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Palliser Regional Schools

Palliser Regional Schools takes its name from an exploratory British expedition led by Capt. John Palliser in 1857. By the mid 1850's, the Province of Canada recognized a need for more land, especially if immigration was to continue as it had in the past. There was a need to extend beyond the St. Lawrence Lowlands. The Canadian Shield held only marginal prospects for cultivation. Exploration had to be done in the west beyond the Canadian Shield to find if the land was arable and sutiable for agricultureal development.

The expedition led by Palliser took two years and faced many hardships. There were no roads, the distances between trading posts were excessive, the weather was volatile and there was a presence of native tribes. The Hudson's Bay Company had developed a workable relationship in the area for life and travel through their active trading in fur and buffalo for over the previous century. However, Palliser was not impressed with what he saw in terms of agricultural potential and warned that disaster would befall those who tried to settle the region. Palliser's expedition was a success in that his report contributed to the overall knowledge of the region.

A second expedition led by Henry Yule Hind reached conclusions which differed from Palliser's. He described the same area, which became known as "Palliser's Triangle" as a fertile belt and was suitable for settlement. The main reason for the difference in the reports appears to be based upon the idea that the two expeditions were reporting on different areas within the same region. A large part of the west was suitable for agriculture, but a portion of it semi-desert and could not support farming.

Today, the western edge of Palliser's Triangle contains some of the most productive agricultural operations in western Canada. Irrigation and precision dryland farming have created beef and grain production which provide food at low costs for both domestic use and export. Farms are efficiently managed, providing production and income from an area which was viewed as uninhabitable by the earliest explorers. This has been accomplished by the hard work, the vision and the ingenuity of those people who inhabit the region.

The Palliser Regional School system has been created to serve the students of this area. It is a rural school system serving students from the Bow River and the Sik'sika Nation on the north edge to Chin Coulee and the Blood Indian Reserve on the south. The farming communities of Arrowwood, Barons, Carmangay, Champion, Coaldale, Coalhurst, Iron Springs, Milo, Nobleford, Picture Butte, Shaughnessy, Sunnyside, and Vulcan all have schools which are served by the Palliser Regional School system. Fourteen Hutterian schools are also part of the regiona. Four thousand students and approximately four hundred employees contribute to the education of the children of the region.

The name "Palliser" was chosen to pay tribute to one of the earliest explorers of the region: one whose main task it was to ascertain the agricultural feasibility of the territory. The settlement and development of the area was achieved through aversity and hardship. This strength of character which was found in the explorers and the pioneers is a character trait that Palliser Regional Schools hopes to pass on to the students of the region both through the nature of education provided and through the name that their school system bears.

For more information, please visit: http://www.pallisersd.ab.ca/