Goulet, Keith (1946-)

Keith Goulet being sworn in as first Aboriginal Cabinet minister.
Roy Antal (Regina Leader-Post)

Keith Goulet, born in 1946 in Cumberland House, Saskatchewan, is a Swampy Cree-Métis educator and politician. Raised in Cumberland House in a large traditional and entrepreneurial family, Goulet received his secondary education in his home community and in Prince Albert, before completing a BEd at the University of Saskatchewan and an MEd at the University of Regina. As a professional educator, he was a schoolteacher, a curriculum developer, a university lecturer, a program coordinator with NORTEP, a community college principal in La Ronge, and in 1984–85 an executive director at the Gabriel Dumont Institute. Goulet instructed the province’s first university-level Cree language classes (University of Saskatchewan), and in 1976 developed the first teacher education program in northern Saskatchewan, NORTEP. A lifelong New Democrat, Goulet began his political career in 1986 when he was elected for the northern constituency of Cumberland; he was a member of the Legislative Assembly until 2001. In 1992, Goulet became the province’s first Aboriginal Cabinet minister, holding several Cabinet portfolios including Saskatchewan Government Insurance, Education, Training and Employment (associate minister), and Northern Affairs. Goulet was also the first person to speak Cree in the Legislative Assembly and to have it recorded in the Hansard. In Cabinet, Goulet was a strong advocate for the province’s Aboriginal peoples and the north. He provided Aboriginal educational programs with more autonomy, worked directly with the Treaty Land Entitlement process and the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, implemented The Métis Act, and ensured that Aboriginal people were better represented in the northern economy, particularly in mining.

Darren Prefontaine

Further Reading

Hodgson-Smith, Kathy. 2002. “Keith Goulet: A Proud Métis and A Leader for the People of Saskatchewan,” New Breed Magazine (July/August): 5–7.