CALGARY -- Almost 30 months after shovels broke ground, Tsuut'ina Nation officially opened the brand new Manyhorses High School today.  Located west of Calgary, the $18 million, 43,000-square-foot facility is part of a series of big-ticket infrastructure developments for the First Nation.  These include portions of the new southwest ring road, the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex and Jim Starlight Centre and a revamped Grey Eagle Casino and hotel.

While the other infrastructure projects are oriented around working with visitors, the new high school has a strong emphasis on promoting Tsuut'ina culture and traditions.

"Education is critical for the development of all people," said Jeff Horvath, principal of Manyhorses High School. "In particular, Indigenous people with the historical impacts of the residential school system, it devastated our communities.  

"Education, when done properly, will heal us and provide great opportunities for the next generations,"  added Horvath.

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The educational program offered at the school infuses Tsuut'ina culture with Alberta curriculum.  Community leaders are hoping small class sizes and an education oriented around Tsuut'ina traditions is enough to convince local students to gain their diploma on the First Nation.

"We offer a program based on language and culture," said Horvath.  "We have locally developed courses, a dedicated and passionate staff and a world-class facility to provide these objectives."

The school unofficially opened in September 2020, serving 100 students from grades 10-12.  The school will be open to grade nine students this coming September, which is predicted to double its student base.

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Horvath also said the school is working on several collaborations, such as eco-tourism and culinary programs, with SAIT and MRU to provide dual credits and programming for Manyhorses students.

Manyhorses High School is currently open to enrolment from members of the Tsuut'ina community,  with classes scheduled to begin in September.