Biography for Ms. Pearl Calahasen (PC)
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MLA for Lesser Slave Lake

Pearl Calahasen

Pearl Calahasen was elected to her sixth term as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Lesser Slave Lake on March 3, 2008. Ms. Calahasen is currently a member of the Private Bills Committee, the Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing Committee and the Standing Committee on Public Safety and Services.

Since she was first elected to the Alberta Legislature in 1989, Ms. Calahasen served as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, minister without portfolio responsible for childrens services, Associate Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, and chair of the Standing Policy Committee for Sustainable Resource Development.

In addition to her role as MLA, Ms. Calahasen has served on the following committees:

  • Private Bills Committee
  • Standing Committee on Resources and Environment
  • Cabinet Policy Committee on Government Services
  • Standing Policy Committee on Health and Community Living
  • Northern Alberta Development Council
  • Premier’s Council in Support of Alberta Families
  • Standing Policy Committee on Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (chair)
  • Standing Policy Committee on Finance and Intergovernmental Relations

Pearl Calahasen was born and raised in Grouard, Alberta. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Alberta and a master’s degree from the University of Oregon. She is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education.

Her professional experience includes teaching grades 1-12, serving as a continuing education co-ordinator at Alberta Vocational College in Lesser Slave Lake (now Northern Lakes College) and working as a private consultant developing and evaluating educational materials.

Ms. Calahasen has been a champion of Native education programs. She led the development of the first Native language program introduced in Alberta schools and was responsible for developing the Cree language program for adult students. As a consultant with Alberta Education Ms. Calahasen was the principal advisor for the development of the Native education policy, curriculum materials and language development and programming.

Actively involved in community affairs, Ms. Calahasen has served as a member of the Native economic development program, as an Alberta human rights commissioner and as a volunteer tutor for illiterate adults. She has canvassed for the Heart Fund and Cancer Society and has been actively involved in community sports as a player, coach and administrator. Ms. Calahasen was one of the founding members of the University of Alberta Native Students Association.

Ms. Calahasen has been recognized by the Aboriginal community as a role model and has received many awards. Some of these include:

  • Esquao Circle of Honour
  • Honorary membership in the Kapawe’no First Nation
  • Honorary Chief of Tallcree First Nation
  • Induction into the Blackfoot Women’s Society
  • The National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Public Service
  • Aboriginal Role Model Award

In addition, the board of governors representing universities and colleges in Alberta granted Ms. Calahasen the Distinguished Achievement Award Celebrating Success.

September 3, 2008

Legislative Assembly of Alberta
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