along with additional public and separate schools in other communities in Yukon, including the small town of Whitehorse, which served as both the terminus of the White Pass and Yukon Railway from Skagway (in the Alaska territory purchased by the United States from Russia in 1867) and the paddlewheel steamers that travelled to Dawson City.  Other                                                 16  Richard Stuart, “Duff Pattullo and the Yukon Schools Question of 1937.” Canadian Historical Review 64, no. 1 (1983): 25–9.   28 small schools were created in the “creeks” – the small settlements that remained in the Klondike as prospectors continued to search for new sources of gold.  The superintendent of schools had a heavy workload – the supervision, staffing, and inspection of all territorial schools – but was also expected to teach classes in the Dawson Public School, resulting in a succession of superintendents, each leaving after just a few years of service.  In 1912, a plebiscite took place with the view of forming school boards, but this was rejected once again in favour of territorial grants to both public and separate schools.17 Yukon went into a long period of economic decline after the first decade of the 1900s until World War II, with resultant cuts to the government infrastructure to support schools and services.  The federal government considered eliminating the Yukon Council, an elected advisory council provided for in the Yukon Act, after years of being lobbied for specific (and partisan) appointments for the position of commissioner and after hearing constant hues and cries about shrinking appropriations.  Instead, it reduced it to three members, brought most of the decision-making back to Ottawa-based officials, and retitled the position of commissioner to “gold commissioner” in 1918 to signify the more limited duties.18    World War II and the Alaska Highway The advent of war in the Pacific during WW II was to bring sweeping and more permanent changes to the lifestyle and economy of Yukon with the construction of the Alaska Highway.  With the prospect of war brewing, the American government created the Alaska                                                 17 Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 99–107; Coates, Best Left as Indians, 28. 18 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold: The Yukon Commissioner’s Office 1898–2010 (Whitehorse: Legislative Assembly of Yukon, 2012), 44.  29 Highway Commission in 1938 to begin looking at possible routes through the Yukon and to commence negotiations with the Canadian government.  A route bypassing Dawson City was chosen and resulted in the construction of several large airfields in Yukon at Watson Lake and Whitehorse.  The attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 increased the threat of attacks on the continental United States and resulted in a hasty end to negotiations and the immediate start to the construction of a land route to Alaska following the chain of airfields that had already been constructed.  Whitehorse, being a nexus of rail, river, and air transportation, became the administrative centre of the road-building and maintenance efforts, resulting in an influx of soldiers and settlers, many of whom were able to bring their families.19 The construction of the highway had a drastic impact on Yukon’s Indigenous population, who transitioned from a more nomadic lifestyle to permanently settle in areas that were close to road access to take advantage of work opportunities in addition to their traditional subsistence and harvesting lifestyle.  Since the gold rush, Indigenous peoples had started to participate increasingly in the wage economy.  This employment, only in the lowest-paying and least attractive jobs, was seasonal with mining work but became year-round for road construction and maintenance.20   The opening of Yukon through the construction of the Alaska Highway also increased the attractiveness of Yukon to exploration and mining companies.  In the late 1950s, the resource-rich north became a national focus as the “Northern Vision” of John Diefenbaker’s Progressive Conservative Party and included the “Roads to Resources” concept, which                                                 19 Coates and Morrison, Land of the Midnight Sun, 226–30. 20 Coates, Best Left as Indians, 192–3.  30 brought even more federal infrastructure funding to Yukon. This increase in federal funding, matched by infrastructure funding in communities for municipal developments such as water and sewer works, housing developments, hospitals, and schools, was welcomed by Yukoners even though the funding solidified the firm control of the federal government over the territory’s affairs.21    Colonial Governance Continues Unabated Postwar George Jeckell started in the post of commissioner in the early 1930s during one of the lowest points of Yukon’s population and economy.  He remained in the position during the population explosion of the 1940s, continuing to run territorial affairs while situated in his office in Dawson City, only flying to Whitehorse on occasion to interface with federal or military officials.  He minimized the social and educational concerns arising from Whitehorse as temporary problems as he, along with many others, suspected that the highway would not be maintained after the war, which would likely cause Whitehorse to dwindle to its former size.22  It was not worth investing time or money to solve problems for a population that would likely simply disappear in a few years, he likely felt. Complaints about the welfare of non-Indigenous peoples had resulted in the rise of partisan politics, which also included the formation of socialist political parties that started to                                                 21 Smyth, The Yukon’s Constitutional Foundations, Volume 1: The Yukon Chronology (1897–1999) (Clairedge Preess, 1999), 18; Coates and Powell, The Modern North: People, Politics and the Rejection of Colonialism (Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 1989), 24–5. 22 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 51–2.   31 exert pressure on the commissioner and Ottawa for more money and resources for Yukon.23  One such party, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), also began lobbying in earnest for democratic reforms, including the election of the controller (as the commissioner’s position had, yet again, been retitled before the war because of more limited duties) and for more direct control of spending by the Yukon Council.24  None of these reforms were realized.  After Jeckell and his immediate successor retired, a series of Ottawa-trained bureaucrats were appointed and parachuted in to assume the expanded role of the commissioner to strengthen the federal government’s control over the territory’s affairs. These appointments certainly caused some friction between the residents of Yukon, who became increasingly convinced that Ottawa was taking little interest in their desires.  A major development that demonstrated Ottawa’s unilateral control over Yukon’s government and administration was its decision to move the capital from Dawson City to Whitehorse in 1951.  After the war, while the number of military personnel did decrease, a sizable number of army, air force, and additional federal employees remained (and would for years) as the road was transferred from military control to the federal Department of Public Works and, finally, to the Yukon government.  Whitehorse had grown to a population of 5,800 (compared to Dawson City’s year-round population of 500) and was clearly becoming Yukon’s economic, transportation, and communications centre.  Complaints increased in frequency from Whitehorse’s citizens and the military about the ineffective administration of the territory from Dawson City.  After years of rumours and speculation, combined with the continued                                                 23 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 51–2. 24 Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, 244–5.   32 decline of the mining industry and a lack of road access to Dawson City, Ottawa decided to transfer the capital to Whitehorse.  The residents and business-owners in Dawson City feared this would mean the demise of the town and fought the move but to no avail.25  The capital transferred to Whitehorse in March 1953, bringing the seat of government to a crowded, relatively unplanned community with inadequate facilities.  Because of assumptions that the highway would be decommissioned after the war, Whitehorse was devoid of much of the basic infrastructure required for a capital city, including schools.  Although a new public elementary-secondary school facility had recently been built, the school was almost 100 pupils over capacity after only a year in existence, and a variety of stop-gap measures had to be taken to resolve the problem.26  The federal government immediately recognized the situation as desperate, began looking at longer-term projections, and began planning to get ahead of future growth by building more schools and decentralizing the lower grades into newly developing neighbourhoods.27  Yukon was about to embark on almost 20 years of constant school construction in Whitehorse and outlying communities to cope with the shifts in the economy and changes in Indigenous education policy that would pit, at times, the local wishes of the community against the desires and dictates from Ottawa.                                                    25 Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, 278–80. 26 Almstrom, A Century of Schooling: Education in the Yukon 1861–1961, 212; Johnson, At the Heart of Gold: The Yukon Commissioner’s Office 1898–2010, 58. 27 R. G. Robertson to F. H. Collins, March 23, 1956, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 8.   33 School Governance and Parent-Teacher Associations Yukon’s unique territorial status affected the way its schools were governed. Yukon did not have the school boards and trustees that most Canadian provinces did, and all schools were run directly by the territorial government.  Instead of boards of elected trustees, local Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) were one of the few ways that parents had any voice in school operational matters.  Not all schools had them because neither teachers (including the principal) nor the superintendent were required under the School Ordinance to have mechanisms to maintain or nurture good relationships between parents and the schools.  The ordinance only required the superintendent to investigate matters that arose out of disputes when necessary.28  Parents, while having a very vested interest in the operation of and programming offered in schools, had no formal mechanism other than complaining to a federally appointed superintendent to make their opinions heard, ensure that sufficient resources were available, or make any decisions at all about how the schools served their children. In Whitehorse, where most residents had come from other parts of Canada that had school boards or other forums for giving parents a greater voice in the running of the schools, there was demand for a more formal advisory committee.  In 1952, a meeting of the Whitehorse City Council and the Board of Trade resulted in an agreement to form an education committee.  It had a chair appointed by the commissioner and six representatives, each designated by the Yukon government, Whitehorse City Council, the Whitehorse Board                                                 28 Yukon, An Ordinance Respecting Schools, 2nd Session, 15th Yukon Council, 1950, Assented to 3 November 1950.   34 of Trade, the commanding officer of the Northwest Highway System, the commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the PTA.  The letter sent to each of these bodies inviting them to collaborate alluded to the furnishing of funds for the purchase of school furniture on which some advice was being sought.29  The committee was hit by a setback early on when the commissioner’s appointee had to resign due to ill health, which resulted in few meetings being held.30 A year later, Commissioner Wilfred Brown felt it necessary to write to Ottawa seeking advice on the “proper functions” of a PTA, making reference to a recent memorandum that was issued in the Northwest Territories to address a similar issue.31  A copy of the memorandum was promptly returned to him by J. V. Jacobson, the superintendent of education, which clearly suggested that the PTA should not “be an organization of parents which takes over from the principal the running of the school or which continually interferes with the administration of the school” and should not “interfere with the functions of a properly constituted school authority but to give assistance and advice to such authority in the carrying out of their legitimate duties.”  PTAs were not meant to be a forum for the airing of grievances of teachers towards parents or vice versa, nor were they meant to be fundraising or social committees.  Instead, their main aim was the collective study of problems that related to the education of children in which “the teacher as a professional educator must be prepared to                                                 29 F. Fraser to A. K. McGregor, July 26, 1952, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7. 30 L. Higgins to F. Fraser, November 4, 1952, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7. 31 W. G. Brown to J. V. Jacobson, November 9, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7.    35 give a great deal of guidance.”32  These comments were understood to mean that PTAs were to be tolerated but that no sense of control whatsoever would be granted to such a group. There was local interest in education.  PTA meetings were very well attended, with crowds of up to 300 parents at Whitehorse meetings for the public schools.  Meeting attendance was bolstered by students through a competition in which the class that had the largest number of parents attending the meeting was given a banner marking the achievement.  Education was also a key feature in other public meetings, such as the Whitehorse Board of Trade, which invited speakers such as the territorial judge to opine about school curriculum, facilities, and financing.33  Public debate about and interest in education was also evident in the newspapers, which, in addition to many letters from writers throughout Yukon about the state of education in the territory, ran articles in the summer months outlining the changes in staffing at the various schools and detailing the qualifications and experience of each incoming teacher or principal.34 Rural schools did, from time to time, find their PTAs useful in lobbying the Department of Education or the commissioner for their facility needs.  The Mayo PTA was quick to thank the commissioner for the “proper lighting fixtures sent to be installed in the Intermediate school.”35  Dawson City’s PTA was more urgent with their concerns regarding the poor state of its school, particularly the washrooms, and were able to enlist the help of the                                                 32 J. V. Jacobsen to W. G. Brown, November 19, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7. 33 “Judge Says Territory Should Take over Indian Affairs,” Whitehorse Star, October 8, 1959.  34 “Teaching Positions for Yukon Schools,” Whitehorse Star, July 16, 1959.  35 J. H. Barwise to W. G. Brown, November 23, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7.   36 medical health officer in their assertion that they would not continue to send their children to the school if the situation was not remedied immediately.36 Responses to these letters of concern were largely dismissive. The Mayo PTA, which had also suggested looking at the salary scales for high school teachers, was told that, while there was “no doubt improvement can yet be accomplished…we are faced to-day [sic] with an accumulation of problems which have been arising over the past years, and it is extremely difficult to make haste in solving them within our financial and physical limitations.”37  Education of Indigenous Children in the 1950s Schooling was a major public concern in Yukon, and two developments in education showed how the federal government played an integral role in Yukoners’ lives – and their educational lives in particular.  The first was the federal government’s educational responsibility for Canada’s Indigenous peoples as enshrined in the Indian Act.   Yukon’s colonial and territorial history and status, combined with the provisions of the Indian Act, had its greatest effect on the education of the territory’s Indigenous youngsters.  If non-Indigenous citizens felt that Ottawa had minimal concern for their concerns, attention towards concerns and desires of Indigenous parents for their children was essentially non-existent.  Missionaries’ attempts to provide schools for Indigenous children had been constant since their arrival in the 1850s and had mostly consisted of seasonal day schools where                                                 36 J. H. Barker to F. G. Smith, July 29, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7. 37 W. G. Brown to J. H. Barwise, December 2, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7.   37 attendance was sporadic and the longevity of missionaries to carry on the work was often quite short.  The passage of the Indian Act and subsequent development of a system of residential schools did not bypass Yukon despite its isolation from the rest of Canada.  However, it is acknowledged that the pace of residential schooling in Yukon was not as aggressive as in other parts of Canada because of isolation.  Prior to WW II, only one federally funded residential school was constructed in Carcross by the Anglican Church. It never exceeded 150 students at any one time.  This school, operated much like others throughout Canada, was noted for its substandard nutrition for students, inclusion of work programs that took up much of the day, poor facilities, and abuse by the staff.  News of deaths of children while they were attending the school spread widely, and many families were able to resist efforts to have their children sent to the school.38 After the war, as public schools began to emerge in new towns along the highway, Indigenous students were prevented from attending some altogether and reluctantly included in others (usually if they were non-status or of mixed ancestry, the latter sometimes referred to as “half-breeds”).  This allowed the churches to maintain their dominion over the education of Indigenous peoples, often by priests and missionaries who immigrated to Canada for that purpose.39  The new highway also increased the ease by which children could be transported away from their families to the schools, leading to an increase in the government’s efforts to provide residential schooling.  The Roman Catholic Church started work on its residential                                                 38 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, The Inuit and Northern Experience (Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), 58–65. 39 A. Richard King, The School at Mopass: A Problem of Identity (New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967), 9–10.   38 school in the late 1940s, with a school opening in 1951 in the British Columbia (BC) village of Lower Post, just a few kilometres outside of Watson Lake, for Roman Catholic Indigenous children from throughout Yukon.40  The Baptists opened a hostel and school in Whitehorse aimed towards non-status Indians or “half breeds,” who weren’t eligible to attend residential schools and fared poorly in the territorial public schools.41 The increased ease in transporting Yukon’s Indigenous children to residential schools, however, was closely followed by a federal government policy change after the war: assimilation of Indigenous peoples through integration into provincial and territorial public schools rather than through segregated schools.  This resulted in the federal government choosing to devolve their direct control over the education of Indigenous children to provincial and territorial governments. The federal government amended the Indian Act in 1951 to allow for agreements to be made with provincial and territorial governments, other churches, and social agencies to provide schooling for Indigenous children living on-reserve so they could receive an education “in association with other children.”  A great deal of public optimism was expressed in newspaper articles and editorials throughout Canada for the change as a strategy to increase assimilation of Indigenous peoples through integration, and the public’s growing unease of segregation policies after WWII.42   This change represented a loosening of the federal government’s attempts to assimilate Indigenous peoples aggressively                                                 40 Tony Penikett, Hunting the Northern Character (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017), 138. 41 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, The Inuit and Northern Experience, 65–9. 42 Helen Raptis, “Implementing Integrated Education Policy for On-Reserve Aboriginal Children in British Columbia, 1951 – 1981.” Historical Studies in Education 20, no. 1 (2008): 118–46.  A federal government report, the Hawthorne Report, highlighted early on the problems inherent in these attempts to merge the different lifestyles, approaches to knowledge transfer, parenting styles, and world views and the inherent dissatisfaction in the integrated schools by Indigenous parents, as evidenced by low attendance rates.   39 to a more devolved approach whereby local authorities would implement the mandate through their local school systems.  The attitudes towards Indigenous children and the purpose of their inclusion in the territory’s public schools are revealed in the language used in the reports on the school system at the time.  In 1951, superintendent Hulland reported that [t]wenty eight Indian children are attending the public schools of the Yukon Territory.  Before admission, these children are examined by a doctor, who certifies the pupils as to cleanliness and freedom from disease.  The progress of Indian children is slow, but it is gratifying to note their enthusiasm and improvement in cleanliness.  The prospect is that within a few years the stigma of segregation will have been removed, and that the native children will develop into useful citizens.43  Despite the push towards more integrated schooling, most of Yukon’s Indigenous children who were enrolled in a school received their basic education at a residential school throughout the 1950s.44  The approach of building hostels near the public and separate schools in Whitehorse was expanded as the community grew, and, consequently, the number of Indigenous children living away from their families increased during this time as students transferred to schools offering the higher grades that were not offered in the residential schools, increasing the pressures on school facilities across Whitehorse.45 The experiences of the students living in the hostels were similar to those at the residential schools.  In addition, their reception in the public or separate schools was often unfriendly, and there was often resentment from non-Indigenous children and their families, along with the suspicion of disease.  Yukon’s public schools had been following the BC                                                 43 Education in Yukon Territory–Yukon Territorial Schools, Dec. 15, 1951, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7. 44 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, The Inuit and Northern Experience, 84. 45 H. Thompson to F. H. Collins, December 17, 1955, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 8.  40 curriculum since 1934, but the church-run day or residential schools were not required to follow any particular curriculum.  This situation, combined with the fact that much of the residential school day consisted of work or chores, resulted in the Indigenous students transferring into the public schools being very far behind academically when compared to white students of similar ages.46   The inclusion of Indigenous children in secondary schooling was further limited as only academic university-track courses were offered because there were not sufficient resources to offer both a university- and a commercial-track program.  This situation began to change when Ottawa provided a mandate to Commissioner Collins in 1956 to begin a wide-scale expansion of schools in Whitehorse, including the construction of a high school facility (because the public school was still K-12 at the time), to develop a series of neighbourhood elementary schools spread throughout the city, and to plan for a vocational school.47  Dismissal of a Superintendent of Schools The second development that revealed how little authority Yukoners had over their affairs was shown through another clash between Ottawa’s desires and local preferences. In 1954, Commissioner Wilfred Brown fired Jack Hulland, the long-serving superintendent of schools.  Hulland had been appointed superintendent in 1938, relocating from Whitehorse to Dawson City to take the position, which also required him to teach at the Dawson Public                                                 46 Coates, Best Left as Indians, 204–5. 47 R. G. Robertson to F. H. Collins, March 23, 1956, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 8.  There are no references made to “vocational” schooling, only “commercial” focusing on office-related skills.   41 School while he supervised the entirety of Yukon’s public school system: Five schools, nine teachers, and 270 students.48  By 1952, that number had grown to 11 schools, 33 teachers, and almost 900 students, with the numbers continuing to rise.49  Hulland made his large workload known when he wrote to the territorial treasurer in 1949 to ask for a raise for his wife, who was his part-time secretary.  He stated that at the time, in addition to teaching for the entire school day, he answered up to 100 letters per month, acknowledged every application from a prospective teacher, wrote reports as required, ordered supplies and maintained the accounts for all the schools in Yukon, and coordinated with the Canadian Army and Department of Indian Affairs regarding the new schools being built along the Alaska Highway.50  As the number of schools, teachers, and pupils continued to increase, he was granted no additional staff and was transferred to the newly designated capital of Whitehorse in advance of the rest of the government in 1952.  In Whitehorse, his teaching load was removed, but no assistant principal was engaged in the Whitehorse Public School where his office was located, suggesting that he was to act as the assistant principal of the school when necessary.   Hulland’s opinions about expanding the programming offered in the school clashed with those of Commissioner Fraser, who had recently been appointed and who was taking a conservative approach to the addition of other subjects such as art and commercial training (ie. typing), despite Mr. Hulland’s suggestions and the desire of the Education Committee (formed                                                 48 Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 206. 49 Government of Yukon, Annual Report of the Government of the Yukon Territory 1951–1952, (Whitehorse: Queen's Printer, 1952)  50 R. Hulland to W. A. Wardrop, November 9, 1949, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 8.   42 a few months earlier in 1952) to offer them.51  When called to account for a complaint that an art teacher had to be dismissed over the summer and was unable to find employment elsewhere, Fraser responded to his superior that Hulland and the Education Committee had concurred with the conclusion that art or commercial subjects should not be offered within the school and had initiated the dismissal.52 Over the course of 1953, the state of the school in Dawson City, which had always been less than ideal due to a lack of financing for repairs and renovations, became a source of contention when the toilets were condemned by the local health officer and parents were refusing to send their children to the school and pledged to keep them at home until the situation was addressed.53  Commissioner Brown (replacing Fraser who transferred back to Ottawa) was advised by his masters in Ottawa that they assumed “that this condition had arisen within the past year, as you state[d] that you had no knowledge of the condition, and as I have been informed by your predecessor that the condition did not exist during the time that he was in Dawson.”  Although it was unlikely that a situation such as that could have arisen within the space of one year, and alongside the numerous requests to the government over the years for heating, plumbing, and painting repairs, it was suggested that “it was unfortunate that the state of affairs was drawn to your attention by the Superintendent of Education” and                                                 51 F. Fraser to R. Hulland, July 15, 1952, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7. 52 F. Fraser to F. J. G. Cunningham, September 4, 1952, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7. 53 Petition to Commissioner Brown, August 11, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 1.   43 that this situation represented an “indication of inefficiency in this department of your administration.”54 Commissioner Brown had also taken it upon himself to ensure that properly functioning PTAs like those in the Northwest Territories were in place, and he was quick to hear parents’ concerns.55  In Mayo, there was some question of whether the “education of children in the Yukon would be blighted because of the lack of progressive ideas on the part of the educational authorities in charge,” exacerbated by what was perceived as Superintendent Hulland’s under-response to charges of assault that were filed against the local principal and resulting in the community investigating the formation of a school board.56   In 1954, Commissioner Brown fired Hulland from his position as superintendent.  Outcry was swift and widespread, with students, parents, and Yukon Council members condemning the move as another example of the autocratic style of the commissioner, perhaps acting on instruction from Ottawa.57  An editorial published in the Whitehorse Star suggested how this action became a lightning rod for criticism of the state of democracy and local control in Yukon: “Actions such as this, by over-officious Civil Servants indicate to the people of the Yukon just how democratic our present government set up functions.  It indicates a complete domination by Ottawa of Yukon affairs and leaves public opinion the only weapon of defence.”58                                                 54 C. W. Jackson to W. G. Brown, September 3, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 1. 55 J. V. Jacobsen to W. G. Brown, November 19, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7. 56 J. H. Barwise to W. G. Brown, November 23, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2396, file 7.; Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, 298. 57 Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, 298; Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 228. 58 Editorial, Whitehorse Star, April 2, 1954.  44 As the reinstatement of Mr. Hulland would have undermined the authority of the commissioner, the protests to Ottawa initially went unheeded.  However, the Yukon Council’s next sessions were dominated by particularly intense opposition and criticism of both the commissioner and his Ottawa-based masters, and Hulland was eventually reinstated for a short time before he retired.  Following his retirement, he was elected to the Yukon Council for a single term before retiring once again, and for the last time, to BC59  Growth of Roman Catholic Separate Schools and Sectarian Divisions In the late 1950s, conflict arose regarding the funding of separate schools for Yukon’s Roman Catholic families.  Provisions for Roman Catholic separate schools throughout most of the provinces of Canada were part of the larger minority rights protections in the British North America Act.  Similar provisions were included in school legislation for the Northwest Territories (which was patterned after Manitoba’s legislation), which served as the template for Yukon’s legislation.60   Thus, the legislative provisions for separate denominational schools that carried over to Yukon (simply because of the legislation chosen to serve as the template), combined with the fluke sinking of a steamer carrying supplies for a non-sectarian public school in 1899, resulted in the existence of publicly funded Roman Catholic schools in Yukon.  Over 50 years later, their continued existence would erupt into vigorous debate that the federal government was reluctant to address directly, leaving an opportunity for Yukoners                                                 59 Smyth, The Yukon Chronology, 18; Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 229. 60 Ronald Manzer, Public Schools & Political Ideas: Canadian Educational Policy in Historical Perspective (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994), 56; Cameron and Gomme, A Compendium of Documents, 4.  45 to exercise more influence in the resolution of the issue and opening the door to more local control being devolved from Ottawa. Debates surrounding the public funding of such a separate school system had been ongoing since the first public grants were issued in 1899 and enshrined in Yukon’s School Ordinance of 1902.  The debates also addressed questions of who, ultimately, was in charge of the separate schools – the Roman Catholic Church that operated them, or the Yukon government that funded them. Although St. Mary’s Catholic School became the first publicly funded school in Yukon in 1899, a non-sectarian school was quickly established thereafter.  However, the precedent of a separate system for Roman Catholic schools was established with a continuously operating Roman Catholic school in Dawson City (and, for periods, in Whitehorse).  Attempts to eliminate the territorial government’s grants to the separate schools included a failed plebiscite to create a school board for the Roman Catholic separate schools in 1913, which allowed the grants to Roman Catholic schools to continue.61 During the Alaska Highway construction, a Catholic school re-emerged in Whitehorse in the 1940s to support the growing number of Catholic families, both military and civilian.  The church sought no funding to construct the schools and only approached the government for an operating per capita grant after they were built.  This situation changed in the mid-1950s when it became clear to Bishop J. L. Coudert that students in the Roman Catholic school ought to have a facility that was comparable to the recently constructed public school.                                                  61 Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 213.   46 The public school was already close to capacity soon after it was built, so there was some interest in entertaining the bishop’s proposal that a new school be built, financed in equal portions by the territorial government, the Department of Defence, and the church.62  The territory’s finances were once again in decline once the population decreased after the war, and one attempt to control expenditures was the controller’s reduction of the per capita grant to the Roman Catholic schools by 25 per cent. Devolving some of the costs of new school construction to the church was attractive to both the territorial and federal governments.63 Ottawa did have some reservations about expanding its funding to separate schools, including capital funding, and a long exchange of letters between the bishop, the controller, and various officials in Ottawa helped to clarify the funding situation over the five decades that the schools had received territorial funding and making the case for funding that was equivalent to the territory’s public schools in all aspects.64   Negotiations regarding the construction costs of the new school continued and eventually resulted in the federal and territorial governments contributing almost $250,000 towards the cost of the new school, which was expected by the bishop to cost just short of $350,000.  The Catholic Sisters of Providence, a religious order from Quebec, would staff the                                                 62 J. L. Coudert to H. A. Young, October 30, 1952, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 5.  63 Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 215. 64 J. L. Coudert to H. A. Young, February 6, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 5.   47 school and absorb the remaining costs of construction.65  Christ the King School was constructed and ready to accept students in 1956.66   This long and complicated, but ultimately successful, negotiation, which affirmed for Catholics their right to have a separate school system that was on par with the public system, emboldened them to continue to make requests of the territorial and federal governments.  August 1956 saw a meeting between the bishop, the commissioner, a Yukon Council member, and the superintendent of schools to discuss several issues that had arisen concerning the operation of Christ the King School.  The meeting was initiated after the bishop and the principal of the school had started advertising on the radio that Christ the King School would be offering kindergarten, commercial classes, and an expansion into Grades 9 and 10, all without the approval of the superintendent of schools.  The issue of the superintendent having authority over the school’s programming, since the territory provided the operating funds, was discussed and agreement reached for cooperation in operational matters.67  This agreement, along with the agreement to increase the per capita grant to the school, was communicated to Ottawa.  Ottawa’s response contained the minister’s concern about the development of commercial courses in the school because it might present some competition for the desired one large territorial high school and vocational school.68                                                 65 W. G. Brown to J. L. Coudert - Draft, February 1955, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 5; J. L. Coudert to W. G. Brown, April 2, 1955, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 5. 66 Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 216. 67 F. H. Collins to R. G. Robertson, August 8, 1956, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 7. 68 R. G. Robertson to F. H. Collins, August 15, 1956, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 7.   48 The Catholic community, in the light of the favourable relations with the territorial and federal governments and faced with increasing enrollment and the desire to continue the education for students coming from the Lower Post, BC, Indian residential school, continued looking to expand Christ the King in 1958 to accommodate more pupils and additional grades.69  There was resistance from both the federal government and the Yukon Council because the expansion into Grades 9 and 10 was originally intended to be a temporary solution until a larger public high school could be constructed for all students.70  Continued correspondence then began to put many of the agreements made in the summer of 1956 into question and resulted in a long letter from the bishop to Commissioner Collins in which he asserted that these issues and the territory’s newfound resistance to allowing Roman Catholic pupils from outside of Yukon to attend the school (meaning students from the Lower Post, BC, residential school) would cause scandal for the territorial government if it were revealed and debated in the press.71 These threats did not result in the desired outcome for the bishop, and in November 1958, the Catholic community of Whitehorse presented a formal petition, signed by over 500 Catholic ratepayers to the territorial government to create a separate Catholic high school.  However, rather than the territory being shamed in the press for their lack of support, public debate erupted over the issue of funding for separate schools, much of it played out in the                                                 69 J. L. Coudert to F. H. Collins and Yukon Council, March 15, 1958, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 6. 70 F. J. G. Cunningham to F. H. Collins, March 25, 1958, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 6. 71 J. L. Coudert to F. H. Collins, August 12, 1958, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 6.   49 chambers of the Yukon Council.72  Over the course of 1959, numerous newspaper articles, editorials, and letters to the editor appeared in the Whitehorse Star debating the merits of both sides of the issue.  The main concern opposing the move to create a Catholic high school was based on economics and expediency. There were only around 12 students in the current Grade 12 program at the public high school (again, which only offered university-track high school courses). The ability of the territory to finance construction of additional facilities was questioned as well.  There was also the issue of previous “gentleman’s agreement[s]” regarding the grades that the Catholic schools were to restrict themselves to.  This agreement, it was noted, had already been violated when the Catholic schools started offering Grades 9 and 10 a few years previously.73  Similar debates had occurred earlier in the decade when the armed forces had planned to construct their own elementary school near the base and the Yukon Council had successfully convinced them to fund a territorial school rather than creating a separate system for military families.74 The main argument for the creation of the additional high school was the rapidly increasing number of students and the legislated right to separate schooling for the Roman Catholic community that was enshrined in the Yukon Act.  The debate on the latter became centred on the right to exist versus the level of funding that was required from the government.  A Whitehorse Star editorial noted that the right to exist “does not mean that the rest of the population has the obligation to finance the separate education of the minority                                                 72 Almstrom, A Century of Schooling, 288. 73 Editorial, Whitehorse Star, October 29, 1959; M.E. Alford, Letter to the Editor, Whitehorse Star, November 12, 1959. 74 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 108.   50 group whether it be Roman Catholic, Anglican, Jehovah Witness, Baptist, United Church or any other denomination.”75  Supporters of the separate school cautioned that pushing for a single school system might also lead to having a single “big store, one garage and for that matter only one airline and by their monopoly in the field, each would be the best” and suggested that some competition would only result in the overall improvement of the system.76 The debate was causing civil servants to be caught between loyalties to their employer and loyalties to their church.  One public official chose to forward a copy of a letter – from the deputy minister to the commissioner – to the Roman Catholic bishop, which he, in turn, cited as proof of Ottawa’s efforts to thwart the desires of the Roman Catholic community.77  The minister responded to the bishop, aghast at the situation: It would appear that someone of the staff of the Commissioner or in this Department takes so light a view of his solemn oath as a civil servant that he is prepared to violate it by stealing documents and communicating them to unauthorized persons against his or her pledged word.  This, of course, is our problem, not yours and I only mention it since you may not be aware of the serious character of the circumstances that must surround this breach of official – and, indeed, personal – morality.78  There were standing-room-only crowds in the Yukon Council chambers as these debates were taking place, and, in the absence of any consensus on the issue, the result was a decision to suggest the creation of a commission to study the overall issue of education in the                                                 75 Editorial, Whitehorse Star, October 29, 1959. 76 G. B. Dudley, Letter to the Editor, Whitehorse Star, November 19, 1959. 77 J. L. Coudert to A. Hamilton, September 19, 1959, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 6. 78 A. Hamilton to J. L. Coudert, October 13, 1959, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 6.   51 territory and develop a comprehensive report for council’s consideration.  This suggestion would be realized early in the following decade and would become part of a defining event in Yukon’s evolution towards responsible government.79  Desire for Provincehood and Autonomy The federal government’s rule over the affairs of Yukoners had been complete and consistent since the territory’s creation in 1898.  During subsequent years, Ottawa’s decisions continued to rankle the elected Yukon Council members and the general public, and the last years of the 1950s were marked by a growing intensity in the desire for Yukon to become a province of the Dominion of Canada.  The federal government had been increasing its financial contributions to the territory steadily throughout the decade and had been maintaining a strong grip on the commissioner’s position since the expansion of its power following the war.  The Yukon Council functioned as an effective “official opposition” to the commissioner and his assistants, and Commissioners Fraser and Brown in the first half of the decade made this task quite easy because of their many unpopular decisions on behalf of Ottawa.   There were instances when Ottawa was also attempting to recentralize its authority, particularly in health, where it hoped to remove the authority of volunteer community boards after devolving health services to the territory in 1953.  This move followed a polio epidemic                                                 79 “Widespread Interest in Council Session Shown,” Whitehorse Star, December 4, 1959; “Further Opinions Aired on Separate School Issue,” Whitehorse Star, December 10, 1959; Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, 329.   52 that highlighted the patchwork approach to serving the non-Indigenous, the Indigenous, and military personnel and their families through different programs. A pooled approach was adopted and a new hospital constructed through the same joint contribution schemes that were being used for the schools.80 There were growing calls for the next commissioner to be a Yukoner and one whose role should evolve to be that of a provincial lieutenant governor, but these were unheeded when, in 1955, Major F. H. Collins was appointed as commissioner.  Collins was an astute choice because his experience in both the Northern Affairs Branch in Ottawa and his military experience positioned him well to understand each of those bureaucracies.81  His appointment, however, was followed by the election of a young Whitehorse lawyer, Erik Nielsen, as member of Parliament for the Yukon.  Nielsen was elected on a platform of bringing more representative and responsible government to Yukoners, in particular to Indigenous peoples, and he would spend his entire 30-year parliamentary career working towards this goal.82  Nielsen’s initial election was aided when his party’s leader, John Diefenbaker, promised that Yukon would be Canada’s 11th province by 1967.83 Ottawa had long bristled at Yukoners’ demands for facilities and services that rivaled those in the provinces when the territory did not have the tax bases to support them.  Collins arrived in Whitehorse, welcomed by the Yukon Council, which had taken the resignation of the previous commissioner as affirmation of their demands for more control and continued to                                                 80 Michael, From Sissons to Meyer: The Administrative Development of the Yukon Government 1948–1979 (Whitehorse: Yukon Archives, 1987), 19, 26–31. 81 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 60–1. 82 Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, 317–18. 83 Erik Nielsen, The House Is Not a Home (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1989), 111.  53 pass motions and bills that were in direct opposition to what Ottawa would prefer.  At one point, Collins wrote to his superiors to confirm that he had the right and responsibility to withhold assent to members’ bills and advised them that their ability to instruct him to withhold assent should rarely be used, even when there were fundamental disagreements – a sign that the desires of the elected council needed to be honestly considered.  His advice, however, conveniently omitted the more significant fact that Ottawa ultimately controlled the public purse and could retain a great deal of control simply by not appropriating funding for programs and projects they did not approve of.84  While Collins was reluctant to release any authority to the Yukon Council, especially concerning Yukon’s finances, his acknowledgement of his reluctance to exercise his veto powers marked a softening in the commissioner’s loyalty to Ottawa.   Since the creation of the Yukon Territory in 1898, the federal government had remained firmly in charge of the planning and delivery of all programs and services.  Federal policy changes (such as the decision to integrate Indigenous students into public schools) and unpopular bureaucratic decisions (such as the commissioner’s firing of a popular school superintendent) throughout the 1950s accelerated the erosion of Yukoners’ tolerance of the level of federal control.  Education was no exception.  However, disputes over the funding of Roman Catholic separate schools created an opportunity for more local control because the federal government was reluctant to intervene directly to change federal legislation or local ordinances to resolve the situation.  This dispute, combined with the commissioner’s recognition that his veto power should be limited, represented the beginning of a shift that                                                 84 Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, 316.  54 would continue through the 1960s.  This shift would continue as a series of incremental steps, many of which involved schools or education, that would attempt to place more political power into the hands of elected Yukoners, allowing them to gain Ottawa’s trust in their abilities to make responsible governance and administrative decisions.     55 Chapter 2 – 1960–1970 Advisory Committee on Finance to the First Elected Yukon Council Member Responsible for Education  A series of small and incremental changes started the shift of control over Yukon’s affairs to the territorial government throughout the 1960s.  One change was Ottawa’s greater consultation with Yukoners, and soliciting Yukoners’ views on education was a crucial example.  A special Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory was formed in 1960 to help resolve the tensions created because of the Roman Catholic separate schools. As it would turn out, this represented the first meaningful consultation with Yukoners about a government institution that featured highly in the daily lives of Yukon families.  Another change that built momentum to transfer control from the federal government to Whitehorse was more First Nations’ involvement in the territory’s affairs, not least of all in Yukon education.  More active attempts to integrate Indigenous students into the territory’s public school system, combined with the federal government’s desire to divest itself of the business of operating schools in the territories for Indigenous students, exposed inequities.   The continuous failures of the territorial school system to meet the needs of Indigenous students contributed to increased political activism amongst Indigenous leaders to express their claim to the land and a desire to see their values and culture reflected in the school system, especially when changes were being made (often quickly) for Roman Catholic separate schools and French-language instruction (both which primarily served non-Indigenous children).  However, even as Yukoners began to be appointed again to the powerful position of commissioner, the federal government’s grip on power remained strong, mostly because of its absolute control over Yukon’s budget.  Nevertheless, Yukoners’ continued involvement in school advisory  56 committees did assist the commissioner in convincing the federal government of Yukon’s capacity for more local control over certain programs and services that would lead to a significant change at the end of the decade: The devolution of the executive authority over Yukon’s schools from Ottawa to an elected Yukoner.  Ottawa Consults Yukoners: Advisory Committee on Finance and the 1960 Committee on Education After a decade of constant requests from the Yukon Council for more democratic representation, Ottawa authorized two developments at the start of the 1960s meant to increase the participation of Yukoners in high-level decision-making.  They were the development of an Advisory Committee on Finance and the subsequent creation of a special Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory. Although matters of school finance played a role in both, they each had very different outcomes, with the latter being far more effective than the former in implementing the will of Yukoners. At the end of the 1950s, the matters of financing and control of the Roman Catholic separate schools that had been brewing over several years were still very much unresolved.  In the period between the construction of the new Christ the King School in 1956 and the request for the school to be expanded in 1958, certain federal officials had sought to resolve the funding issue by amending the School Ordinance to restrict the provision of high school grades to only the secular system to clarify the limits of territorial funding to Roman Catholic schools.  Ottawa ultimately determined that it would to be ill-advised to introduce changes to the ordinance in the midst of the debate, since the separate schools had been operated as territorial schools because of ambiguousness in the School Ordinance and “the situation is so  57 touchy that any attempt to change the Ordinance, however laudable the purpose may be, will be suspect,” highlighting the issues of funding, supervision, and religious education as unresolved matters.  The recommendation was to wait until public demand required changes to the ordinance be made.1  The public demand eventually emerged as the issue garnered standing-room-only audiences in the council chambers during November and December 1959.2   In 1960, the Yukon Act was amended to create an Advisory Committee on Finance. The amendments also increased the size of the Yukon Council to seven members – a move that was intended to afford more financial decision-making authority to the locally elected councillors.3  The territorial budget, over which the commissioner had complete control, was the federal government’s largest mechanism of control over the territory.  Despite the committee being struck, it became the commissioner’s practice to simply present the committee with the budget estimates shortly before they were to be taken to council for debate and vote, which eliminated the advisory committee’s ability to have substantive policy debates with fiscal implications.4   The issue of school financing was one area YC members quickly perceived as a potential lightning rod for criticism that would, ultimately, be directed at them.  This may have served as the reason for the little protest towards the commissioner’s approach to handling the advisory committee.  In this case, it was simply easier to allow the                                                 1 F. Cunningham to Deputy Minister, June 25, 1957, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2679, file 6. 2 “Widespread Interest in Council Session Shown,” Whitehorse Star, December 4, 1959; “Further Opinions Aired on Separate School Issue,” Whitehorse Star, December 10, 1959. 3 Johnson, With the People Who Live Here,  328. 4 Michael, From Sissons to Meyer, 50.  58 commissioner to retain control as long as he was willing to take any resultant public criticism.  As a result of this attitude amongst the councillors, the advisory committee quickly languished and a budgetary solution to the separate schools issue did not result.   Following the rancorous debates in the YC over separate school funding, the public demand that Ottawa required to consider changing the ordinance to resolve the separate school issue was clearly present.  However, factions had emerged within the population, each strongly arguing their position on the issue and the YC could not come to consensus on the matter. Even if they had been able to, again their opinion would have only been advisory to the commissioner who retained the power to negotiate a funding agreement with the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation (which, in turn, could only be agreed to if his masters in the federal government approved).  An impasse resulted.5 The deadlocked debate allowed for some pause, resulting in wider reflection on the state of Yukon’s schools as a whole.  It was realized that the matter of separate schools was just one of many confounding issues concerning the schools.  Schools experienced enrolment changes due to the haphazard expansion of the system that was constantly reactive to the pressures brought on by the development of the Alaska Highway.  The move of the capital from Dawson City to Whitehorse resulted in a large permanent population and years of neglect of school-related issues as the population increase was thought to be temporary.  The demands of the religious communities to provide separate schooling for their children were not abating.  The recent federal changes to the Indian Act to increase the integration of                                                 5 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold: The Yukon Commissioner’s Office 1898-2010, 104–5.   59 Indigenous children into the public and separate schools created much uncertainty.  Finally, all of these pressures were compounded by the unpredictability of an economy based on boom and bust cycles in the mineral industry.6   An elegant solution emerged to help resolve both the pressing issues of separate school financing and control along with the growing list of other demands on the educational system.  This solution, amenable to all, was to form a commission to more widely study education in the Yukon and make specific recommendations. The Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory was appointed in April 1960 to travel throughout Yukon to solicit views and opinions on education and to make recommendations.  The commissioner and the Yukon Council, seeing all the issues needing examination and suggestions, were keen to agree to pause the debate on separate school financing until the report was completed.  The commissioner was also satisfied with a highly visible opportunity for the public to have input into the operation of the territory’s schools.  The terms of reference, drafted by the Yukon Council and sent to Ottawa for approval, were originally quite broad with regard to the revision of the School Ordinance itself but were narrowed to focus on the issues in dispute with Ottawa prior to the engagement of the committee members.  Ottawa was not willing to look at substantial changes to the School Ordinance – it was simply hoping for direction on certain specific clauses.7  The only aspects of the ordinance that were up for examination and discussion were the administration of the schools with regard to the functions of the commissioner and the superintendent of schools, establishment of school districts (and more                                                 6 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report of the Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960 (1960), 3–4.  7 Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, 329.  60 specifically how this might apply in Whitehorse), and the establishment and funding of separate schools with the current population.  While legislative suggestions were restricted to specified areas, the committee was given wide authority to examine and make recommendations to the commissioner concerning any aspects of the operation of the school system in Yukon.8 The committee consisted of three members who were chosen because of their expertise in Indigenous education, high schools, and separate schools.  Clifton Brown, an inspector of schools from BC, had done extensive work surveying Indigenous education throughout the 1950s (including chairing national committee to survey the educational facilities and requirements for Indian education throughout Canada in 1956); Dr. J. C. Jonason was an inspector of high schools from Alberta; and J. P. Miller was a Saskatchewan superintendent of both public and separate schools.  Work on the survey commenced in May and was scheduled to be completed within 100 days.  Brown died suddenly in June, Dr. Jonason was appointed commissioner, and Franklin Levirs, an assistant superintendent of schools in charge of instruction with extensive experience in northern BC, was released from his duties in BC to join the committee.9  A grueling schedule of school visits and public meetings in every community throughout Yukon commenced on May 8, lasting until June 11.  Advertisements in the local newspapers and radio invited all interested individuals and groups to prepare and submit briefs at the public meetings.10                                                 8 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report, 5. 9 Ibid., v–vi. 10 Ibid., 8–12.  61 The committee’s report, issued in August 1960, communicated a strong desire expressed by the public for greater participation in the operations of the schools, mostly articulated through a desire for more localized and autonomous governance of schools through the formation of school boards.  The committee did not encourage this possibility, choosing to recommend that all policy-making and executive authority in the schools remain with the commissioner but that more of the day-to-day operational matters (such as the deployment of specialist teachers and school plant maintenance) at least be devolved to individual school principals.   Principals, the committee recommended, should be guided by local advisory committees, a new structure created to allow parents more formalized mechanisms to provide advice to the schools over various matters.  Local advisory committees would also be permitted to communicate directly with the superintendent of schools to express their concerns or suggestions.11  The duties of the local advisory committees were very similar to the guidelines that were submitted to Commissioner Brown advising him on the duties of parent-teacher associations several years before.12   For more substantive policy advice, the committee recommended that the Yukon Council (which was slated to increase to seven members) form a subcommittee focused specifically on education to advise the commissioner, suggesting that forming such a committee would allow the YC to be “in closer touch with the needs of the public than is possible for the Council to do at the present time.”13                                                 11 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report, 15–17. 12 J. V. Jacobsen to W. G. Brown, November 19, 1953, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2679, file 7. 13 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report, 16.   62 Most of the report, despite its own claims that it was to make broad suggestions rather than give specific implementation advice, was filled with particular suggestions on various matters relating to the duties and qualifications of teachers and principals, the school plant, transportation, and the elementary and secondary curriculum.14   Contained within the collection of over 100 recommendations, the committee weighed in with its recommendation for the separate schools.  Keeping in mind that the schools should only be permitted to admit students of the religious faith that the school was designed to serve, the committee clearly and unambiguously asserted that “separate schools, as publicly-supported schools, shall have the same rights and responsibilities as public schools, receiving the same measure of financial support, being subject to the same regulations in regard to the organization, administration, supervision, staffing and curriculum, and observing all statutory requirements.”15  Following the recommendation that, when there were at least 56 pupils in Grades 10–12, a school should expand to include those grades, the report clearly supported the expansion of the separate school to include those grades despite the public’s and Yukon Council’s concerns that only a single high school should exist in Whitehorse.  Later in the report, however, the committee suggested a way to make the financial contributions for the construction of a separate high school less noticeable to the public: Constructing two new separate elementary schools in the outlying and developing neighbourhoods in keeping with the strategy of devolving elementary education to the residential areas while converting the newly built school downtown into the high school.16                                                 14 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report, 17–98. 15 Ibid., 45. 16 Ibid., 111.  63 The recommendations also included a substantial number devoted to the working conditions and compensation of teachers, since the public had a high interest in the coming and going of teachers and the lack of continuity in programming that sometimes resulted from the high turnover.  Recruitment of teachers to Yukon had always been difficult, especially at the high school level, and a number of recommendations were made to make teaching at that level more attractive to prospective teachers, like the provision of housing and ensuring that the benefits (such as sick leave) were at least as generous as those of provincial neighbours.  The committee did make another dramatic step in recommending both that membership in the teachers’ association be compulsory and that the association be recognized as the bargaining agent for the teachers “under procedures to be outlined in the School Ordinance as will protect the public interest.”17  Clearly, the committee felt that the commissioner and the superintendent had too much unilateral authority in the employment of teachers and chose to exceed its terms of reference in recommending these additional changes to the School Ordinance. The committee acknowledged that there was increasing interest in Indigenous education, noting that “Canadians, consciously or unconsciously, have pursued an apartheid policy, or policy of racial segregation, with respect to the Indians of this country which, if continued, might have disastrous results.”18  The report described the approach of residential schooling and noted that while newly constructed hostels were in their final stages of construction, the “Committee questions the need for and the advisability of continuing the                                                 17 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report, 61. 18 Ibid., 97.   64 policy of these large establishments.  After visiting the two residential schools at Carcross and Lower Post, the committee felt that their maintenance “tended to retard the process of Indian integration very considerably.”19  The committee specifically sought to survey Indigenous parents with regard to the education of their children, since it was clear that their preferences were not represented in the briefs that had been submitted during the committee’s tour of the territory.  A sampling of Roman Catholic and Protestant Indigenous parents, in proportion to the overall ratio of the denominations, was administered by workers in the Child Welfare Department and Indian Affairs Branch who were “accustomed to speaking to the Indians and in whom the Indians [had] confidence.”  A full third of Indigenous parents were still in support of Indian residential schools, while the other two-thirds preferred integrated day schools rather than separate Indigenous day schools.  The report’s authors presumed the third of Indigenous parents who preferred residential schooling did so for two reasons: the ease of hunting and trapping without having to care for children and the perception that the living conditions for their children were better in the residential schools.  This survey was also notable in that it represented one of the first attempts at ensuring that Indigenous parents had a voice in the system of schools their children would experience.  Further, the committee noted that, while integration was laudable in itself, it did not go far enough if other community programs (such as housing) did not follow suit.20  The committee’s recommendations on Indigenous education only went this far and contained no recommendations about any changes to curriculum, the addition of resource personnel, or the inclusion of any Indigenous                                                 19 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report, 98. 20 Ibid., 98–9.    65 culture or language in the classrooms.  The reluctance by the authors of the report to recommend any structural or operational changes to the territorial government would later result in loud dissatisfaction with the system on the part of Indigenous parents and community leaders. Finally, the question of school financing was addressed by the committee.  They noted that Yukoners were receiving many benefits and services despite not paying taxes commensurate with those of their provincial counterparts.  However, they argued that since it would be difficult to levy a reasonable mill rate in Whitehorse (Yukon’s largest community) to finance the schools, it would be impossible to do so in any of the smaller communities and territorial assistance for schools would be an ongoing requirement.  Again, the development of local advisory committees was proposed as a mechanism for laying the groundwork for the development of school boards when the population was sufficiently large to provide the necessary tax base to fund schools entirely through mill rates.  For the time being, however, the territorial government should continue to finance schools, assisted by per capita grants and block funding from the federal government.  The per-pupil rates paid to the territorial government by the federal government for Indigenous students, those who were children of military personnel, and those agreed to for the separate schools were generally less than the actual per-pupil cost expended by the territory.  Part of this problem was because the rates paid by the federal government were revised in five-year cycles and the annual territorial budget was able to be amended to make up the shortfall.21  In regard to school finance, all the suggestions for revisions to the School Ordinance assumed that the territorial schools would                                                 21 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report, 138.  66 continue to be governed directly by the territorial government.  The devolution of school financing and school governance to local authorities would have to wait.  Revisions to the School Ordinance, 1962 Following the submission of the Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory’s final report, the commissioner was faced with the question of what to do with it, especially considering the high profile of the consultations and the heavy participation of the public. As noted in the report: While visiting the schools and holding public meetings throughout the Yukon Territory, the Committee on Education was greatly impressed and encouraged by the keen interest evidenced by a large number of people, representative of every section of the Yukon population. One expected to find this interest in the larger communities but the lively, enlightened participation by the citizens of practically every one of the smaller communities, those served only by one-room schools, was quite surprising and most gratifying.22  This dilemma of how to proceed was typical, since the public’s opinion was not necessarily going to be given much weight in Ottawa, where any revisions to the ordinance would be drafted.  However, several memoranda relating to the drafting of the new ordinance bounced back and forth between Ottawa and the commissioner, including a report providing options for the settlement of several policy matters prior to the creation of the first draft.  Ottawa made a significant recommendation that their report itself containing the options be considered by the YC.  The suggestion that Ottawa was not in the best position to determine                                                 22 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report, vii.   67 the policy direction was a notable deference to the wishes of the YC by the Northern Affairs Branch and represented a change in the paternalistic attitudes of the federal government.23 Yet, the report was clearly written with little understanding of the desires of Yukoners to exercise more control over their schools as reflected in the three major areas where policy direction was required prior to the drafting of the ordinance.  The first was school boards and the question of whether to remove the district schools section completely, since “the people of the Yukon have shown no desire to operate their own schools on a local basis” because “the parents of school age children appear satisfied with the operation of schools for their children by the Territorial Government without direct participation on their own part.”  The report’s writers erroneously interpreted the public’s inability to finance their own schools completely through school taxes as proof that parents were completely satisfied with having no direct influence in the operation of the schools.  The second issue was whether to include specific clauses in the ordinance for the creation and maintenance of separate schools, highlighting the confusion that would result if the territory were to assume all responsibility for funding the separate schools, which might result, among other things, in the territory being required to pay rent for the use of church-owned facilities.  Third and finally, the report’s writers noted that, at several points, the committee’s report included the term “Commissioner in Council” in exercising certain powers.  However, the authority to delegate those powers, the report noted, was solely the authority of the Parliament of Canada, and any amendments proposed by the                                                 23 Director, N. A. B., to F. H. Collins, June 14, 1961, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2679, file 6.   68 Yukon Council would have to be watched to ensure that they were not encroaching on this authority.24 The 1962 ordinance was developed in Ottawa, delivered to the YC for debate and a vote, and subsequently assented to in May 1962 by Commissioner Gordon Cameron (the first Yukoner appointed to the position since the commissioner’s authority was expanded after WWII).  It did, indeed, leave the district schools section intact based on the feedback from the YC, allowing for the creation of locally elected school boards with taxation authority at some point in the future.  The federal government was not about to devolve any authority to any new governance structure, and the new ordinance, unsurprisingly, preserved complete control over the system in the hands of the commissioner while creating a deputy superintendent position to recognize the growing system and the need of both the commissioner and the superintendent of schools to delegate some of their responsibilities.25   However, subtle changes were made to acknowledge the consistent demands for more local control. They included amendments in several clauses to include the phrase “and the Council of the Yukon Territory” after the term “Commissioner” to recognize that the superintendent of schools and the commissioner needed to be increasingly aware of and responsible to the wishes of the elected members of the YC.26 The creation of elected local advisory committees was included in the revised ordinance as a more formal opportunity for parents to become involved and to communicate                                                 24 Memorandum for Legislative Draftsmen, 1961, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2679, file 6. 25 Yukon. An Ordinance Respecting Schools, 1st Session, 19th Yukon Council, 1962, Assented to 11 May 1962. 26 First Page of Amendments to School Ordinance, 1962, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2679, file 6.  69 with the superintendent or the YC on matters involving “the care, management and supervision of the property of [the] school,…promoting the harmonious relations between parents and teachers and children and teachers in that school; and…the improvement or extension of the educational facilities for residents of the community in which that school is located.”27  Nothing, at this time, beyond the school plant and relations between home and school, would be left in the hands of an elected council. The revised ordinance did attempt, as well, to devolve some authority in the area of school staff and labour relations.  The committee’s suggestions to create a bargaining association for teachers from the existing Yukon Teachers’ Association was not included in the ordinance, nor was the requirement for compulsory membership, although this clause continued to exist in the teachers’ contracts with the commissioner.28  Instead, the revised ordinance created a “salary committee” made up of teachers and an “advisory committee” made up of a YC member, a representative of the Department of Education, and a member of the general public.  Both committees could meet “to discuss salaries and working conditions,” but it was only the advisory committee that would report to the YC with the results of such discussions.  This section of the ordinance was amended several years later to clarify that the results of such discussions were not to be binding on the territorial government, suggesting that these mechanisms were being used to negotiate contract terms.  The ordinance was                                                 27 Yukon. An Ordinance Respecting Schools, 1st Session, 19th Yukon Council, 1962, Assented to 11 May 1962. 28 Ibid.; Teachers’ Contract, May 21, 1963, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2679, file 6.   70 amended two other times in the 1960s to clarify and improve the working conditions for teachers, particularly in the area of sick and personal leave.29 The new ordinance did not spell out the specifics of the creation, maintenance, and funding of separate schools.  After the furore over separate schooling in 1959 died down, cooler heads were able to prevail behind the scenes and a compromise was reached that circumvented the need for a legislative solution.  Brokered by one of the Yukon Council members, James Smith, Commissioner F. H. Collins, and the bishop while the new ordinance was in development, the agreement specified that the territorial government would purchase the assets of the Catholic schools and operate them.  The bishop would retain his right to direct the religious education programming in the schools.  Smith stated, years later upon reflection, that “[we had] a responsibility to provide schooling for children, so the fact that some will be under the purview of the Catholic Church [was] secondary…When all the dust settled, we all agreed that Catholic schools would be built where the numbers warranted.”  The compromise agreement was just that – a compromise that allowed for the continuation of publicly funded Catholic education with increased control by the territorial government.  While there was still some unease in YC, the agreement was seen as satisfactory by most of the public and was another example of local officials being capable of developing solutions to complex problems.30                                                   29 Yukon. An Ordinance to Amend the School Ordinance 1st Session, 19th Yukon Council, 1964, Assented to 30 April 1964; Yukon. An Ordinance to Amend the School Ordinance 1st Session, 20th Yukon Council, 1965, Assented to 12 April 1965; Yukon. An Ordinance to Amend the School Ordinance 2nd Session, 21st Yukon Council, 1967, Assented to 19 December 1967. 30 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 105.  71 While the revised ordinance did not make sweeping changes to the school system and largely ignored some of the larger issues regarding separate schools and the integration of Indigenous students, the committee’s report, itself, was included to guide future discussion as an interpretation clause: “Where the necessity for interpretation of any section, work, phrase or other meaning may arise relative to this Ordinance, due consideration shall be given to the recommendations of the Committee on Education contained in their report in the year 1960 and the decisions thereon of the Yukon Legislative Council taken in 1960, 3rd Session.”  The same instruction was given to the commissioner in terms of creating regulations under the act.31  As the federal government had the final say on all territorial legislation, this clause in the ordinance represented their approval of the findings and suggestions of the committee with regard to the future direction of Yukon’s schools.   The work of the four appointed committee members from outside the Yukon who listened to stakeholders in the system, surveyed, and reported on the system in less than 100 days would be enshrined in the law for over 12 years.  Indeed, in 1968 when Commissioner James Smith was contemplating further revisions to the ordinance, he remarked to his subordinates that “[t]he Education Committee Report of 1960 has literally been our ‘bible’ re school operation since it was tabled in Council,” suggesting that a similar report would be beneficial in determining the future of Yukon’s schools.32                                                   31 Yukon. An Ordinance Respecting Schools, 1st Session, 19th Yukon Council, 1962, Assented to 11 May 1962. 32 J. Smith to F. B. Fingland and G. K. Fleming, May 22, 1968, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2398, file 5.  72 Integration of Indigenous Students into Public Schools Exposes Inequities There was a second force exerting pressure on Ottawa to devolve more powers to Yukoners.  The Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory had the issue of the education of Indigenous students included in its terms of reference.  At the time of the report, there had been a movement to integrate Indigenous students in the territorial public schools since the 1950s, alongside continued enrolment of students in the parallel system of federally funded Indian residential schools.  This was one area where the federal government was more willing to devolve some of its authority – it would concede authority over the education of Indigenous students, accompanied, however, by a corresponding shift in the responsibility to see that they were effectively educated to the provinces and territories.  This devolution of responsibility to a variety of jurisdictions led to continued discontent and resentment on the part of Indigenous parents and leaders. After the Indian Act was amended in 1951 to allow for the shift of the responsibility of the education of Indigenous students to the provinces and territories, the remainder of the 1950s brought, throughout Canada, a reduction of the number of church-run residential and day schools in favour of government-run day schools (combined with hostels or dormitories that were, for the most, part church-run) or integration into provincial or territorial public schools.33   These changes in educational policy did result in an increase of the number of Indigenous students enrolled in all types of schools – residential, Indigenous day schools, or                                                 33 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Canada’s Residential Schools: The History, Part 2 - 1939 to 2000 (Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), 39; Raptis, “Implementing Integrated Education Policy”.   73 territorial public schools – with the Indigenous school population increasing from 387 in 1955 to 686 in 1962.34   Into the 1960s, two residential schools took the majority of the Indigenous children in Yukon: Choutla School in Carcross, run by the Anglican Church, and Lower Post Indian residential school in Lower Post, BC (just a few kilometres past the Yukon border near Watson Lake), run by the Roman Catholic Church.  Choutla had been operating from a variety of buildings in the Carcross area since the turn of the century, while Lower Post had only been constructed in 1951.  The Baptist-run hostel and day school had also been in operation in Whitehorse through most of the 1950s but was winding down in anticipation of two hostels – one Catholic and one Protestant – in Whitehorse that were scheduled to open in 1960 for students in the upper grades.35 Well into the 1960s, however, the Choutla and Lower Post residential schools continued to take in young students from grades one through six.  These schools continued to rely heavily on volunteers or clergy to operate the residence portions of the school while beginning to use lay teachers or non-religious teachers, employed as federal civil servants, to provide the instruction during the day.36 The combination of a federally operated school, delivering a provincial school curriculum with a territorial public servant (the superintendent) designated as the school inspector mirrored the realities of other services (like health or justice) that were being delivered within Yukon.37  The institutional rules and procedures that were inherent to each of those parties prevented any responsiveness to the particular needs of                                                 34 Coates, Best Left as Indians: Native-White Relations in the Yukon Territory, 1840-1973, 204. 35 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, The Inuit and Northern Experience, 84–5. 36 King, The School at Mopass, 50. 37 Michael, From Sissons to Meyer.   74 students and ensured that the status quo generally continued to prevail.  The result was an environment that delivered a substandard education to students in substandard living situations, far from their families, and subject to multiple forms of abuse.38 A comprehensive account of the conditions at the Choutla School during the 1962–1963 school year, written by A. Richard King (one of its teachers during that school year),  likened the school to “a well-run stock ranch or dairy farm in which valued animals are carefully nurtured.  General health, proper nutrition, shelter, and physical care are efficiently and adequately provided.  The children are moved, fed, cared for, and rested by a rotating crew of overseers who condition the herd to respond to sets of signals.”  The only major difference between the school and the stockyard, the teacher asserted, is that the stockyard kept better records.39 Few school records were kept, in many cases because of the phenomenally low achievement students would ultimately display. Many of them had arrived at the school unable to speak English and without any exposure to books.  Teachers arriving at the school usually had no idea what to expect as far as the achievement of their pupils was concerned and as they realized that it was impossible to deliver the age-appropriate curriculum, they lowered the level of instruction and often created fictional achievement data for the school records.  Despite a heavy modification of the curricula, the school made no attempts to cater to the cultural needs of its students and, King would comment, lacked “any reflection of Indian attitudes, heritage, and perceived needs.”  Further, during the school year (and also in the                                                 38 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, The Inuit and Northern Experience. 39 King, The School at Mopass, 55.   75 periods in-between), there was no contact with the parents of the children, neither to report any progress nor to solicit any information or input with regard to their children’s education.40 The students who were successful in adhering to the prescribed curriculum often returned to their communities usually with only an emerging set of literacy and numeracy skills that were not particularly useful in their homes because many families still spent most of their time engaged in subsistence harvesting, and with ill-developed skills in these areas, the students returned home feeling as outsiders.41 One of the major developments in the federal government’s quest to integrate the Indigenous population into territorial schools was the development of the two hostels in Whitehorse.  Despite being operated by two different religious denominations, the two hostels were located adjacent to each other in the newly developing Riverdale subdivision and were designed to take in students from the two residential schools so that they could attend either the public schools (for the Protestant students) or the Roman Catholic separate schools for their higher grades.42  These hostels would prove to be similar to the residential schools in terms of living arrangements, but the students would now experience hostility from the non-Indigenous students, who were experiencing an influx of Indigenous students in school corridors and classrooms.43  Also, similar to the residential schools was the constant underfunding by the federal government and the churches’ blind eye towards the physical and sexual abuse that was taking place in the facilities.44                                                   40 King, The School at Mopass, 55. 41 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Part 2, 121. 42 Coates and Morrison, Land of the Midnight Sun, 287; Penikett, Hunting the Northern Character, 138. 43 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, The Inuit and Northern Experience, 85. 44 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Part 2, 296, 415.  76 While the hostels continued to operate with minimal funding, Commissioner Collins lobbied Ottawa to have the subsidy paid to the territory for Indigenous students’ education increased to the territorial average per-pupil costs.  The funding arrangements for the education of Indigenous students in the territorial schools had long been fraught by quibbling over the proportions that each level of government was to absorb.  Further complicating matters was the ongoing negotiations for the Roman Catholic separate schools that saw their students (an increasing number of whom were Indigenous) receive reduced amounts because of capital contributions towards the construction of facilities from both the territorial and federal governments.  This was the case because the separate schools did not typically receive capital contributions, only operating grants.  However, Collins argued that simply paying the territorial average amount could more easily be applied territory-wide for the education of all Indigenous children regardless of what territorial school they might attend, resulting in smoother integration efforts.45  The federal government quickly agreed to this request, very much pleasing Collins, who replied to the decision saying: Your decision will affect [sic] the uniformity we mutually desire and places the treatment of Indian children, insofar as education is concerned, on the same basis as children of white status in the Territory…Using this as a basis we can go forward in other programs applicable to both children and adults which, I trust, will eventuate in the complete integration of these in our social and economic life.  I am sure it is our mutual aim to have our Indian people as independent and self-supporting as their white fellow-citizens.  While this will not take place in your lifetime and mine, at least when the time comes for us to lay down our government pens we will have the satisfaction of having done our best.46                                                    45 F. H. Collins to H. M. Jones, July 31, 1961, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 8. 46 F. H. Collins to H. M. Jones, August 4, 1961, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 8.  77 Collins’s desire for Indigenous independence and integration through education, however, was hamstrung by the demands of the Indian Act which continued to provide for substandard housing and a lower standard of medical care.   While the territory was embarking on integration efforts through territorial schools and the construction of hostels, the latter’s necessity and function were being questioned.  The Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory, having travelled throughout the territory and having examined the shift away from hosteling in the provinces, concluded: Undoubtedly there was a time when the building of large residential schools or schools with hostels was justified by circumstances.  The Committee questions the need for and the advisability of continuing the policy of racial segregation by the maintenance of these large establishments…The love and constant guidance of parents, even if the home conditions may not be physically good, help children to feel secure, a condition which is essential for sound personality development.47    They went further by raising questions of injustice:   Canadian parents, in general, do not subscribe to the principle that the State has the right to forcibly separate them from their children and determine the nature of the education their children should receive.  Is there any reason why the Indian citizens of Canada should not have the same right to control the destiny of their children as other Canadians enjoy?48  There was growing local support for desegregating the hostels to allow for non-Indigenous rural students to study in Whitehorse and improving the home conditions for Indigenous youth.  The former is evidenced by a motion passed by the YC in 1963 when the recently constructed Whitehorse Vocational and Technical Training Centre was opened and students from outside Whitehorse were seeking accommodations while attending.49  In it, the                                                 47 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report, 98. 48 Ibid., 99. 49 Michael, From Sissons to Meyer, 135.  78 council directed the commissioner to appeal to the superintendent of Indian affairs to allow “native children of white status and other children who are in need of hostel educational facilities to be allowed to use the facilities of the Whitehorse hostels whenever room is available.”50 In spite of the desire for integration, Ottawa continued to resist hearing the suggestions of local Yukoners in efforts to reduce other inequities for Indigenous families.  Nowhere was this clearer than in an incident when two local federal officials redirected funds that were appropriated for welfare payments to the construction of housing, following the logic that, unless Indigenous families had a home, the monies spent on them for welfare purposes would never have the intended effect.  Their decision was considered to be misappropriation of funds by Ottawa, and they were prosecuted criminally for their actions.  Dozens of Yukoners, including Bishop Coudert (whose hostels stood to lose students with additional available housing), wrote to MP Nielsen to protest the federal government’s heavy-handed treatment of civil servants using their local knowledge to improve the lives of Indigenous Yukoners.  The two were acquitted at trial, with the local judge commending their courage in making the decision to violate the federal law to improve the conditions of Indigenous peoples.  However, the federal government appealed the acquittal, and it was rejected, with the imposition of minimal fines but ending the careers of the two civil servants.51                                                   50 G. R. Cameron to Superintendent of Indian Affairs, April 1963, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2209, file 10. 51 Nielsen, The House Is Not a Home, 145–6.   79 Ottawa refused to accede to the desires and local, on-the-ground expertise of federal and territorial civil servants in favour of their own policies and procedures, going as far as making it abundantly clear to Commissioner Smith upon his appointment that he was to “help make things work” but not to interfere in Indigenous affairs.52  Instead, Smith was able to create a Federal Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee that was first viewed with skepticism by the myriad of federal officials who were not used to sharing their plans locally but eventually became an effective tool in more intelligent local implementation of federal policies and was especially useful during the transition of the hostels from federal to territorial control and during the closure of the residential schools.53 Indigenous students’ experiences in the territorial public schools were, in many cases, no more welcoming or productive than they had been in the residential schools.  Most teachers in the public schools were imported from other Canadian provinces or from outside Canada, usually arriving with the predominant stereotypes of Indigenous students as lazy and uncivilized and rarely staying in the territory long enough to have these attitudes challenged.  There were, however, some teachers who recognized the poor social conditions as contributing to the inability to achieve academically; however, there was little willingness at the schools to change any of the established structures or curricula to better suit the needs of Indigenous learners, even in schools where they were in the majority. As a result, drop-out rates were high.54                                                   52 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 117. 53 Ibid., 119. 54 Coates, Best Left as Indians, 206.  80  In general, the transition towards integration was done without much, if any, policy development in place and operated under the assumption of assimilation, as one administrator of that era described: “They come to school exactly as do other children.  We have to maintain separate records for Indian Affairs, but that’s all.  The children have the same programs, the same facilities, and the same possibilities as any others when they’re in public schools…We’re not holding Indian children in school.  There’s the same problem with White children but it’s worse with Indians.  We don’t know what to do about it.”55  The decision of the federal government to provide equal per-pupil funding to the territory for all students reduced the requirement to report categories of students (e.g. Indigenous or military) and began an era where this data was not actively collected, which made tracking the success rates (or the failure rates) of Indigenous students difficult, if not impossible. In the outlying communities where the number of Indigenous students constituted the majority, integration was certainly seen to be easier in terms of the students feeling welcome and accepted in school but with no concessions in terms of curriculum.  Students completing school in these communities were often left with few practical skills for living in those communities after school completion, and as a result, the skepticism about the value of school was high and the commitment and completion rates remained low.56   In Whitehorse, the decrease in Indigenous students at residential schools resulted in their growing numbers in the public and separate schools, which was viewed as a problem by non-Indigenous parents when the Indigenous students started to approach majority status.  The                                                 55 Quoted in King, The School at Mopass, 34–5. 56 Coates and Morrison, Land of the Midnight Sun, 288.  81 federal and territorial governments were in general agreement with regard to avoiding the responsibility for busing students within Whitehorse, including for the separate school students whose PTA developed a parent-subsidized busing program for their students who lived within Whitehorse but had too far to walk.  This changed in 1961 in the face of an “urgent” situation where the primary reason for starting to provide busing within the community was to “eliminate the heavy enrolment of Indian status in Grades 5 to 8 in the Selkirk Street Elementary School by transporting some of these pupils to the Whitehorse Elementary School.”  Selkirk Street School was rapidly filling up because of its close proximity to the newly constructed hostels but was located in the new subdivision of Riverdale where Whitehorse’s professional classes were busy building houses.  At some point the superintendent was convinced that the upper elementary grades at Selkirk ought to be composed of “30 pupils, not more than 15 of whom will be of Indian status,” as he stated in his justification for commencing the bus service.57    Certainly, in terms of funding, Indigenous students were seen as guests of the territorial system, as evidenced by the continuing per capita grants coming through federal transfer payment agreements throughout the 1960s.  In this regard, essentially the federal government simply shifted their practice of paying the churches to paying the territorial government similar amounts and were content to release their control of how and where to place the students to the territorial government.  This practice began to shift as the federal government adopted a practice of reformulating transfer payment agreements that were less                                                 57 H. Thompson to F. H. Collins, July 5, 1961, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2405, file 6.   82 prescriptive in their details in other areas as well, such as social welfare, health, and justice towards the latter part of the 1960s.58  As the federal government handed off greater and greater responsibility for Indigenous education to Yukon, federal officials began to express the desire to completely devolve Indigenous education to the territory.  In 1969, the deputy minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development wrote to Commissioner Smith to “review as concisely as possible the Indian education system in the Yukon and to recommend to you proposals for the complete withdrawal of this department from the active operation of education services in the Yukon Territory at the earliest convenient date.”59  The federal government recognized that the organization of hostels based on denominational lines was not effective in using resources efficiently and sought to transfer them to the control of the territorial government, noting that while the Choutla residential school would be closing that year, two hostels might not be required but leaving the final disposition to the territorial government.  The deputy minister kindly offered to “provide you with copies of all directives and regulations covering the administrative details of hostel management, criteria on admissions, training and selection of supervisory staff, etc.,” suggesting that they were hoping (or expecting) that the hostels would continue to operate just as they had.60  Following the transfer of the hostels, the territorial government quickly amalgamated their operations and was able to fairly quickly close what                                                 58 Michael, From Sissons to Meyer, 42. 59 J. H. Gordon to Commissioner James Smith, August 15, 1969, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2404, file 6. 60 Ibid.   83 was the Roman Catholic hostel, with the remaining hostel continuing to operate until the 1980s.61  At the same time that the federal government was seeking to transfer authority to local officials over matters such as education, Indigenous people were also asking, at times loudly, to be more involved in how Yukon governed itself. Their requests only added to the momentum to transfer authority from Ottawa to people in Yukon. The last years of the 1960s saw a rise of Indigenous advocacy and recognition of Indigenous people’s poor treatment at the hands of the government and churches.  Pockets of resistance and subversive activism sometimes developed while Indigenous students attended residential schools and re-emerged after they left as more public activism.  One such activist was Elijah Smith, who had fought for Canada in World War II and who had been one of the few who had been academically successful in the residential schools, giving him the ability to more easily engage politically with governments.  He was motivated to become an activist after “fighting for a free country” and returning to Canada only to find that his Indigenous rights to fish and trap had been further curtailed after WW II.62   This advocacy was seen as provocative by many non-Indigenous Yukoners, and accusations of “outside agitators” began to emerge in the public dialogue as a convenient excuse to ignore the demands of the Indigenous peoples.63  The Yukon Native Brotherhood                                                 61 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, The Inuit and Northern Experience, 168. 62 Nadasdy, Hunters and Bureaucrats: Power, Knowledge, and Aboriginal–State Relations in the Southwest Yukon (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003), 55.  Tragically, many Indigenous veterans from WW II lost their Indian status by voluntarily becoming enfranchised as a Canadian citizen in order to serve in the military, or involuntarily after being away from their reserve for more than four years. 63 Coates and Powell, The Modern North, 100–3.   84 (YNB) was formed in 1968 as an advocacy organization fighting for land claims and increased recognition of Yukon’s Indigenous culture and language.  The organizing and advocacy began to prove effective almost immediately as the Yukon government announced plans to begin developing curricula that more accurately reflected the culture and traditions of Yukon’s Indigenous peoples in the 1969 school year.64  Indeed, even the Yukon government’s internal files reflect the government’s recognition of Indigenous issues in education deserving special attention.  After years of files that contained nothing but invoices and financial requests, topical files containing items concerning the more generalized issue of the education of Yukon Indians emerged only in 1969.65 Debates on the rights and citizenship status of Indigenous peoples became particularly intense in 1969 when the federal government of Pierre Trudeau developed a white paper (officially known as the Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian policy) that advocated abolition of the Indian Act, abrogation of the treaties, and responsibility for Indigenous peoples devolved to provincial governments.  Reaction to this paper from Indigenous advocacy organizations was swift and full of condemnation and would result in numerous policy papers and demands being formulated across Canada.66   The white paper had offered increased services, first directed at the neediest communities, in exchange for the extinguishment of Indian status.  There was little appetite among Indigenous communities for                                                 64 Government of Yukon. Annual Report of the Commissioner of the Yukon Territory 1968–1969 (Whitehorse: Queen’s Printer, 1969), 31. 65 Yukon Archives, Inventory to the Records of the Yukon, Records Office Held at the Yukon Archives (Whitehorse: Yukon Archives, 2005), 125. 66 Raptis, “Implementing Integrated Education Policy”.   85 the abolition of Indian legal status.  One counter-proposal by the Indian Association of Alberta entitled Citizens Plus: The Red Paper argued instead for enhanced programs and services in addition to retaining the legal status.67   Indigenous advocacy organizations throughout Canada seized on education as one of the enhanced services, which resulted in the development of numerous statements on the importance of local control and parental rights over education.  These, in turn, led to the development of the document Indian Control of Indian Education by the National Indian Brotherhood in 1972 that further increased demands for greater parental and local control over Indigenous education across Canada.68    Separate Schools and Religious Education Some of the discontent and activism on the part of Indigenous communities that would culminate in demands for jurisdiction over the education of their children was exacerbated by continued negotiations and discussion between the federal government, territorial government, and churches over educational matters with little or no consultation with Indigenous parents or community leaders. This involved the still unresolved issue of the status of Catholic separate schools in Yukon. In addition, and in contrast, the Roman Catholic Church, based on minority rights provisions in the Yukon Act, was able to exert a great deal of influence and have the educational needs of the Roman Catholic faithful met by both the federal and territorial                                                 67 Leon Crane Bear, “The Indian Association of Alberta’s 1970 Red Paper Published as a Response to the Canadian Government’s Proposed 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy” (M.A. diss., University of Lethbridge, 2015), 98–106. 68 National Indian Brotherhood, Indian Control of Indian Education, 1972.  86 governments. Indigenous leaders did not enjoy this same influence. Education would prove to be a lightning rod for criticism during the development of land claims and self-government negotiations. The 1960 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory was formed, in large part, to help settle the separate schools issues that had been increasing since the move of the capital to Whitehorse in 1953.  The growth of the population in Whitehorse (see Appendix 4) had resulted in a sufficient number of students to argue for a modern facility that was eventually built through a combination of federal, territorial, and church funding and operated in cooperation with the territorial government, although with some friction caused by both sides’ assertions that they were in charge of the programming. The 1960 Report of the Committee of Education (RCEYT60) was quite amenable to the supporters of Catholic education, giving them everything they had asked for – support for an extension into the upper grades of high schools, facilities that were equal to those provided in the public system, and equal per-pupil funding.69  The report raised an important question of the ownership of the current facilities and suggested that the territorial government ought to pay rent to the owner of the school facility.70   Correspondence between the bishop and the minister of Indian and Northern Affairs indicated the federal government’s growing unease about intervening directly in the issue of separate school funding, with the minister hoping that the Yukon Council might settle the                                                 69 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report,  43. 70 Ibid., 44.   87 matter as much as possible.71  Faced with these recommendations and little in the way of legislation, regulations, or policies to guide the particulars of the suggested arrangements, the territorial government entered into negotiations with the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation in 1961 to arrive at a comprehensive agreement. A written formal agreement, brokered by one of the YC members, between the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation and the commissioner was entered into on April 30, 1962 and solved the facilities problems in a dramatic fashion: The commissioner agreed to purchase the Christ the King School from the church and agreed to assume full responsibility for its operation, in the same manner as the territorial public schools, with the exception of the resources and personnel required for religious education.72  The transfer took place on July 1, 1962.73  This agreement was an ideal way for the federal government to tacitly agree to a solution that would not commit them, through legislation, into making similar concessions in the Northwest Territories where a separate board did exist. While the agreement resolved the funding issues, it severely limited the ability to create new separate schools in the territory, which addressed the public’s concern about the dilution and duplication of resources.  Unlike a territorial school that could be created with only eight students in a local area, a separate school required at least 26 students between the ages of five and 16, at least 35 children in the area, and confidence from both parties that the number of children would not fall below 26 in the four years after a petition for a school was                                                 71 A. Hamilton to J. L. Coudert, September 12, 1960, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 8. 72 Cameron and Gomme, A Compendium of Documents, 295-9. 73 G. R. Cameron to Sister Jean Marie, June 5, 1962, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 9.  88 made.  However, this threshold was met in 1964 during an experiment designed to allow Indigenous children from the Watson Lake area to attend day schools while living at home, rather than attending the Lower Post residential school.  The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation began negotiating again with the federal and territorial governments to share the capital costs of a new school.74  St. Ann’s school was constructed in Watson Lake as a three-room, seven-grade school where “students from the ‘better homes’ at Upper Liard were withdrawn from the school at Lower Post and enrolled at St. Ann’s” in addition to the Catholic children of non-Indigenous families.75  The St. Ann’s initiative was fraught with difficulties from the start.  Indigenous children from the residential school were often at least a grade or two behind their non-Indigenous peers of the same age, resulting in some classes with students up to five years older than others studying at the same grade level.  This situation led to behavioural problems and bullying, which caused the non-Indigenous Catholic families to begin withdrawing their children and enrolling them in the nearby territorial public school. The result was a situation in which all but two of the 71 children enrolled at St. Ann’s were Indigenous. There was overcrowding at the territorial school and empty rooms at St. Ann’s.76  Commissioner Smith was disturbed by the “preponderance of Indian children at one school and the apparent                                                 74 A. Laing to B. E. Studer, May 5, 1965, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 9. 75 R. L. Shields to D. W. Simpson, March 26, 1969, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2399, file 3. 76 Report Submitted July 15, 1968 Re Integration of Watson Lake Schools, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2399, file 1.   89 boycotting of this school by the Catholic parents of white children” and wished to be advised on possible solutions to this dilemma.77 Here, the commissioner decided to intervene and directed the superintendent to visit Watson Lake in July 1968 to discuss the situation with various parties.  The solution that seemed most acceptable to all was to integrate the schools into a public, non-sectarian school that would make allowances for religious education.  It anticipated a number of issues related to the integration and hoped that there would be agreement within the community to move forward with such a plan rather than it being imposed.  In addition, an advisory committee was created, with representation from both schools’ advisory committees, the Department of Indian Affairs, and religious groups, to provide direction and evaluate the integration efforts.  Notably absent, however, was representation from Indigenous parents, who were expected to simply ask to have their children moved back to Lower Post.  The superintendent warned: “If truancy problems increase, if drop-outs increase, this will be a signal of rejection of integration at Watson Lake.  Indians do not speak and express their desires to the white man, often they merely try to give the answers that they think that the white man wants to hear.  They simply express their feelings by withdrawing.”78 Bishop Mulvihill responded aggressively to the proposal to integrate the schools. While not completely disagreeing with the proposal but preferring a more gradual approach,                                                 77 J. Smith to F. B. Fingland and G. K. Fleming, March 1, 1968, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2398, file 5. 78 Report Submitted July 15, 1968 Re Integration of Watson Lake Schools, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2399, file 1.  90 he suggested that the movement of students away from the Catholic school might have involved pressure from other clergy in the town: One of the Territorial Councillors and a resident clergyman of Watson Lake have been carrying a campaign against the Catholic school there.  I do not know whether this is done from religious bigotry or from a desire for cheap publicity.  Lately it has become more intense and I would venture a guess that neither of these two gentlemen has spent more than one hour in the past year in Indian homes asking the people their opinions on integration.  Remarks drawn from ignorance are worse than deliberate lies.  It seems to me that Watson Lake is a “Jim Crow” town but with integration of some sort in the public school system, we will be able to see if the general population is more tolerant of Indian children than Catholic parents were.79  Ultimately, an agreement to attempt a two-year pilot of the integration was initiated in September 1968, to be evaluated by June 30, 1970, after assurances were given to Bishop Mulvihill that the minority rights of Catholic parents in Watson Lake would not be negated by this pilot.  The bishop had also made a significant concession in removing all religious paraphernalia from the school and agreeing that the name would be changed to Watson Lake Elementary School.  The agreement also acknowledged that the pilot was due to a specific set of circumstances and that similar attempts would not be made to integrate the Catholic schools in Whitehorse in the foreseeable future.80 In Whitehorse, the expansion of Christ the King’s programming to include Grades 11 and 12 continued to be controversial with the public.  In May 1966, the Yukon Council passed a motion calling for the memorandum of understanding to be amended to limit the particular grades that Catholic schools could offer (regardless of enrolment from the present Grades 1                                                 79 J. P. Mulvihill to R. L. Shields, July 17, 1968, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2399, file 1. 80 R. L. Shields to D. W. Simpson, March 26, 1969, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2399, file 3.  91 through 9) to end at Grade 7 instead.  It also called for the minimum number of students required to offer the higher grades to be raised to 20 students.  The decision was made by the bishop, in consultation with the Christ the King Advisory Committee, to cease offering Grades 11 and 12 in the 1966–1967 year because of low enrolment and to send those students to F. H. Collins Secondary.81  This decision was only agreed to, however, with the understanding that it was to be temporary until the numbers would increase, which, based on the enrolment figures, was predicted to happen within five years.82  However, the following year, with the expectation of those grades eventually being returned to the school, arguments were made by the Advisory Committee to expand the high school facility through the building of industrial arts rooms to accommodate that type of programming when the numbers had increased to the point that they would be required.83   In other smaller communities where the numbers of Indigenous students constituted the majority, especially as the practice of sending students to residential schools declined, there were additional concerns about a different kind of segregation, one based on denominational lines.  One example of such a situation was in Teslin where the majority of Indigenous children were of the Roman Catholic faith and were filling up the territorial public school and where one Protestant parent, after reading the details of the memorandum of understanding, questioned the commissioner: “On the basis of this reported agreement, it                                                 81 H. Thompson to Administrator, July 28, 1966, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 9. 82 Ibid.; Notes from C. K. E. Advisory Public Meeting, March 30, 1966, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2210, file 9. 83 Minutes of Christ the King Schools Advisory Committee, May 2, 1967, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2402, file 4.   92 would seem highly probable that the existing public school here in Teslin would become a Separate school.  I would appreciate a reply, as soon as possible, giving assurance that the rights of the minority in the Teslin area will not be infringed upon.  In other words, that the present public school here will remain public and not become a Separate school.”84  Commissioner Collins was quick to provide the assurance that unless at least two classrooms were needed, a separate school would not be built.85 In addition to the existence of separate schools where religious teachings were incorporated into the whole school program, religious instruction remained part of the daily routine in many of the outlying smaller schools as well at the request of parents and with the facilitation of local clergy (both Roman Catholic and Protestant).  The RCEYT60 acknowledged that the ordinance’s allowance for religious instruction to be given in the last 30 minutes of the school day with the option for families to opt their children out were “both praised and condemned in the briefs received by the committee.”  The committee felt this situation was sound and recommended that it remain in the ordinance as long as it was done by clergy, not teachers, and restricted to the last half hour of the school day.86  Several communities took advantage of this provision, but the support could change from year to year depending on the availability of clergy and the willingness of parents to supervise the program.  In Haines Junction, for example, the PTA requested in 1963 that one 30-minute period each week be devoted to religious education, shared between the resident pastors,                                                 84 A. A. Baker to F. H. Collins, December 8, 1961, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2397, file 1. 85 F. H. Collins to A. A. Baker, January 4, 1961, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2397, file 1. 86 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report, 89.   93 because the committee unanimously agreed that “the upbringing of children, including their education, is the responsibility and right of parents, and believing that religious knowledge is an integral part of the essential body of knowledge.”87  However, by 1968, this desire had changed to the point where the Haines Junction school advisory committee recommended that the classes be cancelled, preferring that the children spend the time on school work instead.  It seemed, however, that this change in preference was less related to the content of the instruction than to the disruption that the classes caused, especially if one or more of the clergy were suddenly unable to attend, which community demands on their time often resulted in.  The superintendent also proposed new guidelines for the implementation of religious education classes in schools that included the requirement that “all religious groups in the community come into the school at the same time for religious instruction thus co-ordinating the program so that released time is available to all at the same period of time on the same day.”88  This proved to be nearly impossible in many the communities, and the presence of religious instruction began to progressively dwindle as the decade concluded.  Beginnings of French/Francophone Education  Another minority rights issue, actively supported by federal government mandate during the latter half of the 1960s, was the emergence of French language education and francophones’ demands for rights.  While there had been a large francophone presence at the                                                 87 J. Kennedy to G. Cameron, August 30, 1963, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2401, file 5. 88 R. L. Shields to J. Smith, January 4, 1968, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2402, file 4.   94 turn of the century following the gold rush and several francophone families had endured, the provision of French language education was not widely demanded in the 1960s.89  The RCEYT60 contained few references to instruction in languages other than English save for those related to the “foreign language” requirements for university entrance.  The report did nothing to contradict the notion that instruction in languages other than English be included in the program of studies followed in Yukon, except so-called foreign language classes in high school for those bound for university.90  The revised ordinance of 1962, however, retained language that had been included in the previous ordinance, which was also the basis of the school legislation in NWT (where language issues were more prevalent due to settlements of predominantly French-speaking families) and included the ability for the commissioner to offer any primary course in either English or French.91  As late as the 1967–1968 school year, there is no record of French being taught any earlier than in the high school grades to university-bound students.  Pierre Trudeau was elected as prime minister in 1968 on a campaign that included an increase in the prominence of French in Canada. He made good on that campaign through the Official Languages Act, passed in 1969, as an attempt to demonstrate the equality of those who spoke either or both of Canada’s two founding languages.92  Prior to the act passing, the commissioner received a letter from the federal minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, Jean                                                 89 Yann Herry, La Francophonie: Une Richesse Nordique (Whitehorse, YT: Association frano-yukonnaise, 2004). 90 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1960, Report. 91  Yukon. An Ordinance Respecting Schools, 1st Session, 19th Yukon Council, 1962, Assented to 11 May 1962; Yukon. An Ordinance Respecting Schools, 2nd Session, 15th Yukon Council, 1950, Assented to 3 November 1950; Manzer, Public Schools & Political Ideas, 61–7. 92 Craig Brown, ed., The Illustrated History of Canada (Key Porter Books, 2000), 516.   95 Chrétien, inquiring as to the ability to offer more instruction in French as “[i]t seems to me that across the nation we are going to require more bilingual citizens in the future than we have needed in the past, and the minimum objective proposed by the [Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism] is for all students to receive a basic introduction to both English and French so that they may become bilingual if the opportunity should arise.”93  Based on this federal “advice”, Commissioner Smith immediately directed the superintendent of schools to begin gathering data through parental surveys on the desire for French language instruction and found that while only 65 families spoke French at home, significant numbers were electing to take French starting in Grade 8 (Grade 7 at Christ the King) and suggesting the program be expanded to start at Grade 5.94  In addition, conversations with French-speaking families would commence in determining their needs for French language instruction.95  A report to the Yukon Council in 1969 outlining the pilot programs that were delivered in the 1968–1969 years concluded that a more successful approach was to introduce French in the earlier grades because students were more receptive to learning it then.  One exception, however, was for Indigenous students in that the report used language quite ahead of its time and, again, showed the territorial government’s willingness to more carefully consider the needs of its Indigenous student population: However, we must consider diverse languages, particularly when dealing with Canada’s first citizens, our Indians.  To assume that for these people bilingualism                                                 93 J. Chrétien to J. Smith, September 12, 1968, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2405, file 2. 94 R. L. Shields to F. B. Fingland, December 5, 1968, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2405, file 2. 95 Minutes of December 2, 1968 Meeting on French Programs, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2405, file 2.  96 involves only the two official languages is out of context, both historic and current.  What is probably closer to a true picture in this instance is what can be defined as a trilingual situation.  A pupil of Indian ancestry would be exposed to his mother tongue, as well as English and French.  The situation is not desirable for a number of reasons, viz. i) the quality of performance in English may not be satisfactory; ii) the possibility of interference factors when three, not two, languages are involved; and finally, iii) there is often a need for compensatory educational programs for our Indian students, particularly in some of our semi-isolated communities.  Therefore, it is our intention to initiate a number of pilot projects in some of our schools with a predominantly native student population, whereby instruction in the mother tongue of the pupils will replace the Elementary French Language Program.96  No Indigenous language pilot classes emerged, but once a commitment for federal funding for French language instruction was reached, the French program expanded quickly, with a five-year plan developed to expand the instruction of French starting at Grade 5 in all Whitehorse and Watson Lake schools while acknowledging the political implications of making the program mandatory.  The plan suggested that the Federation of Home and School Associations (which had been in favour of teaching French in the earlier grades) be used to help promote the federally subsidized program as well as seeking a mandate from the Yukon Council.  It also acknowledged that there would need to be both a “Français” program for already bilingual students and a “French” program for those just learning the language, a recognition that francophone families might need to be treated differently.97                                                    96 Address to Yukon Council Re: French Programs, November 29, 1969, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2405, file 2. 97 A Brief Concerning French Language Programs, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2405, file 2.  97 Increased Local Control over Programs and Services In Ottawa in the late 1950s, MP Erik Nielsen had been lobbying heavily for Yukon to move to responsible government, efforts that were concurrent with the agitations of the YC for provincehood.  Nielsen was primarily responsible for the breakthrough in 1960 when the Yukon Act was amended to allow for the Yukon Council to form the Advisory Committee on Finance.  However, the intent of creating an advisory committee was thwarted by Commissioner Collins, who was not a supporter of the development of responsible government in Yukon.98   He minimized the influence of the advisory committee by only presenting them with fully developed budgets, further demonstrating Ottawa’s control over Yukon’s affairs through the actions of its selection of commissioner. The commissioner was the most powerful person within the territorial government and acted as the primary interface between the federal government and the Yukon Council.  Ottawa had, with only a few exceptions before WW II, preferred to appoint loyal bureaucrats steeped in the paternalistic attitudes of Northern Affairs Bureau and its bureaucratic machinations to ensure consistent decision-making that best represented Ottawa’s interests.99   However, in 1962, assisted again by the efforts of MP Nielsen in Ottawa, long-time Yukon businessman Gordon Cameron was appointed as commissioner as an attempt to quell the growing demand for more autonomy.  While not the first Yukoner appointed to the top bureaucrat’s position, he was the first to be appointed following the dramatic expansion of the commissioner’s authorities following WW II.  Cameron, while having served as mayor of                                                 98 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 245. 99 Ibid., 1–5.   98 Whitehorse, had little territorial political experience but was immensely well known and popular for his community involvement.100  Cameron grew frustrated with the literal and metaphorical distance from Ottawa impeding the continued growth and development of Yukon’s independence.101  He eventually resigned from the post in 1966, frustrated with the continued federal bureaucratic hurdles that impeded even the most routine of matters – as a businessman, he was not used to having to ask for, and wait for, permission to make even innocuous decisions.102 Cameron was followed by another Yukon businessman and former YC member who had brokered the separate schools MOU, James Smith, who would go on to serve in the role for nearly a decade starting in 1966.  Smith was a member of the “reforming” YC of 1958 that had worked with MP Nielsen in Ottawa to develop legislative changes required to implement the Advisory Committee on Finance.  As a full supporter of responsible government and wanting to reduce his own authority as commissioner, he resurrected the committee and retitled it the Budget Programming Committee, giving it the responsibility of actually developing the territorial budget.  This move significantly increased Ottawa’s confidence in local Yukon politicians’ abilities to make rational and responsible governance decisions.103  There were setbacks as the federal government continued to make unilateral decisions on programs and services.  Dictates and pronouncements from the federal government were constantly met with derision and disbelief in Whitehorse, increasing the demands for                                                 100 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 77-8.  101 Coates and Morrison, Land of the Midnight Sun, 295. 102 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 91. 103 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 121, 248.  This is the move that is seen by Michael as the true start of responsible government in Yukon.  99 provincehood and the passing of various autonomy motions in the Yukon Council.  In 1967, the Yukon Council refused the federal government’s demands to raise territorial revenues, in response to which the federal government used their most blunt tool to remind the YC who held the ultimate authority: They simply threatened to completely cut off federal grants until the territorial councillors complied.104  Despite an active and engaged territorial council and two locally appointed commissioners, Ottawa still had the means to have things always seen their way simply through control of the purse.  Neither Commissioner Cameron nor Commissioner Smith could, despite being local and well respected, always bridge the divide between the desires of local Yukoners and the dictates of Ottawa. Therefore, Yukon’s legislature continued making demands for independence by way of provincehood throughout the 1960s, and, supported by the efforts of the MP Erik Nielsen, the federal government began to more seriously consider devolution of control over selected programs and services to elected Yukon politicians to quell these demands.105  Education was perceived as a bellwether of the capacity to govern locally because Ottawa, dealing with similar demands for devolution in the NWT, looked to Yukon for advice on how to structure a territorial public school system, since Yukon had decades more local experience than the NWT in the administration of schools.106  Yukon’s school advisory councils were an important catalyst in the devolution of authority over education to an elected Yukoner in that the school advisory committees helped Commissioner Smith to convince the federal                                                 104 Coates and Powell, The Modern North, 63. 105 Coates and Morrison, Land of the Midnight Sun, 295; Smyth, The Yukon Chronology, 22. 106 R. L. Shields to C. W. Gilchrist, October 14, 1968, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2399, file 1.   100 government that Yukon had capacity for local control of services such as education.  Additionally, he saw school advisory committees as an opportunity to develop future politicians who would work to increase local autonomy.107   The School Ordinance revisions of 1962 created the ability to elect local school committees, and many schools did form them, most often by converting the local parent-teacher association into a committee.  Committees were initially quite active and often had their meetings’ business covered in the local newspapers.   The Federation of Home and School Associations played a major role in uniting the various committees and coordinating the communication of their various concerns to the superintendent and territorial government.  The association saw its role as helping “to form a responsible public opinion about education, and to give it expression.  In this way, we are both representing and helping to inform the ‘lay’ element in education, the people for whom the Education system is set up and who have the duty to understand its details and the democratic right to expect it will function according to their legitimate wishes.”  In the 1964–1965 school year alone, the association ambitiously sponsored a public meeting to discuss “The Indian youngster in the Territorial schools,” developed a brief on French language for the federal Bilingualism and Biculturalism Commission, disseminated information on and promoted various issues such as tuberculosis prevention, adoption, and special needs education and were in the beginning stages of planning a workshop concerning teacher turnover in the Yukon,                                                 107 J. Smith to F. B. Fingland and G. K. Fleming, May 29, 1967, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2402, file 4.   101 thereby proving the continued willingness and capacity for local Yukoners to give careful consideration to issues and develop policy solutions.108 In 1966, the association took the lead in planning a conference to help Yukoners better understand their options with regard to establishing school boards, inviting members of the territorial government to present and all the members of the Yukon Council to attend.  Assistant Commissioner G. K. Fleming agreed to deliver a presentation on the financial implications of forming school boards.   Fleming was another Ottawa bureaucrat whose position as assistant commissioner meant he was often the person who communicated daily with Ottawa and was more skeptical of Yukon’s readiness for more autonomy.  He claimed that Yukon simply wasn’t ready for school board–type governance of schools.  Despite his assertions that he was personally in support of developing boards as “training grounds for persons aspiring to unselfish public service,” he presented a dire set of problems that schools boards would have to face and overcome.  The first, and most apparent, was the actual cost of running the system, which was made up each year through territorial and federal grants supplemented by minimal property taxes collected for the purposes of schools – costs that would need to instead be collected through much higher property taxes if boards were to exist.  Next, there was the process of developing, approving, and implementing the annual budget request for the schools, which would have to travel up and down the chain from the school authorities and through the territorial and federal budget officers: “The poor beaten and bedraggled document would then                                                 108 Report of Yukon Federation of Home & School Associations, 1964–1965, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2410, file 6.  102 totter weakly before the Senior Legislative Body, the Territorial Council, and there either receive a blessing or have its head chopped off.”  This caution was followed by the reminder that politics was an essential part of public control over services and that school boards would certainly have to be prepared for political debate and maneuvering, something that the advisory committees seemed to avoid whenever possible.  Finally, he recognized the potential limitation of engaged and well-informed citizens who might, because of their narrowed focus on one aspect of government, cause a “weakening of the prestige and significance of the Council, whether it be Territorial or Municipal, as the central governing body, and an inevitable decline in public interest in the problems of general government.”109   In a very public “shot across the bow” of the YC, of which several members were in attendance, was a clear warning that it ought to hold on to the operation of the territory’s schools if it wanted to prove itself  a responsible and respected government. Public interest in forming school boards did wane following the presentation and so did the activities of the local advisory committees.  In 1967, with the intent to restart the negotiations with Ottawa on expanding the role of the Executive Committee to include elected members, Smith was concerned about a lack of activity in the advisory committees and the fact that some schools simply did not have them.  He directed his assistants to determine which schools did not have active committees and to circulate a form letter to inform them of their rights as parents to have one.110  In his report, Superintendent Thompson noted that “if                                                 109 Financial Responsibilities and Resources of a School Board, May 24, 1966, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2410, file 6. 110 J. Smith to F. B. Fingland and G. K. Fleming, May 29, 1967, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2402, file 4.   103 School Advisory Committees are to be successful, they must be nurtured” and suggested an annual conference eventually to be run by representatives of the various committees as well as ongoing training.111   In addition to school advisory committees, many schools and communities had separate kindergarten societies that demonstrated local political leadership in their efforts to use school facilities to offer kindergarten, paid for by parents and staffed by the societies.  The disparities in the availability of kindergartens was becoming noticeable, and the commissioner was planning to develop a plan to begin bringing kindergartens into the territorial systems.112  While school advisory committees were encouraged, when they began banding together and questioning the operations of the schools, the territorial administration found them quite irritating.  Committees began corresponding regularly with the department on matters within their purview, such as complaints about the number of portable classrooms and busing issues, as well as ones that were outside their scope (according to the School Ordinance), such as demands for French and music programs in the schools.113  When the superintendent did not respond to their concerns, they took them to the newspapers, aided by the Federation of Home and School Associations, much to the commissioner’s dismay.  In a note to his assistant, Commissioner Smith remarked that “I am pleased that [Superintendent] Shields did not answer the newspaper letters.  He is responsible to me, not the Home & School                                                 111 H. Thompson to F. B. Fingland, June 1, 1967, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2402, file 4. 112  Government of Yukon. Annual Report of the Commissioner of the Yukon Territory 1967–1968 (Whitehorse: Queen’s Printer, 1968); J. Smith to F. B. Fingland and G. K. Fleming, June 12, 1968, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2399, file 1. 113 R. L. Shields to H. Couch, October 30, 1969, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2410, file 7.   104 Association who are bent on crusades of their own.”  He was also concerned about the political calculus of whether to engage: “If their total membership is only those listed, they are not a very large group,” suggesting that their concerns could easily be dismissed and predicting that their demands would eventually blow over.114    “Independence of Action”: The Devolution of Authority over Selected Programs In addition to education, Ottawa’s increasing confidence in Yukon’s ability to make sound budgetary and operational decisions resulted in the federal government continuing to experiment with devolving more decision-making authority to the territorial level in other significant areas.  Most notably in the 1960s, the administration of justice and the development of a correctional centre were put into the hands of the territorial government and administration.  This contrasted with the federal government’s previous hands-on approach to building schools, for example, where they would determine needs, create plans, and even specify how the materials would be shipped to the building site.  This resulted in instances such as the building of the Old Crow school wherein all building materials were expensively flown in because the information regarding the river’s ice-free period was incorrect, despite the repeated assurances from territorial officials and Yukon’s MP that the supplies could have easily and cheaply been sent by boat.115  Instead, the correctional centre was successfully constructed using what would become the pattern of a federal initiative executed with local support and “independence of action by the territorial administration.”116                                                 114 J. Smith to A-2, May 11, 1970, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2410, file 7. 115 Nielsen, The House Is Not a Home, 90-92. 116 Michael, From Sissons to Meyer, 65.  105 Over the course of the 1960s, the federal government began shifting some of its authority to the Yukon government, increasing territorial autonomy to augment “independence of action” in the provision of certain programs and services.  This shift started with increased consultation of Yukoners through the 1960 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory, which sought out views and opinions on education from parents and interest groups throughout the territory.  These consultations resulted in meaningful changes to the School Ordinance that increased public participation in school operations through the creation of school committees.  The demands of integrating Indigenous students into territorial public schools and shifting the responsibility from the federal government were left primarily in the hands of the Yukon Department of Education, which did not see it necessary, initially, to make significant changes to the system to accommodate these students.  This lack of change (or at least the slow pace of change) was not due to an inability of the territorial government to make such changes but rather their choice not to, since more rapid and dramatic changes were made to accommodate the demands of other minority groups – namely, the Roman Catholic and French communities.  The federal government, crucially, however, continued to hold all the financial and legislative power throughout the decade until the combination of an effective member of Parliament in Ottawa and a sympathetic commissioner (and encouraged by the development of capacities as demonstrated by local school committees) began to push harder for local decision-making, especially regarding the territorial budget.   All of these developments would lead to the next step in the devolution of power, which was the federal government’s agreement in 1970 to allow for one elected YC member to sit on an Executive Committee (ExCom) made up of the two assistant commissioners (as federal appointees) with the commissioner as chair.  However, the Yukon Council argued that  106 a single elected member would be “smothered” by the rest of the committee and argued for three elected members.  A compromise on two elected members was reached, each to be responsible for a particular portfolio of government business while becoming full-time politicians working alongside the commissioner in the day-to-day administration of the territory, much like a minister in a provincial government.117  The Yukon Act was subsequently amended to enshrine these changes into the legislation, and the following Yukon Council elections were contested with candidates prepared to potentially take on these additional responsibilities.118   In September 1970, seven members were elected to the Yukon Council for a four-year term and, after some internal debate, two were selected and sworn in as Executive Committee members on November 27, 1970 with responsibilities for the portfolios of health and welfare and education.119  The era of an elected Yukoner being in charge of the territory’s educational system had finally arrived.                                                  117 Smyth, The Yukon Chronology, 26. 118 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 123. 119 Smyth, The Yukon Chronology, 27.  107 Chapter 3 – 1970–1979 Elected Executive Control through to the Loss of the Commissioner’s Executive Authority   The 1970s would see increased federal government confidence in the abilities of Yukoners to manage more of their affairs, starting with two non-partisan, elected YC members appointed to the Executive Committee overseeing two program areas.  Within the decade, this confidence would lead to rapid constitutional development, culminating in representative and responsible government in a partisan legislature.  The operation of the Department of Education served as one of the first areas of responsibility to be devolved to local politicians who would demonstrate to the federal government, through their leadership, that Yukoners were prepared to take on increasing amounts of responsibility.   At the same time, Yukon’s Indigenous peoples, prompted by policy development in Ottawa that sought to extinguish their Aboriginal rights and intensified by inequities experienced in the educational system, developed grievance documents that would result in the commencement of formal land claim negotiations with the federal government and in further uncertainty about the territory’s political future. It was in this atmosphere that efforts began to consult about and amend the School Ordinance to reflect the changes brought about by the shift in governance and by the need to better integrate Yukon’s Indigenous students into the public schools. Nevertheless, the amendments largely ignored the demands of Indigenous Yukoners, and no amendments to the ordinance were made to expand the advisory mechanisms for parental and local input at the school level or to include guaranteed representation of Indigenous parents.   108 In fact, Ottawa continued to hold fast to key powers.  Dissatisfaction among the school committees about their inability to effect change resulted in the creation of an Education Council as a territorial-level advisory body to communicate parent concerns directly to the minister of education.    Near the end of the decade, the competing interests of the federal government, territorial governments, Indigenous peoples, and school committees were revealed in a dispute that erupted in a rural Yukon community over the teaching of an Indigenous language.  Finally, in 1979, further political developments in Ottawa affirmed and enshrined a diminished role of the commissioner in the governance of the Yukon’s affairs and resulted in one of the most significant developments in Yukon’s constitutional history – the Epp Letter – which finally brought responsible government to Yukon’s legislature.  Executive Authority for Education Is Delegated to a Locally Elected Politician The appointments of Norman Chamberlist and Hilda Watson as the first two YC members to the territorial government’s Executive Committee (ExCom), responsible for the portfolios of health and welfare and education, respectively, was a sign of confidence on the part of the federal government in the abilities of elected Yukoners to make responsible governance decisions for themselves.1  For almost two decades, the YC had been making representations to the federal government for more responsibilities and authority, efforts that were consistently thwarted until Ottawa was satisfied that that Yukoners were capable of managing their affairs responsibly and rationally – or at least as proficiently as the staff at the                                                 1 Smyth, The Yukon Chronology, 27.  109 Northern Affairs Branch.  Political groundwork laid by MP Erik Nielsen in Ottawa and Commissioner James Smith in Yukon combined with sustained pressure over the course of more than a decade finally resulted in more involvement of elected Yukoners in the territory’s affairs.  November 27, 1970, was an auspicious day for Yukoners as locally elected members of the Yukon Council were to get their first taste of executive authority over two important government departments.2  The ExCom was the territory’s closest equivalent to a provincial government’s “cabinet” but with overlapping legislative, executive, and administrative responsibilities (as opposed to a provincial cabinet’s legislative and executive responsibilities) and was made up of three members appointed by the federal government along with the two elected.  As such, in provincial terms, these appointments to oversee a government department were not unlike being appointed the “minister” responsible for a particular portfolio.  However, the naming convention was to use the term “Executive Committee Member Responsible for” each particular portfolio.  The selection of health and welfare and education showed that the confidence in the elected YC members was still quite limited.  Unlike portfolios of natural resources and the administration of territorial lands that required broad and long-term strategy, these two departments had more limited scopes and functions that were modelled closely after those of the NWT or provincial jurisdictions and were somewhat transactional in nature.  In terms of day-to-day functioning, schools in Yukon were operated very much like they were in other parts of Canada.  A superintendent – who oversaw other education officials and principals – was responsible for ensuring that the necessary facilities were in place, sufficient personnel                                                 2 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 123-4.  110 were hired (and, if from out of territory, transported to Yukon and housed), the required resources of teaching materials and school supplies were ordered and delivered, and that the prescribed curricula were being rigidly and rigorously adhered to.  When the number of students increased or decreased, the number of schools, staff, and levels of resourcing was adjusted accordingly.  A telling sign of the relative importance of schools in the overall administration of the territorial government is that, throughout the 1970s, both education and health and welfare were located near the end of every annual report submitted by the commissioner to the federal minister responsible for the Yukon.3 The handbook produced for Yukon teachers gives some idea of the authority of the superintendent and of the activities that were taking place in schools.  With regard to curriculum, it was clear that “[a]ny proposed deviation from the prescribed curriculum must be approved in writing by the Superintendent of Education. NO EXCEPTIONS CAN BE ENTERTAINED.”4  The handbook also contained no references to Indigenous languages or curricula.  Teachers in Yukon did recognize that meeting students’ needs required some flexibility, with one such teacher writing the department to complain that the handbook ought to be retitled “Carbon Copy of B.C.”5 While in most jurisdictions the superintendent would carry out these functions under the supervision of either the provincial ministry or (what would become more common later on) a locally elected board of trustees, in Yukon the superintendent reported directly to the                                                 3 See, for example, Government of Yukon. Annual Report of the Commissioner of the Yukon Territory 1971–1972 (Whitehorse: Queen’s Printer, 1972). 4 Yukon Department of Education, Handbook for Teachers, 1971. 5 Sister Pat Langley to Department of Education, December 20, 1972, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2400, file 3.   111 commissioner.  The development of a YC member being responsible for the system changed this system somewhat, since the superintendent was now required to report to the elected member (equivalent to a provincial minister of education).  Hilda Watson was well regarded by the commissioner and by other members of the YC as being organized, very well-prepared, and “tough as nails” – qualities that were required to ensure the newly constituted ExCom had the discipline to work effectively as politics and bureaucracy began to mix more than ever before.6 In order to maintain the federal government’s trust and to increase the likelihood of the experiment in devolution working smoothly and effectively, there was agreement amongst the Yukon Council members that partisan politics would not play a role around the ExCom table.  While politics at other levels of governance (such as municipal and chamber of commerce) were quite partisan, with “conservatives and liberals fighting for control,” these divisions, while present unofficially, were not a visible part of territorial politics.7  Although the political leanings of individual members of the YC were quite clear and usually well-known, the Yukon Council was not officially a partisan political body.  In fact, ExCom members went out of their way to ensure that their actions could meet with consensus approval from the YC as a whole so as to establish the functionality of the ExCom with the remaining elected members.8  ExCom’s comprehensive administrative and executive mandate was reflected by how quickly Watson became involved in the minutiae of running a small system of schools.  In                                                 6 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 123. 7 Penikett, Hunting the Northern Character, 52. 8 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 249–53.  Hilda Watson would go on to be the first female leader of a territorial or provincial political party when she was elected as leader of the Yukon Progressive Conservative Party in 1978.   112 1972, she toured several rural schools and wrote a report to the superintendent about the state of the physical plant, noting that, at Robert Henderson School in Clinton Creek, the front steps were “badly in need of paint.”9  In another instance in the same year, she was perturbed that the school committee chair in Faro had used government stationery to correspond with her and demanded to know “[w]ho gave the Chairman of the Van Gorder School Advisory Committee the authority to use this stationery for a letter to the Executive Committee member responsible for education?” and insisted that the situation be investigated.10 After several years of Watson’s hands-on approach to running the schools as the Executive Committee Member Responsible for Education (ECMRE), she almost lost the confidence of the YC in May 1974 when she was accused of “four strikes” by a fellow YC member. The member specified the department’s handling of the Pelly School strike (where predominantly Indigenous parents refused to send their children to the school because of its poor physical condition, which also led to complaints about other matters concerning the education of their children); the firing of the Native curriculum supervisor; the dismissal and subsequent investigation and reinstatement of a Whitehorse teacher accused of misconduct; and the breakdown of contract negotiations with the Yukon Teachers Association.  In a close vote with the council’s speaker casting the tie-breaking vote, Watson’s membership on ExCom was narrowly saved just as she was in the final stages of ensuring that the revised School Ordinance of 1974 would be passed in June before the legislative session ended.11                                                 9 H. Watson to J-1, June 23, 1972, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2400, file 3. 10 H Watson to J-1, October 31, 1972, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2400, file 3. 11 “Non-Confidence Motion Fails to Oust Watson,” Whitehorse Star, May 1, 1974.  113 The mandate of each YC lasted four years. The initial experiment in local control was revised and expanded in 1974 in an election that saw three elected YC members – Hilda Watson, Gordon McIntyre, and Ken McKinnon – selected by the YC to sit on the ExCom, resulting in an equal number of YC members and federally appointed members.  Gordon McIntyre was assigned the portfolio for education, although his tenure on ExCom was short-lived when he resigned his seat in May 1975 for personal reasons.12  Following McIntyre’s resignation, Dan Lang was appointed as the ECMRE and would hold the position until he resigned shortly before the November 1978 election after sponsoring a motion of non-confidence in the commissioner that was defeated.  He was replaced by Eleanor Millard, who held the post until the fall election.13  Following the 1978 election, Howard Tracey was appointed to the position, but he also resigned the following summer and was replaced by Doug Graham, who would hold the position into the 1980s.14  There was certainly some concern about the ability to provide sustained leadership over the education portfolio considering the frequent turnovers, with three ECMREs in the space of one school year in 1978–1979.15  However, the federal government showed their increased confidence in the work of the elected YC members by increasing the number on ExCom to four in 1977 (giving the elected members the majority of seats) and allowing the 1978 election to be contested by political parties, with the winning party selecting its members to hold the ExCom seats.                                                 12 Michael, From Sissons to Meyer, 146. 13 Ibid., 150. 14  Government of Yukon. Annual Report of the Commissioner of the Yukon Territory 1979–1980 (Whitehorse: Queen’s Printer, 1980), 5. 15 Yukon Teachers Association, 50 Years of the YTA, ed. Dennis Rankin (Yukon Teachers Association, 2005), n.p.   114 Commencement of Indigenous Land Claims Yukon’s Indigenous population had become more politically active following their enfranchisement to vote in federal elections in 1960 and territorial elections starting in the 1961.16  Factors that fueled the political activism that would result in the creation of Indigenous advocacy organizations included negative experiences in either Indian residential schools or Yukon’s territorial public schools, along with the other bureaucratic mechanisms such as the Indian Act and federal and territorial welfare payments.  These mechanisms contributed to the marginalization of Yukon’s Indigenous peoples in both their traditional communities and in urbanized settings, which resulted in a sense of despair and despondency among many.  Despite residential schools generally leaving most students ill-prepared academically, some students ended up possessing sufficient language and academic skills that increased their ability to engage in more advocacy for Indigenous peoples.  While there were sporadic instances of Indigenous students attending territorial schools in the 1950s, several generations of Yukon’s Indigenous children were sent to the two large residential schools in the area.17   The residential school experience also helped to motivate Indigenous peoples to become more assertive in claiming their Aboriginal rights and title to their ancestral lands.  Indeed, one of the by-products of the residential school system that was unintended and unanticipated was its effect in creating environments where small acts of resistance and rebellion “served as a training ground for organized political resistance to Euro-[Canadian]                                                 16 Johnson, With the People Who Live Here, 331; Coates, Best Left as Indians, 225–6. 17 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, The Inuit and Northern Experience, 85.   115 domination.”18  Another breeding ground for creating political resisters was the armed forces. Being sent overseas to fight for democratic ideals, only to come home and resume being subjected to the Indian Act, was a motivator for organization and advocacy.  Indeed, Elijah Smith, a residential school student who was one of the few who was successful in obtaining academic skills equivalent to non-Indigenous students and who served in the Canadian Army during WW II, went on to found the YNB as an advocacy organization in 1968.  The Yukon Association of Non Status Indians (YANSI) was formed in October 1971 to represent those of Indigenous ancestry that the Indian Act excluded.19 After the tabling of the White Paper in 1969 by Jean Chrétien, minister of DIAND, there was considerable resistance from Indigenous peoples from across Canada who were angry with the vision of becoming full Canadian citizens at the expense of their Aboriginal rights and title along with previously negotiated treaty rights.  The White Paper is often credited as being a lightning rod for Indigenous communities to spring into action and formulate their own demands for resolving land claims and title issues.20  A coordinated response to the White Paper was the document Indian Control of Indian Education that was prepared with input from regional Indigenous advocacy organizations across Canada.21  The                                                 18 Nadasdy, Hunters and Bureaucrats, 46. 19 Coates and Powell, The Modern North, 103; Nadasdy, Hunters and Bureaucrats, 55.  The Yukon Native Brotherhood and its successor organizations were affiliated with the National Indian Brotherhood but did object at the NIB’s need to look at issues through a status/non-status lens. 20 Raptis, “Implementing Integrated Education Policy", 132–3. 21 Morgan, ‘If Not Now, Then When?’ First Nations Jurisdiction over Education: A Literature Review (2002), 6, https://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/education/4._2002_nov_nancy_morgan_fn_jurisdiction_of_fn_education_report_to_min_working_group_-_if_not_now_then_when.pdf; National Indian Brotherhood, Indian Control of Indian Education.   116 Yukon’s contribution to this seminal document was formulated at a conference entitled the “First Yukon Native Education Conference” in January 1972 in Whitehorse.22 Hilda Watson attended this conference in her capacity as the ECMRE.  She made clear her positions on Indigenous education in Yukon through a speech entitled “The Future of Indian Education in the Yukon” in which she is clear that she favoured a universal system that would serve the needs of all without discrimination of “Indian or non-Indian” status as long as it could do so “within the practical limits of its resources.”  This speech highlighted the individual choice that each Indigenous person needed to make whether to identify more closely with the “nomadic life of his forefathers” or “integrate himself fully” and the “limitless possibilities” available in a blend of these two positions.  However, while she conceded that more materials that reflect Indigenous culture should be made available at the younger years, there were “no short-cuts and can be no compromise” for one who aspires to a career in a “non-Indian society” as opposed to the traditional lifestyle.23 Her summary of the meeting to the superintendent indicated her satisfaction that “[f]ortunately there was no one there who expounded at length on unrealistic goals that the Indian people wish to attain, and automatically look to education to wave the magic wand.”  She indicated that their demands were mostly administrative in nature but did indicate several policy positions that might be dealt with, including the inclusion of Indigenous people on school advisory committees, which she indicated was possible through legislation, and the introduction of Indigenous language classes in elementary schools rather than French.24                                                 22 Yukon Native Brotherhood, Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow, 61. 23 The Future of Indian Education in the Yukon, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2404, file 6. 24 H. Watson to J-1, January 14, 1972, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2404, file 6.  117 The demands of Yukon’s Indigenous peoples would quickly expand beyond educational issues, however.  Because no treaties had ever been signed between the federal government and Yukon’s Indigenous peoples, the decision was made to develop and present a land claim to the federal government.  In Yukon in 1973, a comprehensive land claim document, Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow (TTFOCT), was formulated by the YNB.  It articulated the past way of life of Yukon’s Indigenous peoples before contact and the impact that the various waves of fur traders, gold seekers, and American soldiers had on their ways of life, along with the impacts of river steamers and oil and gas explorers.  Next, the perceptions of Indigenous peoples by “Whitemen” and vice versa was described, along with the injustice of the “non-status Indian” for whom enfranchisement was seen as a way to eliminate a race of people and the problem of overall economic inequalities between Indigenous peoples and the “Whitemen.”  It concluded with a vision for the future in terms of programs, treatment of elders, cultural identity, community development, education, economic development, communications, and research.  To reach this vision, it proposed an approach to settlement that suggested creating centrally controlled (governed by an “Indian Council”) and locally controlled systems and agencies that could best meet the needs of Indigenous peoples on their terms.  It also proposed a framework for overall negotiations, including the selection of land, land-use guidelines, and cash settlements, along with the desire to commence negotiations quickly and in good faith in order to prevent long and costly court battles.25 Included as an appendix to TTFOCT are the policy statements concerning the education of Yukon’s Indigenous peoples that were formulated during the January 1972                                                 25 Yukon Native Brotherhood, Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow.  118 conference.  The YNB’s demands concerning education included having the resources to fund an education consultant; improving communications between all parties involved in education (including the YNB); establishment of kindergartens for Indigenous students, establishment of Indigenous language programs, employment of Indigenous people as teachers, counsellors, aides, or as kindergarten teachers; incentives for students to remain in school; creation of group homes for Indigenous children within Indigenous communities; that education be “made more meaningful and relevant to our needs”; educational resources that depict Indigenous peoples in inaccurate or pejorative lights to be eliminated; and that adult education programs be better developed.26 On February 14, 1973, a delegation of Yukon’s Indigenous leaders presented TTFOCT as their land claim to Prime Minister Trudeau in Ottawa.27  Trudeau, who had been quite cool to the idea of land claim negations but who had recently been chastened by the Calder Supreme Court of Canada decision that established that Aboriginal title still existed for the treaty-less Nisga’a in BC, was therefore agreeable to commencing negotiations for Yukon land claims.28  On April 6, 1973, Chrétien announced that a federal land claim negotiating team would be created, and the Yukon territorial government created a Land Claims Secretariat shortly thereafter to ensure that their interests were represented.29 The following month, Chrétien released a joint statement with the National Indian Brotherhood indicating that he would accept the document Indian Control of Indian                                                 26 Yukon Native Brotherhood, Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow, 50–9  27 Smyth, The Yukon Chronology, 29. 28 Penikett, Hunting the Northern Character, 50. 29 Smyth, The Yukon Chronology, 29.   119 Education as the policy for his department with regard to providing education to Indigenous peoples.30  In a letter to Commissioner Smith in 1969, DIAND had expressed its desire to remove itself from the business of actively operating any educational services in Yukon, and the official change in policy to devolve the provision of education services to Indian bands themselves was a natural extension of this desire.31  The 1973 announcement caused some confusion and concern in the territorial government because the territory had been responsible, through transfer payments, for educating Indigenous students since 1963 and this new federal policy would have significant impacts on the development of a proposed new School Ordinance.32  Chrétien replied that he did not “anticipate any conflict between the new Indian education policy and the Yukon claim [TTFOCT],” since the same recommendations from TTFOCT were included in the overall recommendations contained within Indian Control of Indian Education.33  The federal government, at the time, was newly but firmly committed to the process of education devolution to localized groups in communities or districts.   Although there was initially a great deal of optimism that the land claim would be negotiated and resolved quickly, the process plunged the territory into political uncertainty because of questions of possible land and resource appropriation and fears that the federal government would not negotiate with the best interests of non-Indigenous Yukoners at heart.  Following the federal government’s initial willingness to engage in land claim negotiations, a                                                 30 Statements on Education from J Chrétien and National Indian Brotherhood, May 24, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2404, file 6. 31 J. H. Gordon to Commissioner James Smith, August 15, 1969, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2404, file 6. 32 J. Smith to J. Chrétien, May 29, 1973, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2404, file 6. 33 J. Chrétien to J. Smith, June 5, 1973, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2404, file 6.   120 process that the YNB negotiator rather optimistically hoped would take six months, several conditions presented themselves that would slow the process considerably.34  The first was the role of the territorial government, since the YNB was planning on negotiating directly with the federal government only.  The territorial government was not satisfied to be left out of these talks and insisted on being an equal party.  They reinforced their position by releasing a position paper entitled Meaningful Government for All Yukoners in December 1975, which suggested guaranteed representation for Indigenous peoples on various federal, territorial, and local boards to which Prime Minister Trudeau responded that “[h]aving a race-based process it’s no longer a democratic process.”35  The territorial government’s position was a marked departure from its earlier position when the suggestion of separate structures or services for Indigenous peoples, such as representation on school committees, was decried by the territorial government as leading to “apartheid.”36   The YNB and YANSI decided to amalgamate as the Council of Yukon Indians (CYI) in December 1973 to be able to negotiate as a united front on behalf of all Indigenous peoples in Yukon.37  Significant progress was made in the negotiations, buoyed by the positive public sentiment that was increasing because of coverage of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry headed by Thomas Berger.  This inquiry was a response to outcry from Indigenous organizations over the federal government’s unchecked assumption there was consensus                                                 34 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 268. 35  Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 129. 36 Federal Government Education Policy Will Create Apartheid in Yukon Territory Says Councillor, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2404, file 6.  37 Coates and Powell, The Modern North, 103; Smyth, The Yukon Chronology, 30.   121 support for the development of northern natural resource extraction projects. It exposed significant national support for Indigenous rights in the north and called for settlement of northern land claims.38  An agreement in principle for the Yukon claim was nearing completion in 1976 but was rejected in a vote by many of the rural bands.  This was seen as a rebuke to the leadership of the Whitehorse-based CYI and the negotiation process that took place mostly in hotel conference rooms in Vancouver or Edmonton.39  This led to on-again, off-again negotiations throughout the remainder of the decade.  In 1977, the CYI agreed to resume negotiations with an updated set of demands that better represented the desires of all the Indigenous communities, including a separate Indigenous government, authority over resource management, and control over social and education programs.  It was a significant increase in demands that, along with the changing positions of both the federal and territorial governments, would result in years of political uncertainty throughout the nearly 20 more years of negotiations required to develop the Umbrella Final Agreement signed in 1993.40  Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972 Because the structures for governing and operating the schools changed when the ECMRE replaced the commissioner for the day-to-day supervision of the system, the School Ordinance needed to be amended to reflect these changes.  At the time the elected members of the YC were added to the ExCom, the schools were being operated under the School                                                 38 Coates and Powell, The Modern North, xii. 39 Ibid., 103. 40 Council of Yukon Indians, Umbrella Final Agreement, 1993; Coates and Powell, The Modern North, 120.  The Umbrella Final Agreement will be described in more detail in chapters 4 and 5.   122 Ordinance of 1962, which had undergone only a few minor revisions, mostly related to working conditions for teachers and the development of a salary negotiation committee.41   Concurrently, there were increasing calls to make the school system more responsive to the needs of parents and communities.  The federal government (after its withdrawal of the White Paper in 1971) and Indigenous advocacy organizations (which were in the process of articulating their concerns and demands that would result in the development of Indian Control of Indian Education) were also seeking improvements.42  Chrétien delivered a speech in the fall of 1971 in which he recognized the last decade’s efforts to integrate Indigenous children into schools was not particularly successful, that any school authority providing educational services must “recognize the special needs and aspirations” of Indigenous children, and that “[t]he success of a shared educational system for Indian students depends on its sensitivity to these differences.”43 ExCom’s approach to the development of options for a revised ordinance was to commission another school survey headed up by educational experts from outside the territory.  It, again, represented a sincere desire to hear thoughts and desires regarding education from the citizenry in every community throughout the Yukon with a view to effect changes. The three-member panel, appointed on July 4, 1972, and headed up by Franklin Levirs (the same school superintendent from BC who participated in the 1960 school survey)                                                 41 Yukon. An Ordinance Respecting Schools, 1st Session, 19th Yukon Council, 1962, Assented to 11 May 1962; Yukon. An Ordinance to Amend the School Ordinance 1st Session, 19th Yukon Council, 1964, Assented to 30 April 1964; An Ordinance to Amend the School Ordinance 2nd Session, 21st Yukon Council, 1967, Assented to 19 December 1967. 42 National Indian Brotherhood, Indian Control of Indian Education; Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Part 2. 43 A Progress Report on Indian Education, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2404, file 6, 8.  123 received briefs from numerous individuals and organizations and travelled throughout the territory during the summer of 1972 to hold hearings. The commissioner’s order that provided the terms of reference specified that the committee was to provide specific recommendations on the ordinance itself, on increasing public participation in education at the local level, on the financing and administration of the system, and on curriculum.  In addition, two groups of students were singled out for the committee’s attention: Indigenous children and the “handicapped.”  Sixty days after they had begun, Levirs and the other commissioners submitted their final report on September 22, 1972.44   The Report of the Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972 (RCEYT72) was comprehensive in its assessments of the shortcomings of the current legislation and in articulating the desires of those who had made representations to the committee.  In terms of the overall content of the ordinance itself, aside from recommendations about its organizational structure and the placement of items either in the ordinance or the regulations, it specifically suggested that the ordinance provide for instruction of Indigenous languages in addition to French.  Recognizing that the school system of the territory had grown past the ability of one or two officials to administer and supervise, the report contained numerous suggestions that the language used to describe the powers and duties of the ECMRE along with those of the superintendent be clarified to allow for greater delegation and to accommodate a bureaucracy that would increase in size.45                                                 44 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972, Report of the Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972 (1972), 5. 45  Ibid., 12–14.  124 The report’s section on public participation in education included damning quotations from written and oral submissions received by the committee, complaining about the frequency of instances when suggestions or concerns from school advisory committees or other community organizations were dismissed by the Department of Education or its officials.  However, the report acknowledged that communities did not appear to be ready to assume the responsibilities that would come with a school board structure, though it seemed “very clear that, if local responsibility and authority are to be developed, local school advisory committees should be strengthened.”  This strengthening could include, in addition to continuing to exercise an advisory capacity to the principal, superintendent, and ExCom member, “prior consultation on the appointment of non-instructional staff; general supervision of the administration of the school with power to recommend to the principal and the Department of Education; consultation wherever possible on the appointment of a school principal; the management and accounting for any monies specifically allotted to the school by the Department.”46   The report specifically acknowledged that Indigenous parents were not represented adequately (save for one single community) on any of the school advisory committees but did not recommend that Indigenous parents (or any group) have preferential status or guaranteed representation on any of the committees.  Instead, it recommended that each community with a significant Indigenous population form a separate “Indian Education Committee” that could                                                 46 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972, Report, 32–3.   125 advise both the band and the school advisory committee when necessary on matters of educational concern.47   Finally, the formation of community (or metropolitan) boards for larger communities such as Whitehorse or larger regional boards such as those existing in the NWT was mentioned as a possibility to be considered after further maturation of the local school committees in the forms suggested by the report.  In the interim, the development of forums where committees within a single community or from across the territory should be hosted and encouraged by the Department of Education to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas was suggested.  Meetings such as these would also negate the need for a territorial advisory board, which might also lead to competing visions of education in the territory – one from the board and the other from the YC.48 The reality that the Department of Education served a dual role of both governing and operating schools (which, in other provinces are usually separated between the provincial ministries of education and school boards, respectively) was recognized as a factor that complicated the recommendations regarding the financing and administration of the schools.49  Again, because of the recommendation against the creation of school boards, the ability to eventually levy sufficient property taxes to pay for schools was not an option, and the present system of the Department of Education funding and operating all schools would continue.  It was fortunate that, because of the ongoing tuition agreements between the territory and federal government, nothing had to be done to ensure that Indigenous children were receiving the                                                 47  Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972, Report, 33–4. 48 Ibid., 36–7. 49 Ibid., 52.  126 appropriate funding.  However, the first recommendation of the report was that, for any additional programs or services required, the funding source be identified and secured first.  The report also recommended that a per pupil amount be determined for a school-based budget to be spent at the discretion of the principal with the oversight of the school committee.50  In terms of administration of the system, the report suggested a rearrangement of staff to allow the superintendent of schools to act as the interface between the political and the operational (much like a deputy minister), with his or her subordinates being responsible for all the operational matters.  While the point was not explicitly made in the report, there were no instances in which the report recommended the ECMRE be directly responsible for any operational affairs, although it suggested that, since the Yukon Act had all authorities flow upwards to the commissioner, changes be made to solidify the role of the ECMRE as being the head of the department.51 While the report contained a specific section on the “Special Needs of Yukon Indians,” it contained few specific recommendations, stating that “most aspects of this topic have been covered in other portions of this report,” thus suggesting that the “special needs” were not really specific to Indigenous students; recommendations that would be beneficial to Indigenous students would likely be beneficial to all.  The report acknowledged that the connection between home and school for Indigenous parents was particularly poor and suggested that communications be improved to ensure that Indigenous parents were aware of all that was going on in the schools.  The report recommended that “Native Indian                                                 50  Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972, Report, 46. 51 Ibid., 53–4.   127 Counsellors” of Indigenous heritage and, preferably, drawn from within the community be appointed and that they have home-school communication as a primary duty.52   The most progressive recommendations regarding the education of Indigenous children were made in the section concerning curricula in which it was recognized “that there is a place in the curriculum for studies of the culture, values and customs of the Yukon Indians.  It also feels that any teacher with Indian pupils in their class must recognize the differences in the pupil's behavior and performance derived from differences in cultures and values. This calls for a high degree of professional understanding on the part of teachers.”  This duty was clearly left to the teacher, and the report absolved the Department of Education from any responsibility to provide funding to organizations like the YNB to help support Indigenous organizations to prepare curricula or provide resources or training.  The committee firmly held that the Department of Education must be responsible for the development of curriculum and resources on its own terms, although the necessity for cooperation between the department and Indigenous advocacy organizations was mentioned. Further, it underscored the responsibility of Indigenous organizations to take the primary role of supplying resource people, stating that “[t]he use of native Indians as resource people in all matters of Indian education is not only desirable but essential.”  Presumably, however, only resources or resource people that the department’s curriculum mentioned or approved would be permitted in the schools.  That being said, the report was firmly in favour of the development of programs and courses of study that would “serve to extend knowledge in Indian culture, values and customs” and “[t]hat every opportunity be taken from the earliest grade to build the                                                 52 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972, Report, 84.  128 self-confidence and self-pride of the Indian student.”  This also included the specific recommendation that courses of study be developed and instructors trained to offer Indigenous languages in school communities that desired them. However, the report did caution that, because Yukon’s Indigenous languages were primarily spoken and not generally written and therefore did not require the study of any literature in that language, there should be expectation that less time would be spent on Indigenous languages than on other additional language programs such as French.53   The authors were blunt in their assessment of services provided to “handicapped” students – those with “learning disabilities” and the “mentally retarded” – as lacking.  They recommended that the use of travelling clinics using professionals brought in from the south be discontinued in favour of locally provided services and, specifically, that an educational psychologist be added to the Department of Education staff.  In addition, the employment of “remedial teachers” in individual schools to assist in the identification of learning barriers and their subsequent removal be encouraged and assisted wherever possible with the use of volunteer aides in classrooms. An overall theme to all the recommendations in this area was the concept of trying to include students within classrooms, schools, and the community depending on the severity of the learning needs.  It lamented the fact that two “mentally retarded” students were sent “outside” in order to meet their educational needs.54 The recommendations to formalize in legislation the practice of the Yukon Teachers Association acting as the official bargaining unit for teachers, along with changing the                                                 53 Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972, Report, 76. 54 Ibid., 104–7.   129 evaluation, probation, and tenure provisions in the current legislation, were the most significant with regard to teachers and staffing.55  These changes would later lead to the most public debate about the forthcoming ordinance once tabled and would overshadow the other changes that were proposed or were lacking in the bill tabled before council (and will be elaborated on in an upcoming section).  Also notable was the recommendation that the department relax its policy of only employing certificated teachers in order to encourage more Yukoners with Indian ancestry to teach in the elementary schools.56 There were also recommendations about kindergartens (to bring them into the public system from their current status as being managed and funded by community societies), enhancing vocational education programs to help reduce the drop-out rates, and to not change any of the arrangements in place for the Roman Catholic separate schools in the territory.57 The final recommendation in the document may be the most significant.  The committee recommended that work be done on developing a comprehensive philosophical statement on the purpose of the system of schools in Yukon. The committee might have become concerned by the diversity of opinion and desires expressed by all those who made representations to the committee and concluded that the future operation of the system and consensus for change might be less likely without an expressed common purpose for the schools in Yukon.  A statement such as this would not be enshrined in legislation until 1990.                                                    55  Committee on Education for the Yukon Territory 1972, Report, 124. 56 Ibid., 130. 57 Ibid., 159.  130 Revised School Ordinance of 1974 The revised School Ordinance was an opportunity for the YC and the elected ExCom members to develop appropriate legislation that could show their ability to control education in Yukon.  The YC argued that, despite the federal government’s desire to see more curricula, language classes, programs, and services for Indigenous students, there was no need to enshrine these in legislation.  They were reluctant to devolve some of their newfound authority to implement initiatives that were perceived to come from the federal government.58  This reluctance, combined with no legislative mandate, allowed the territorial government to continue ignoring many of the demands coming from Indigenous organizations.  Similarly, there was little desire to devolve more power to school advisory committees.  Interestingly, the bill as drafted by the officials in Ottawa did not enshrine the role of the ECMRE, instead leaving the commissioner as the ultimate authority, potentially signalling an unwillingness, in 1974 at least, to fully commit to the experiment in devolution. The proposed school ordinance began to be developed in earnest following the Report of the Committee on Education in the Yukon 1972, which was released to the public for consideration and comment.  Following the report’s release, the territorial government developed a policy paper in which they outlined the changes that they would propose in new legislation.  The policy paper, notably, did begin with a statement of the philosophy of education in Yukon, which received little attention or debate (as opposed to the teacher bargaining and tenure provisions, which did): Public Education in the Yukon Territory is established in accordance with the philosophy that every child in the Territory will have the opportunity to develop                                                 58 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold,  131, 143–45, 181–82.  131 to his fullest potential not only as an individual but also as a member of society.  As an individual, he will require intellectual self-realization as well as physical, mental and emotional growth and as a member of society he will need some training to make a living and be able to integrate with his cultural surroundings.59  The position paper sought for the revised legislation to restructure the department of education to allow for responsibilities to be better delegated, to create more Yukon-centred curricula (especially in the area of social studies), and to allow for an expansion in the number of Indigenous language classes offered.  With regard to teachers, the government would not commit to creating a separate professional ordinance for teachers, nor would they require compulsory membership for teachers in the YTA but would include language to allow the YTA to officially function as the bargaining agent.  It also contained the concept of formally elected school committees with a host of advisory powers that might lead to a time when “if a school committee takes full advantage of the proposals, the public will be well prepared to assume additional, and possibly full, responsibility for the local management of its school(s) affairs in the not too distant future.”60 Many of the changes suggested by the committee did not require legislative authority, and the department began implementing some, including developing Yukon-specific resources on mining in Yukon and the early history of the Indigenous peoples of Yukon and employing a linguist to begin developing Indigenous language programming.61  The government was also proud of the process used to develop the policy paper and begin drafting an initial version of                                                 59 Government of Yukon, Position Paper on the Revised School Ordinance (1973), 1.  60 Government of Yukon, Position Paper, 16. 61  Government of Yukon. Annual Report of the Commissioner of the Yukon Territory 1973–1974 (Whitehorse: Queen’s Printer, 1974), 60.   132 the bill evidenced by Hilda Watson’s correspondence with her counterpart in the NWT (who was also working on legislative changes in schools at the time) and the Yukon Teachers Association that mentioned the work of the Committee on Education for the Yukon and the amount of public comment that was being solicited.62 All the public consultation built into the process could not avoid the fact that it was the practice to send all proposed legislation to Ottawa for the federal government’s review and approval prior to tabling in the YC.  Commissioner Smith sent the first draft of the bill to Ottawa for preliminary comment, acknowledging that it was deficient in several areas but mentioning that general language regarding the provision of second-language programs was preferred so that the superintendent could authorize courses of study as appropriate.63  Ottawa’s reply was disappointment that the draft did not contain specific language regarding the provision of Indigenous languages and special curricula for Indigenous students.  Agreement was expressed, however, with the decision to not develop mechanisms for guaranteed representation on school committees for Indigenous parents, supporting the committee’s assertion that it would be advisable to simply encourage Indigenous parents to run for school committee positions or make representations to the committees as any parent would be entitled to do.64  Watson was unimpressed with this reply and, in an internal memorandum, repeated her concerns about the level of consultations that led to the territory’s                                                 62 H. Watson to T. Butters, March 1, 1974, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2680, file 4; H. Watson to T. McNeil, September 4, 1973, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2680, file 4. 63 J. Smith to D. A. Davidson, August 27, 1973, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2680, file 4. 64 D. A. Davidson to F. B. Fingland, October 19, 1973, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2680, file 4.   133 policy position on the matter and reiterating that nothing in the proposed legislation would prevent the superintendent from implementing many of the suggestions regarding the curricula or Indigenous language classes but stood firm on not mandating these changes in legislation.  She expressed concerns that certain protections for certain minority groups would lead other groups who felt they were in the minority (such as teachers) to look for special rights.65 The bill, almost 80 pages in length, took several sessions of council to prepare and was introduced to the YC for first reading on March 20, 1974.  Asked by the speaker when it should be read for the second time, Watson’s response requesting the following sitting day was greeted with laughter in the chamber.  Indeed, full debate on the bill and the appearance of witnesses did not occur for several more weeks to give interested parties ample time to study it.66 The debate in the YC on the bill following second reading was dominated by witnesses, and debate focused on issues regarding teachers’ rights related to layoff, evaluation, and transfer. Indeed, most of the public debate on the ordinance as a whole was focused on these issues, exacerbated by two events – the firing and reinstatement of a popular Whitehorse teacher and the breakdown of contract negotiations with teachers while the bill was in front of the YC. On June 27, 1974, the final version of the bill was assented to by the commissioner. The most significant changes made to the proposed legislation related to staff relations issues raised by the YTA.  The 1960 ordinance did not recognize the YTA as the bargaining agent                                                 65 Hilda Watson to A-2, October 25, 1973, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2680, file 4. 66 Yukon Council, Votes and Proceedings of the Yukon Council, 1974, Second Session (1974).  134 for teachers, and the new ordinance did, along with providing the necessary mechanisms for dispute resolution.  The YTA also reached out to teacher unions throughout the country to protest two clauses in the ordinance.  The first was that teachers could be transferred with only seven days’ notice and the second was a restriction that would have prevented teachers from pursuing a political office without first resigning from their job.  Telegrams and letters from teachers and teacher unions from across the country poured into the ExCom office in Whitehorse.67  Ontario unions were particularly supportive, with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, fresh from battling “anti-teacher legislation” in Ontario the previous December, sending a telegram “expressing disbelief that any elected body would treat teachers in the way that the Yukon revised school ordinance proposes to do” and characterizing the transfer provisions as having “a punitive ring that would be more appropriate in a police state”.68  The YC had relented on both issues, and the passed bill had the offending clauses removed.69 Despite the development of the ECMRE as an elected member of the YC responsible for the portfolio, there are no references within the ordinance to the role or authority of the ECMRE.  Instead, the commissioner remained as the highest authority in the system on all matters.  The federal government, which was initially cool to the idea of an increasingly                                                 67 Canadian Teachers Federation to H. Watson, Telegram, April 30, 1974, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2680, file 4; W. Smith to J. Smith, May 17, 1974, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2680, file 4. 68 O. S. S. T. F. to L. Adams, Telegram, May 9, 1974, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2680, file 4. 69 Yukon. An Ordinance to Amend the School Ordinance 2nd Session, 22nd Yukon Council, 1974, Assented to 27 June 1974.   135 powerful executive council, would not make any changes to the Yukon Act that would allow for language that enshrined the ECMRE in the ordinance.70 The superintendent of schools was made responsible for all operations of the schools, and subordinate officers were designated to carry out many of the functions that were required of the superintendent.  In addition, the duties of a school principal were enumerated in a far more prescriptive fashion than in the 1962 ordinance, and principals were given much greater latitude in the suspension of pupils (although pupils were also granted mechanisms of appeal that were not formerly present). The language from the 1962 ordinance about territorial and district schools (the latter organized under and run by school boards, should they be formed at some point) was kept entirely unchanged.  The “School Committee” was to remain as an advisory body to schools and superintendents but in a more formal manner with regard to the election of parents.  While informal school committees and parent-teacher associations had been in existence since the 1962 ordinance, the revised ordinance formally recognized them as a corporate body and specified the manner by which the committee was constituted and members elected.  While this section slightly expanded the list of affairs that the committee was entitled to be privy to, it continued to limit their actions to discussion, requests, and formulating recommendations (with the sole exception of the ability to approve the allocation of school days for extra-curricular activities).71                                                 70 Johnson, At the Heart of Gold, 123; Government of Yukon, Position Paper.  71 See Appendix A for the full list of school committees’ authorities.  136 Finally, after a single section containing the duties of teachers, which, interestingly, contained fewer specified duties than the 1962 ordinance, the remaining sections of the ordinance were devoted to the working conditions of teachers and the establishment of the Yukon Teachers’ Association as the bargaining agent for teachers and selected staff (e.g., kindergarten instructors and some Aboriginal language instructors) and mirrored much of what was contained in the Yukon Public Service Staff Relations Ordinance that applied to the other territorial civil servants. What was conspicuously absent from the newly passed ordinance was any reference to Indigenous language instruction, curricula, or personnel.  Instead, the wording of the act was kept very general in order to permit these things.  For example, section 115(1) specified that “All schools shall be taught in the English language, but the Superintendent may permit any class or course to be taught in another language in any school.”72 This section would come under scrutiny several years later, but for the moment there was little appetite for enshrining any efforts to improve the schools for Indigenous students into the law.  Public Involvement in Education – The Education Council and School Committees School committees had been in existence since the 1960 School Ordinance but had been continually frustrated by their advisory nature, since much of their advice was summarily dismissed by the Department of Education.  As a result, interest in the committees waned at times throughout the years.  Greater influence with the department was realized when                                                 72 Yukon. An Ordinance to Amend the School Ordinance 2nd Session, 22nd Yukon Council, 1974, Assented to 27 June 1974.  137 committees banded together to amplify their concerns, and this strategy was also required after the 1974 revised ordinance because it did not increase committees’ powers and authorities. After the formalization of the school committees as corporate bodies and listing their powers and responsibilities in the 1974 ordinance, a concerted effort was made by the Department of Education to see these committees become active.  A booklet was produced containing a blank template petition to the commissioner, a detailed description of the matters under the purview of school committees, and extracts of the ordinance with the relevant sections relating to the functioning and responsibilities of the committees.73  Twenty schools had school committees created, a move that was greeted with optimism by the department along with the expressed hope that “during the continued political evolution in the Yukon these committees will be provided with the opportunity to make an even greater and more significant contribution.”74 Many school committees were closed groups, made up of members who were elected year after year and who began to resent their decisions and authority being questioned by other parents.  This came to a head with a drawn-out battle between committees and some members of the public over making the minutes of the meetings accessible to the public.  These battles were fought by committees that were making a habit of exceeding the limits of their statutory authority by discussing and commenting on the behaviour or progress of                                                 73 Yukon Department of Education, Handbook for School Committees (1974). 74  Yukon Department of Education. Annual Report to the Commissioner by the Superintendent of Education 1974–1975, (1975), 5.   138 individual students.75  In addition, Indigenous parents were woefully under-represented on school committees, sometimes with no representation on committees of schools having a majority of Indigenous students.76 The ECMRE during 1975, Dan Lang, heard quickly that the committees felt somewhat isolated in their efforts and proposed that representatives travel to Whitehorse to gather and discuss issues of mutual concern.77  In addition, the new ordinance required the superintendent to convene a meeting at least once each year to allow the superintendent to present his or her report, to allow the committees to advise the superintendent on the operation of schools and educational programming, and to consider any matters brought to the committees’ attention by the department.78  A meeting was held in December 1975 to fulfill both the statutory requirement and to give the committees an opportunity to discuss matters and bring them up directly with the superintendents and the ECMRE.  Committees were encouraged to prepare to discuss any matter they wished to bring up – an invitation that was clearly embraced by the committees that were able to send representatives in that the meeting resulted in 31 resolutions being passed for the consideration of the department.79 The desire of school committee members to have input into the operation and programming of the schools was apparent in the wide-ranging concerns expressed through the                                                 75 S. B. Horton to T. A. Weninger, January 11, 1979, Yukon Government Records Fonds, Yukon Archives, Acc. 97-83, Box 235B/06, "School Ordinance General Correspondence". 76 “School Committees Deal with Policy,” Whitehorse Star, November 19, 1976.  77 D. Lang to School Committees, July 22, 1975, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2403, file 4. 78 Yukon Department of Education. Annual Report to the Commissioner by the Superintendent of Education 1975–1976, (1976), 40. 79 T. A. Weninger to School Committees, November 21, 1975, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2403, file 4; Yukon Department of Education, Yukon Department of Education. Annual Report to the Commissioner by the Superintendent of Education 1975–1976, (1976), 40.   139 resolutions discussed at the meeting.  These concerns ranged from specific issues (for example, relating to the provision of physical education programming and which sorts of beverages could be served in schools) to big-picture concerns (about the nature and composition of the committees themselves and the use of corporal punishment in schools).80 This model of an annual meeting to discuss the superintendent’s report and a school committee conference continued throughout the rest of the 1970s.  While the level of interest in the conference was high judging by the level of attendance and coverage in the local newspaper, there was growing frustration that the resolutions being passed each year were less and less being considered and actioned by the Department of Education.81  In addition, it was clearly felt by the attendees of the conference that a single meeting each year was not sufficient to carry forward the concerns of the committees with any momentum. Instead, they proposed creating an executive committee made up of a set ratio of urban and rural committee members to meet continually throughout the year and to liaise with the department and the ECMRE.  While there was immediate excitement and willingness to move on this idea at the 1976 meeting, there was some concern that more time and thought should be given by all school committees with regard to their composition and functions.82  They did agree, however, that a body with “direct lines of communication to the [ECMRE]” was required.83                                                 80 Summary of Motions, School Committees Conference, December 19, 1975, Records Office Files Fonds, Yukon Archives, Gov. 2403, file 4.  It should be noted that all the resolutions that I have provided as examples were passed, except the one relating to corporal punishment, which was soundly defeated. 81 “School Supt. Makes Report,” Whitehorse Star, November 22, 1976.   82 “School Committees Delay Exec. More,” Whitehorse Star, November 22, 1978; “School Committees Deal with Policy,” Whitehorse Star, November 19, 1978.    83 Yukon Department of Education, Education Handbook 1985–1986 (1985), 62.   140 The Department of Education and the ECMRE clearly wanted to manage such a structure in order to implement its authority to simply provide collective advice, and they took the lead in proposing the term