Chief Jimmy Bruneau was born in 1881 and became Chief in 1936. He was a strong proponent of education for his people, and pushed to have a school established for Tlicho children on Tlicho land. Prior to the school being fully established for students from K-12, students were sent away to complete their education, usually in Yellowknife. Currently, the school provides schooling from grades K-12, as well as housing an early childhood centre.
The mission remains to be a culturally-centered community school, such as was the wish of Chief Jimmy Bruneau, who upon the opening of the school, stated, “I have asked for a school to be built… on my land… and that school will be run by my people, and my people will work at that school and our children will learn both ways: our way and the white man’s way.” The school strives to continually improve academically as well as culturally, with culture camps, Tlicho language classes and traditional skills classes.
Another Tlicho elder, Elizabeth Mackenzie, interpreted and explained the words of Chief Jimmy Bruneau, saying, “…one person would be like two persons: One, knowing everything of the white culture and one, knowing of our ancestors’ culture. That person would become very strong for if we know everything like two persons… there may be no one greater than us.” It is from this interpretation that comes our school and regional educational motto, Strong like Two People.