Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Canada mark milestone with Education Agreement-in-Principle

Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the Government of Canada have signed an Education Agreement-in-Principle that paves the way for continued negotiations for First Nations' authority over K-12 education in their communities. The agreement marks a major milestone in the two parties' journey towards reconciliation and renewed nation-to-nation relationships. "Asserting our jurisdiction over education is necessary so we can teach our children in a way that is consistent with our cultures, while also ensuring that they are prepared academically for whatever opportunities their futures hold," stated Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. "Our education system will be developed and implemented by our communities, and will provide our children with culturally appropriate and high quality learning opportunities that are on par with the rest of Canada." Nishnawbe Aski Nation represents 49 First Nations with a total student population of approx. 10,000 students.

VIU to help Indigenous grads build their business skills through BC-wide partnership

A new partnership between Vancouver Island University, the Government of BC, the BC Assembly of First Nations, and the Business Council of BC will match Indigenous graduates of technical, trades, diploma and degree programs with companies in BC for a two-year paid internship. VIU is providing logistical support to the partnership, but a release notes that the program is open to Indigenous graduates throughout the province. "The Indigenous Intern Leadership Program is a beautiful step in building reconciliation in BC," says VIU Chancellor Louise Mandell.

First Nations students push for new high school in Thunder Bay

A group of northern Ontario First Nations youth is pushing for a new high school and a residence to end billeting. Youth from remote First Nations in northern Ontario currently must attend high school in urban centres, and the students say that the current billeting systems create too many problems related to racism and crime. Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, which is run by the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council, has seen declining enrolment as parents are increasingly hesitant to send their children to Thunder Bay. "I told them I was a big champion of their dreams to see that new, or improved school built as soon as possible," said Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott. "We know how important this initiative is." Philpott stated that she is waiting for the completion of a feasibility study on a new school project before determining the federal government's next steps. While the federal government has not historically funded off-reserve schools, CBC notes that Indigenous Services' recently provided a $10M to Southeast Collegiate.

 Keewatin-Patricia school board partners with Windigo First Nations Council to "improve lives of children

The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board and the Windigo First Nations Council have signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance First Nations control over First Nations education. The two parties will work together to help Indigenous students reach their personal and educational goals. The memorandum highlights key priority areas in student support services, independent education plans, curriculum, professional development, and improved communications. The agreement will see the school board offer training for teachers, resources, and technological experties. "After three years of meetings and negotiations, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board has proudly signed the official memorandum of understanding with Windigo First Nations Council," said KPDSB Director of Education Sean Monteith. "Keewatin-Patricia will now proudly add Windigo to its successful Indigenous partnerships that will improve the lives of children."

Financial empowerment can contribute to success for Indigenous youth

For Indigenous youth embarking on higher education and careers, financial empowerment marks the road to success, writes Bettina Schneider, Associate Vice-President Academic of First Nations University. Schneider explains how many First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities have experienced persistent barriers that have contributed to gaps in financial literacy. Furthermore, many personal finance books provide excellent content, but do not include the taxation, housing, banking and other specifics that impact Indigenous people. To this end, Schneider explains how "sharing the wisdom and power of culturally relevant financial literacy education in Indigenous communities is one way to promote the success of Indigenous youth."