Skip to main content

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett will announce details of the agreement with 23 member First Nations of the Anishinabek Nation on Wednesday when she visits the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, outside Orillia.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Anishinabek Nation in Ontario has signed the largest self-governing education agreement with the federal government, giving it control over its classroom curriculum and school resources.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett will announce details of the agreement with 23 member First Nations of the Anishinabek Nation on Wednesday when she visits the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, outside Orillia.

About 25,000 Anishinabek people live in the 23 communities that signed on to govern their education system on reserve, making it the largest self-governing agreement negotiated in Canadian history, a government source said.

Story continues below advertisement

Under the agreement, the Anishinabek Nation will govern its Kindergarten-to-Grade 12 education system on reserve in the hopes of improving academic achievement and keeping students in school.

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee said in an interview on Tuesday that the agreement will allow a community-driven education system that will incorporate language instruction and culture.

"These 23 communities will be in the driver's seat in creating a great future for their children," he said. "The impacts of colonialism in particular around the world with Indigenous people, they kept us uneducated and in poverty. And I think education is the key to our future, where we build capacity and we take over and run our own lives."

Negotiations between the federal government and the Anishinabek Nation began in 1995. The Anishinabek Nation includes 40 member First Nations across Ontario. The agreement allows the other communities to join, should they choose to do so.

Wednesday's announcement will also include an agreement with the provincial government that will support Anishinabek students who attend schools off reserve.

Tracey O'Donnell, Anishinabek Nation's education negotiator, described it as a "complementary agreement in education" in which the province and First Nation communities develop programs and supports for children studying off-reserve. That could include incorporating Anishinabek history and culture in Ontario's curriculum, Ms. O'Donnell said.

She said about 8 per cent of Anishinabek students attend on-reserve schools. The vast majority attend provincial schools, because their communities do not have education facilities or the families live off-reserve.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. O'Donnell said the agreements will create opportunities for the 23 communities.

"It provides the First Nations the chance to make decisions not only on the curriculum … but in the agreement with Ontario, we have a new relationship where we can influence the curriculum and resources and what's being taught off reserve," she said.

"What we're trying to do is create a new reality so our students achieve the same level or even higher level of success than other Ontario students," Ms. O'Donnell added.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter