Gitksan Wet’suwet’en Education Society (GWES)


Mandate History:

In 1982, the Gitksan Carrier Tribal Council initiated the formation of the Gitksan Carrier Education Society, now known as the Gitksan Wet’suwet’en Education Society. The Education Society formed for two main reasons: firstly, Revenue Canada would not grant the Tribal Council non-profit or charitable status because of its political nature. Secondly, the Society's, initial mandate was to deliver a four-year Native Teacher Education Degree program in Hazelton with the long term of having half of the teaching positions in Hazelton filled by Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en people by the year 2000. The Gitksan Wet’suwet’en Education Society was incorporated as a non-profit, charitable status society on October 27, 1982; and is also a registered institute with the Private Post Secondary Education Commission of British Columbia.

The mandate for the Gitksan Wet'suwet'en Education Society was to reduce the demand on the Tribal Council for community services, so that the Tribal Council could concentrate on the constitutional talks, comprehensive land claims and pursuing the litigation of the rights and title court action.

GWES Goals:

  • To promote the availability of high quality education and educational training facilities for the people in the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en areas
  • To establish, develop and enhance training, educational and cultural programs and opportunities in the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en areas.
  • To promote the development of an educational system which will meet the needs of the people in the Gitksan-Wet'suwet'en areas.
  • To do everything incidental and necessary to promote and attain the foregoing purposes throughout the Province of British Columbia (in partnership with Band Councils)

GWES Board of Directors are representatives of each band or band education society. They are either the Education Coordinator or Administrator of each community. Any decisions or reporting goes through Band Adminstration and or Council discussion as may be needed before decisions are implemented by GWES administration.

  • Gitanyow Band: Diane Robinson, Gitanyow Education Society - Coordinator; operates an independent K-7 elementary school
  • Gitwangak Band: Debbie Bright, Administrator Gitwangak Education Society: operates an independent K-7 elementary school
  • Gitsegukla Band : Ray Jones, GBC operates an independent K-7 elementary school
  • Hagwilget Band: Executive Director
  • Gitanmaax Band: Pansy Wright Simms, Education Coordinator
  • Glen Vowell Band: Barb McRae, Education Coordinator 

GWES offers many centralized education services at the First Nation Education Center (old high school in Gitanmaax/downtown Hazelton).

GWES is a member of the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association (IAHLA) and the GWES representative is Tracey Woods - for more information. GWES is also a member of the First Nations School Association - for directors see their website.

For more information regarding the many programs and services, staff directory and programs - check out GWES website.

or contact GWES directly:
Location: 4125 River Road Hazelton (middle entrance), BC V0J 1Y0 to drop in or PO Box 418 Hazelton BC V0J 1Y0

Ph: 250.842.0216; fax: 250.842.2219; toll free: 1.866.842.0216

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