We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to:

  1. Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.
  2. Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms
  3. Provide the necessary funding to Aboriginal schools to utilize Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in classrooms.                      
  4. Establish senior-level positions in government at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Aboriginal content in education.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusJan. 10, 2021STALLED
Previous StatusDec. 5, 2021STALLED

Why “Stalled”?

A poll released by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, the Assembly of First Nations and Abacus Data on June 15, 2021 shows that the majority of Canadians believe governments are not doing enough to teach students about the legacy of the residential school system.

  • 62 percent of Canadians believe that provincial education curricula do not include nearly enough about residential schools,
  • 65 percent believe the level of education around residential schools should increase.
  • 70 percent of survey respondents say that the framing of residential schools has been downplayed in the education system.

Curriculum advisors in Alberta are recommending that all references to residential schools and “equity” be eliminated in the Kindergarten-to-Grade 4 curriculum, a move that education experts call regressive, racist and unsupported by research (Oct. 2020). In addition, the Métis Nation of Alberta cites “monumental concerns about the Euro-American colonial undertones in the proposed K-6 curriculum.” Ontario has also reneged on the initial commitment by the previous Liberal government to revise the curriculum to include mandatory Indigenous content. The content is now optional.

The government of Canada is working with the Council of Ministers of Education to enhance knowledge and awareness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis history and culture across Canada and to enhance the knowledge and awareness of teachers, students and school leaders on the history and culture of Indigenous peoples. The response also focuses on investments in First Nations education. Specific status updates are as follows:

  1. Multiple initiatives in all provinces and territories on mandatory K-12 curriculum development to integrate Indigenous history and culture; Ontario has made this C2A optional.
  2. funding established for teacher training to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods;
  3. funding to Indigenous schools is inconsistent (new First Nation Education agreements have been signed)
  4. minimal commitment to appointing senior-level positions in government to Indigenous Education
Mandatory Government K-12 Indigenous Curriculum Development Actions


June 25, 2018 – $250K over 2 years ($99,342 in 2017-18 and $150,657 in 2018-19)

The Government of Canada is investing in a collaborative research initiative titled “Strengthening Education and Improving Academic Success” that aims to improve the quality of education for First Nations secondary students in the Sudbury area, across Canada, and ultimately, worldwide. Working with schools, community leaders and project partners, Laurentian University will conduct research into how curriculum, both provincially-driven and locally-implemented, can be developed and modified to improve First Nations student outcomes, enhance learning supports and be integrated in learning activities. Findings of the research will contribute to the global UNESCO research project, “Reorienting Education and Training Systems to Improve the Lives of Indigenous Youth”.

July 19, 2019 – The Federal Government and Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority, signed a new regional education agreement today benefiting approximately 1,200 First Nations students. It is the first agreement of its kind in Alberta. The agreement recognizes the right of First Nations people to make educational decisions that affect their students; to control their own education institutions; and, to respond to the unique needs, experiences, beliefs and values of First Nations students.

The agreement will:

  • Recognize and respect the diversity of the five First Nations communities;
  • Work to empower each participating First Nation to improve their educational outcomes, and;
  • Preserve and utilize Indigenous knowledge, philosophy, Nehiyiwewin (Cree) language and local values and beliefs.

Treaty No. 8 First Nations located in North-Central Alberta:

  • Loon River First Nation Lubicon Lake Band
  • Peerless Trout First Nation
  • Whitefish Lake First Nation
  • Woodland Cree First Nation.
British Columbia

June 16, 2015 – Aboriginal history and culture and perspectives including ongoing legacy of residential school system have been integrated into the new K-12 curriculum. 56 of BC’s school districts have implemented Aboriginal Enhancement Agreements at the local level to positively impact racism and build awareness of the residential school legacy.

Sept. 6, 2016 – As of Sept. 2012, all teachers graduating from teacher education programs must complete 3 credits in First Nations pedagogy and issues related to the historical context of aboriginal learners.

June 18, 2019 – The Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia has released a progress audit on the Ministry of Education’s changes since the office’s 2015 report on the education of Aboriginal students in the B.C. public school system.

The original 2015 audit found there were gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in reading, writing and math assessments; in graduation rates; and in how safe they feel in school. These are strong indicators of a student’s future well-being. In 2015, the office made 12 recommendations to assist the ministry in closing the gaps. This progress audit found the gaps have gotten smaller but are still substantial.

In 2015, the graduation rate for Indigenous students was 24% lower than for non-Indigenous students. The gap is now at 16%. While there has been improvement, there is still more to do. Today’s progress audit shows that the Ministry of Education has taken action to address many of the original recommendations. It implemented a new curriculum to teach all B.C. students about Indigenous culture and history, and introduced a program, called Equity in Action, to guide districts through an intensive process to identify barriers to Indigenous student success. The ministry hired a director of Indigenous analytics to improve how it uses data to focus on the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

The ministry still has work to do in areas such as developing an Indigenous education strategy, ensuring important data around student success is collected and reporting publicly on its progress.https://www.bcauditor.com/sites/default/files/publications/reports/OAGBC_Ab-Ed-Progress_RPT.pdf


March 27, 2014 – The Government of Alberta commits that all Alberta K-12 students will learn about the history and legacy of residential schools, along with the history of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples of Canada. The curriculum will include enhanced mandatory content for all Alberta students on the significance of residential schools and treaties. Curriculum must include tile diverse perspectives of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples living in Alberta in relation to historical and contemporary contexts.

June 22, 2016 – Alberta Education, The Alberta Teachers’ Association, The Alberta Association of Deans of Education, The Alberta School Boards Association, The Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia, The College of Alberta School Superintendents and The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation signed a Joint Commitment to Action which will ensure all K-12 teachers receive additional training related to First Nations, Métis and Inuit history and culture within the next two to three years.

Sept. 12, 2017 – Ministry of Education will work in collaboration with Nunavut and the NWT on the revitalization of the Alberta K- 12 curriculum. Included in the redesign will be the history, perspectives and contributions of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and francophone people and will be focused on six subject areas: arts, language arts, math, social studies, science, and wellness.

Oct. 24, 2017 – Alberta Education is providing teachers with lesson plans to help bring First Nations, Métis and Inuit history and contributions to life in classrooms across the province. All students will learn about the history and legacy of residential schools and the history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada as part of the Government of Alberta

Feb. 7, 2018 – New educational standards will support student mental health, ensure educators have the tools they need to teach about Indigenous culture and boost student success. The new quality standards specify what competencies teachers, principals, school leaders, and superintendents must demonstrate to teach and lead in Alberta’s education system. In addition to renewing the focus on establishing safe and inclusive learning environments, the new competencies will ensure teachers can apply foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit to enrich the learning experience of all students.

Oct. 10, 2018 – This past spring, Alberta Education shared draft curriculum with Albertans to gather feedback on what students will learn in Kindergarten to Grade 4. The latest draft curriculum includes the feedback received to date.

Targeted timelines for approval:

  • Grades K-4: December 2018
  • Grades 5-9: December 2019
  • Grades 10-12: December 2020 to 2022

Dec. 14, 2018 – Alberta Education and the Alberta Teachers’ Association have approved the kindergarten to Grade 4 curriculum for field-testing within classrooms. This curriculum rewrite is the first of its kind in Alberta. It focuses on rewriting all core subject areas at once so that all subjects complement each other, allowing students to develop literacy, numeracy and competencies like critical thinking in each subject and grade.

Jan. 18, 2019 – The province is providing every Alberta junior high and high school with a copy of the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada. The initiative is to help bring First Nations, Métis and Inuit history and contributions to life in classrooms across the province.

Oct. 21, 2020 – Curriculum advisers hand-picked by the Alberta government are recommending changes to the kindergarten-to-Grade 4 curriculum for fine arts and social studies that would eliminate all references to residential schools and “equity.” The advisers also recommend that seven- and eight-year-olds learn about feudalism, Chinese dynasties and Homer’s Odyssey in social studies classes. Curriculum experts familiar with the province’s process say the suggestions are a huge departure from where work was heading before the United Conservative Party was elected in 2019.

Some education experts also say the proposed changes are regressive, racist, unsupported by research and would put Alberta’s school curriculum vastly out of step with most of North America. Dwayne Donald, an associate professor of education at the University of Alberta, is an expert in Indigenous teaching and curriculum. He said he felt hopeful about the potential for the previously proposed elementary curriculum to better include Indigenous perspectives. The suggested changes erase all of that work, he said.

March 31, 2021 – The Métis Nation of Alberta is calling on the Government of Alberta to redraft its proposed K-6 curriculum, citing monumental concerns about the Euro-American colonial undertones In a letter to Alberta’s Minister of Education, MNA expressed deep concerns about the lack of transparency by the government of Alberta leading up to the release of the draft curriculum, which breaches the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) principles.

“This is another example of Alberta’s continued colonial practice over Métis peoples,” said Poitras. “The secretive approach under which this process was taken undermines the collective approach valued by our communities and it is unacceptable.” The MNA calls on the Minister of Education to re-draft the K-6 curriculum in collaboration with the Métis and other Indigenous groups in Alberta to address concerns about UNDRIP and allow the government to uphold recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to abolish colonialism in this province.

May 25, 2021: CBC – Some Alberta Indigenous leaders and an elder say the provincial government has used them or misrepresented their positions to gain endorsements for a new elementary school curriculum they do not support.

June 24, 2021: Assembly of First Nations – Nearly half of Albertans admit that they know very little about Canada’s residential school system in the face of growing criticism about the ‘whitewashing of history’ within the province’s newly proposed school curriculum, according to a recently-released national poll conducted by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and Abacus Data.  In the same survey, nearly one in five Albertans say they know nothing about the residential school system at all.

The criticism of the new Alberta school curriculum from teachers’ associations and education experts centers around its focus on ‘Eurocentric’ syllabi … fails to put a critical lens on Canada’s colonial past and does not underscore the cultural and historical contributions of the many racialized and immigrant communities in the country.  This is particularly evident in the lack of detail included in the curriculum about the legacy of residential schools—of which Alberta was home to at least 25.

an alarming 62 percent of Albertans were either shocked by the news (of unmarked graves) or had no idea as to the extent of the abuse taking place within residential school walls.


2007 – Undertook to make treaty education a mandatory component of K-12 curriculum

2014 – Committed to addressing mandatory education on history of residential schools

Nearly 9,000 students, parents and community members had their say in a recent online survey about what students in the province need to be successful in school. The online survey is one of several feedback mechanisms which will help form priorities for education for the next decade. The results of the survey together with the feedback from engagement sessions that were held by education partners and school boards around the province will be used to build a framework outlining the key areas of focus in education over the next 10 years.

June 7, 2021 – The new provincial Nakoda courses will be available at the 10, 20 and 30 level starting in the 2021-22 school year. The Nakoda curriculum is in addition to other Indigenous language courses already available provincially in Saskatchewan, specifically Cree (nēhiyawēwin), Nakawe, Dene and Michif at the 10, 20 and 30 levels.

This new curriculum aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action and the Inspiring Success: First Nations and Métis PreK-12 Education Policy Framework, which identify the importance of Indigenous languages and the significant role they play in preserving cultural traditions, knowledge and history.


2008 – Understand the history of the residential school experience, its influence on contemporary Canada, and our responsibilities as Canadian citizens. Specific teaching around Treaties.

Dec. 18, 2015 – The Manitoba School Boards Association (MSBA) and nine of Manitoba’s universities and colleges have signed a new Indigenous education blueprint in an effort to comprehensively implement recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The signatories to the “Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint for Universities, Colleges and Public School Boards: Making Excellence in Indigenous Education a Priority” commit to:

Engaging with Indigenous peoples in respectful and reciprocal relationships to realize the right to self-determination, and to advance reconciliation, language and culture through education, research and skill development;

  • Bringing Indigenous knowledge, languages and intellectual traditions, models and approaches into curriculum and pedagogy; Promoting research and learning that reflects the history and contemporary context of the lives of lndigenous peoples;
  • Increasing access to services, programs, and supports to Indigenous students, to ensure a learning environment is established that fosters learner success;
  • Collaborating to increase student mobility to better serve the needs of Indigenous students;
  • Building school and campus communities that value diversity, foster cultural safety and are free of racism;
  • Increasing and measuring Indigenous school and post-secondary participation and success rates;
  • Showcasing successes of lndigenous students and educators;
  • Reflecting the diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures in Manitoba through institutional governance and staffing policies and practices; and
  • Engaging governments and the private and public sectors to increase labour market opportunities for Indigenous graduates.

These commitments will be set out in a 5-Year Manitoba Indigenous Education Collaborative Blueprint Implementation Plan, to be entered into in 2016.

Sept. 5, 2017 – “Creating Racism-Free Schools through Critical/Courageous Conversations on Race” encourages school divisions, teachers, parents and students to have conversations about racism to raise awareness and ensure inclusive and equitable schools and classrooms for students of all backgrounds.  The document acknowledges history, describes the effects of racism, promotes dialogue and supports the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Jan. 23, 2019: The Manitoba government has established a new commission to undertake a comprehensive, independent review of the kindergarten to Grade 12 education system. The minister noted the process will include extensive consultation across Manitoba and consider a wide range of topics such as student learning, teaching, accountability for student learning, governance and funding.

Feb. 17, 2020: CTV News – Manitoba NDP Bill 206 “The Louis Riel Act” introduced in December 2019 would see Louis Riel recognized as Manitoba’s first premier and honor his legacy as a founder of the province of Manitoba, a father of confederation and a champion of the rights of the Métis people.” On top of naming Riel the first Manitoba premier, it would make sure the province’s education curriculum accurately covered the political leader’s contributions. The news release notes it was Riel’s vision that formed the Manitoba Act of 1870, which brought the province into Confederation and brought language, religious and schooling rights to English and French-speaking Manitobans.

May 13. 2020– Premier Pallister missed a golden opportunity to advance reconciliation by deliberately choosing to ignore the contribution of the Métis and First Nations peoples to the founding of Manitoba and its entry into the newly formed confederation of Canada. “Manitoba” derived from the Cree, Ojibwe or Assiniboine languages means “straits of Manitou, the Great Spirit”. (Canadian Encyclopedia). Louis Riel, the Métis leader, brought Manitoba into Canada in 1870.  He also lead the northwest rebellion after Canada reneged on land promises it made in return for Manitoba’s entry info confederation. Sound familiar.

Dec. 21, 2020 – Government of Manitoba Nations Education Resource Centre and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to create a five-year Treaty Education Initiative in the fall of 2019 that works with teachers to ensure students between kindergarten and Grade 12 learn about the treaties and treaty relationships

April 28, 2021 – The Manitoba government is setting up a Provincial Curriculum Advisory Panel that will provide input on the development of a framework for curriculum to advance education as part of the Better Education Starts Today (BEST) strategy. The Provincial Curriculum Advisory Panel will provide input into the direction of the provincial curriculum and develop a new provincial curriculum framework that includes clear and measurable standards for what students are expected to learn. A new framework will set out the vision, principles, skills, knowledge and values that are transferable across areas of learning and into life/work and empower students to take responsible actions as they contribute to a just, inclusive and sustainable society. It will support best practices in instruction and assessment, enhance Indigenous perspectives, and embed literacy and numeracy within subject areas. The framework will result in consistency for future kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum development, and contributes to the BEST pillars of student success – high-quality learning and outcomes, and future ready students.

Dec. 14, 2021: A new pilot program will support engagement with Elders and Knowledge Keepers in schools to promote the inclusion of First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories, culture, traditional values, contemporary lifestyles and traditional knowledge in the provincial curricula, Education Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.“Including First Nations, Métis and Inuit knowledge and teachings in schools across the province will create space for our children to understand and celebrate the rich histories of Indigenous peoples in Manitoba,” said Cullen.

Elders and Knowledge Keepers will provide mentorship for various group sizes on traditional teachings. Students will have the opportunity to participate in and learn about cultural teachings, experiences and Indigenous languages. Elders and Knowledge Keepers in schools will support development and delivery of Indigenous worldviews by sharing traditional knowledge, teaching practices and protocols to enhance the connection between families and schools. They will also provide supports to create a culture of understanding and respect. The Manitoba government is investing $275,000 in the pilot program, which will be assessed for further implementation, the minister said.


June, 2015 – Indigenus education in Ontario:

  • Advocacy for an Ontario curriculum that contains clear expectations that every Ontario student will acquire knowledge and understanding of Treaties and of the historical context that gave rise to residential schools, the impact for First Nation, Métis and Inuit children and their families, and the ongoing legacy that is the responsibility of all Canadians
  • Commitment to ensuring that the needs and aspirations of First Nation, Métis and Inuit children and their families are a prominent focus of the Ontario Public School Boards Association’s (OPSBA) other five priority areas.
  • Respecting the TRC Call to Action regarding retention and revitalization of indigenous languages, advocacy for the teaching of indigenous languages in Ontario schools by fluent indigenous speakers
  • Ongoing focus on increased visibility and scope for action to expand capacity of First Nation trustees and increased general understanding by all trustees of First Nation, Métis and Inuit issues
  • Advocacy that supports action on eliminating inequity at the Federal level in education funding for First Nation students

May 30, 2016 – Initial Teacher Education Program ensures accredited teacher education programs offered by Ontario faculties of education are required to provide mandatory indigenous content. The province is also working with Indigenous partners to enhance the Ontario curriculum in order to support mandatory learning about residential schools, the legacy of colonialism and the rights and responsibilities we all have to each other as treaty people

Nov. 8, 2017 – Ontario is empowering educators to implement a revised curriculum for all students about the contributions, histories, culture and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples that focuses on residential schools, treaties and Indigenous people’s historical and contemporary contributions to Canada. Ontario is investing $2.7 million to support capacity building for educators to teach the new curriculum.

  • Social Studies (Grades 4 to 6)
  • History (Grades 7, 8 and 10)
  • Social Studies (Grades 1 to 3)
  • Geography (Grade 9)
  • Civics and Citizenship (Grade 10) and
  • Select senior courses from the Canadian and World Studies (Grades 11 to 12), along with Social Sciences and Humanities

March 9, 2019 – In response to Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action (#62 and #63), Ontario is investing $15 million over three years to support the development of resources and educator capacity to enhance the learning and teaching of the history of the residential schools system, the legacy of colonialism and the importance of treaties.

Strengthening Our Learning Journey is the Third Progress Report for Ontario’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework, including:

Signing historic partnership agreements with the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, Métis Nation of Ontario and Tungasuvvingat Inuit, and the signing of the Master Education Agreement with the Anishinabek Nation, to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous students.

Working with Indigenous partners to ensure the curriculum is more inclusive of First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures, contributions and perspectives.

Dec, 6, 2018 – Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the Government of Canada reached a major milestone in their journey toward reconciliation and renewed nation-to-nation relationships today by signing an education Agreement-in-Principle that paves the way for continued negotiations for First Nations’ control and law-making authority over education from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 in their communities. Promoting Indigenous culture and language will be central to the new, Nishnawbe Aski Nation First Nations education system, to be created under the final agreement.

The goal is to build a solid foundation for the First Nations of Nishnawbe Aski Nation to move out from under the education sections of the Indian Act, exercise their vision of greater self-determination and build a brighter future for their students and communities.

May 16, 2019 – Release of the “optional” new First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies, Grades 9 – 12, curriculum comprised of ten secondary courses. These elective courses will provide students with up-to-date learning about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives, cultures, contributions and contemporary realities in areas such as art, literature, law, humanities, politics and history.


Sept. 29, 2021 – Ontario government announced a plan to expand First Nation, Métis and Inuit content and learning in the elementary curriculum. The province announced that these changes will further strengthen mandatory learning on residential schools and foster greater understanding within the province’s education system of the intergenerational legacy borne by Indigenous families.

The Ontario government’s work will ensure that First Nation, Métis and Inuit perspectives are reflected throughout the province’s curriculum. Currently, the province’s curriculum includes mandatory learning in Social Studies, Grades 4-6, and History in Grades 7, 8, and 10, including mandatory learning on residential schools in Grades 8 and 10, introduced in 2018.

The Ministry of Education announced a commitment to complete the full spectrum of learning across this elementary curriculum, addressing the current gap in Grades 1 and 3 by September 2023.

Ontario’s education plan includes:

  • Mandatory Indigenous-focused learning added to the Social Studies, Grades 1-3 curriculum, including exploring opportunities for new learning on:
    • The role of family and resilience in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and nations
    • First Nations, Métis and Inuit historical and contemporary realities
    • Indigenous peoples’ interrelationship and connection with the land
    • The residential school system and the reclamation and revitalization of identity, language, culture and community connections.

June 19, 2018 – Replacing its Secondary III history textbook for next year with a version that will “better reflect the Indigenous perspective.”

Jan. 14, 2020 – The Quebec Ministry of Education announced plans to revamp its ethics and religious culture course. The First Nations Education Council has noted that his reform is taking place at a time when the government must respond to the Viens Commission’s calls to action, which include the recommendation to “further enrich the Québec curriculum by introducing a fair and representative portrait of Québec First Nations and Inuit history, working with Indigenous authorities” (call to action no. 21), and “introduce concepts related to Indigenous history and culture as early as possible in the school curriculum” (call to action no. 22).

Nov. 20, 2020 – The “15th competency: Understanding and Learning to Fight Systemic Racism” for teachers and teacher education programs, developed by a joint effort by the First Nations Education Council, Institut Tshakapesh and the Centre de développement de la formation et de la main-d’oeuvre huron-wendat has received the full support of the Provincial Education Table First Nations Student Success. In keeping with the AFNQL’s Action Plan on Racism and Discrimination, competency 15 is an exhortation to the province of Quebec to fulfill its duty, and to integrate the recommendations issued by the Viens Commission, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, not only for education, but in all areas affected by their calls to action.

April 15, 2020 – Kativik Ilisarniliriniq launches today the Nunavik Inuit-centered Education resource portal (Nunavik-IcE), a website dedicated to educational resources in Inuktitut, English and French. The Nunavik-IcE portal features lessons and other local resources collected and developed by the Education Services department in collaboration with teachers, elders and knowledge holders as well as staff and partners who support Nunavik education.


Nov. 30, 2021 – Québec government is investing $19.4 million to implement three measures covering:

  • direct student support
  • instructional material
  • and program review

The government wishes, in this way, to implement the recommendations of the Inquiry Commission on Relations Between Indigenous Peoples and Certain Public Services in Québec: Listening, Reconciliation and Progress, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which demanded concrete action in the realm of education. Ensuring that Indigenous history and realities occupy their proper place in courses of study and offering such notions as soon as possible in school paths will, in particular, enhance persistence in school and educational success, in addition to increasing the graduation rate of Indigenous students.

New Brunswick

June 22, 2017 – Committed to teaching about residential schools (TRC). Signed MOU with 7 First Nations to collaborate to ensure the continued implementation of First Nations culture, history and perspectives into age-appropriate curriculum for students in K-12. This includes developing learning modules on the Peace and Friendship Treaties; the legacy of residential schools; the history and culture of First Nations people, including the history of Crown-First Nations relationships; the legal and constitutional position of First Nations people in New Brunswick; and aboriginal rights and the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Ongoing professional development for education staff will continue, as well. The MOU also recognizes that First Nations have a right to practise their language and culture, and to fully participate socially and economically in society without discrimination or prejudice.

March 17, 2021 – Legislation introduced an ”Act Respecting Empowering the School System” that would amend the Education Act and is “intended to support teachers in managing their classrooms and to ensure schools offer a positive learning and working environment, free from intimidation and abuse”. The Act also includes updated language pertaining to references to Indigenous people.

Nova Scotia

2014 – Committed to teaching about residential schools (TRC)

Newfoundland and Labrador

July 21, 2017 – Release of “Now is the Time: The Next Chapter in Education in Newfoundland and Labrador” with 82 recommendations including the following for Indigenous education:

53. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, in collaboration with the Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee, develop a framework document on Indigenous Education for Newfoundland and Labrador, to be completed by June 2019, which:

a)  supports and improves educational opportunities for Indigenous students in K – 12; and

b)  provides direction for revision of existing curriculum and development of new curriculum that reflects the history, contributions, traditions and culture of Indigenous peoples in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Canada.

54. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development establish a stand-alone Indigenous Courses Policy independent of the restrictions and renewal obligations imposed by the local courses policy.

55. The Faculty of Education, Memorial University

a)  continue to actively recruit and provide support for Indigenous teacher education candidates;

b)  infuse appropriate knowledge and learning experiences in teacher education programs for teaching Indigenous students and teaching about Indigenous populations.

56. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, in collaboration with other agencies and partners, provide cultural and linguistic support services for K – 12 Indigenous students going to school away from home communities. This would include safeguarding first language skills and providing adequate ESL skills to students to help them succeed in school.

June 2018 – The Education Action Plan “The Way Forward: A vision for sustainability and growth in Newfoundland and Labrador” includes Indigenous education as one of the nine priority areas. The task force highlighted two focus areas within Indigenous education to enhance educational outcomes:

  • The first was to improve teaching and learning outcomes for Indigenous students.
  • The second was to enhance understanding of Indigenous knowledge, history, experiences, culture, and practices for all teachers and students in the province.

The task force recommendations for Indigenous education initiatives align with the Indigenous Education Plan of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) that was developed in response to recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (See C2A # 63)

Implementation of this action plan will result in:

  • a framework for Indigenous education for the province;
  • an Indigenous Local Course Policy;
  • Memorial University actively recruiting and providing support for Indigenous teacher education candidates;
  • Memorial University including appropriate knowledge and learning experiences in teacher education programs for teaching Indigenous students and teaching about Indigenous populations; and
  • linguistic and cultural support services provided for K-12 Indigenous students who attend school away from their home communities.

Oct. 10, 2019 – Implementation of the Education Action Plan is on target with 60 per cent of the actions completed or substantially underway. The plan is building a more inclusive learning environment that is responsive to student’s strengths and needs and helping them succeed. Budget 2019 allocated $13 million, an increase of $6 million from last year, to continue implementation of the plan’s recommendations and support better outcomes for students. Progress on Indigenous education are as follows:

A framework for Indigenous Education and a new Indigenous Course Policy has been developed in consultation with all Indigenous groups. This will allow Indigenous peoples greater flexibility and the ability to develop curriculum for themselves. The framework will guide the development of curriculum outcomes and learning resources for all students that reflect the history, contributions, traditions, and cultures of Indigenous peoples.


2014 – Committed to teaching about residential schools (TRC)

Sept. 6, 2018 – The redesigned curriculum is based on British Columbia’s revised school curriculum, with adaptations to fit Yukon’s northern context and embed Yukon First Nations ways of knowing and doing in all grades.

  • Kindergarten to Grade 9 classes started using the new school curriculum in 2017-18
  • Grade 10 in 2018-19
  • Grades 11 and 12 will start using the new curriculum in September 2019, following the same schedule as BC.

Aug. 15, 2019 – Students in Grades 11 and 12 will start using the new school curriculum in all Yukon schools this fall. All Yukon students will now be learning from a more modern, more relevant and more student-centred curriculum with hands-on learning opportunities that incorporate Yukon First Nations language, history and culture.

The Government of Yukon and the Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE) are pleased to announce the finalization of the Yukon First Nation School Board Framework Agreement.

The agreement sets out the process for the creation of a First Nation School Board under the Education Act. This is a critical first step for Yukon First Nations and their Citizens to assume greater authority and control of the administration and management of education programs for students in their communities and the eventual operation of local schools. Signatories to the agreement, representing 10 Yukon First Nations and the Government of Yukon, seek to address long-standing concerns about unacceptable education outcomes for First Nations students. They also commit to provide high-quality and culturally-appropriate education systems for these students based on an Indigenous world view.

June 3, 2021 – The Government of Yukon and the Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE) are pleased to announce the finalization of the Yukon First Nation School Board Framework Agreement.

The agreement sets out the process for the creation of a First Nation School Board under the Education Act. This is a critical first step for Yukon First Nations and their Citizens to assume greater authority and control of the administration and management of education programs for students in their communities and the eventual operation of local schools. Signatories to the agreement, representing 10 Yukon First Nations and the Government of Yukon, seek to address long-standing concerns about unacceptable education outcomes for First Nations students. They also commit to provide high-quality and culturally-appropriate education systems for these students based on an Indigenous world view.

Dec. 12, 2021: Yukon Government – As of October 31, 2021, the following school councils have submitted a resolution to trigger a referendum on their school falling under the authority of a newly established First Nation School Board:

  • Chief Zzeh Gittlit School;
  • Grey Mountain Primary School;
  • Johnson Elementary School and Watson Lake Secondary School, which includes one referendum;
  • Ross River School; and
  • St. Elias Community School.

Interested school communities whose school council did not pass a resolution can still submit a petition to the Minister of Education by December 13, 2021. The referendum process will take place in January 2022 in any school attendance area where a resolution or petition signed by 20 per cent of eligible electors is submitted. 

Northwest Territories

Dec. 10, 2021: “What We Heard Report: NWT Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 Curriculum Renewal” presents the findings from an engagement and consultation process into the renewal of the Northwest Territories (NWT) Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 (JK-12) school curriculum and possibilities for a western provincial partnership. The Government of the NWT (GNWT) is committed to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action and the United Nation’s Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Ensuring an alignment between this commitment to Indigenous perspectives, culture, and languages and the curricula used in the NWT is an important step to meeting the commitment.

Of the five themes that emerged from what participants said in the Indigenous Government consultation and education partner engagement process, the two strongest themes were:

  • Importance of Indigenous Ways and
  • High School Transitions.

Participants from all sessions stressed the importance of having Dene, Inuvialuit, NWT Cree, and Métis, perspectives, priorities, content, and practices throughout the curriculum. Many participants also wanted assurance that a new curriculum would adequately prepare students for post-secondary schooling, the trades, and workplace employment so that students could achieve their goals.

Specific feedback included highlighting the importance of:

  • prioritizing Indigenous knowledge over any new curriculum
  • the inclusion of Indigenous ceremonies, traditions, and music
  • the inclusion of spiritual activities and cultural protocols
  • the ongoing commitment to revitalizing the capacity for young people to speak their heritage language
  • the reciprocal relationship between education and health and wellness among Indigenous families and communities
  • choosing curriculum that clearly offers ways to educate students on local Indigenous history, perspectives, and worldviews.

Participants affirmed the commitment made by

Dec. 9, 2021: The Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) has released a “What We Heard Report” that presents the findings from the first round of engagement on modernizing the Northwest Territories (NWT) Education Act. Some of the themes ECE heard are to

  • further involve, enable and empower Indigenous and local community governments to take part in decision-making about the future of education;
  • the need to take meaningful and urgent action to foster and revitalize Indigenous languages;
  • the need to continue conversations around how education resources are deployed and how programs are developed and implemented; and
  • to not rush the process of Education Act modernization.
  • more conversation and collaboration is needed to ensure Indigenous governments and communities across the NWT can meaningfully lead and participate in the future of education. 

Modernizing the Act will help move barriers to student learning, improve the ability to implement system-wide improvements and to hold education bodies accountable for student achievement.

2011 – Developed the first comprehensive teaching resource in Canada on the history of residential schools and their legacy. We have made this a mandatory requirement for graduation for all students attending high school in the NWT: mandatory module in Grade 10 Northern Studies (NWT) and Social Studies (NU) in 2012.


2011 – The curriculum incorporates the principles of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit.  Students benefit from lessons that integrate Inuit Societal Values that are based on Inuit traditional knowledge, language & belief.

June 5, 2019 – Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated regrets to announce that Bill 25 – An Act to Amend the Education Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act, which received first reading on June 4, is not a significant improvement over the failed Bill 37 in 2017. NTI’s Tusaqsimajavut Report highlighted what was heard during community consultations:

  • Nunavut Inuit want to see Inuktut as the main language of instruction in our schools (K-12) and early childhood education;
  • more focus on teaching Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit;
  • no reduction in DEA authorities and better support for DEAs;
  • re-introduction of divisional school boards;
  • improved processes between DEAs, Department of Education and Regional School Operations;
  • an end to social promotion; and better inclusive education and student supports.

For the past decade and longer, NTI has been seeking a partnership with the GN on education consistent with Article 32 of the Nunavut Agreement. Over a year ago, NTI proposed the following three joint initiatives as a path to Inuktut LOI:

  • Short-and-medium term implementation of targeted Inuit educator training programs.
  • A new Department of Education Inuit Employment Plan, with a realistic timeline for representative Inuit employment in schools and the Department of Education.
  • New timelines for Inuktut LOI, based on the IEP timeline for Inuit educator employment. NTI continues to call on the GN Cabinet and Members to show leadership, transparency and commitment to working with NTI on this three-pronged solution to Nunavut’s education and language crisis.
Canadian Teachers Federation

Founded in 1920, the CTF is a national alliance of provincial and territorial Member organizations that represent nearly 231,000 teachers across Canada. CTF is also a member of the 32-million member Education International. @CanTeachersFed

Dec. 15, 2015 – CTF invites Canadian teachers to learn, generate dialogue and nurture a better understanding of the impact of residential schools in classrooms across the country,” says the CTF President.

Smith points to one recent resource Speak Truth to Power Canada (STTP), a website about Canadian human rights defenders and their achievements. Jointly developed by the CTF, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Assembly of First NationsInuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, STTP includes lesson plans and classroom activities that align with provincial and territorial curricula.

Recommended sections relevant to the TRC report (available in English and French as well as in the Indigenous language chosen by the featured defender, notably Cree, Mohawk or Inuktitut) are:

The CTF and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Centre are also collaborating on the production of a student voice discussion booklet and lesson plans on Truth and Reconciliation which will be released on National Aboriginal Day 2016.

Nov. 16, 2016 – The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) are proud to launch a new teacher resource that aims to educate students across the country about residential schools and set them on the path to reconciliation.

The goal of the new resource, Truth and Reconciliation: What is it about?, are: to increase student knowledge, foster understanding, and promote social action by youth that will lead to positive change in society. This new resource includes firsthand accounts from students expressed through words, thoughts, drawings and poems.

Kairos Education for Reconciliation Report Card – Sept., 2018

KAIROS is a joint venture ecumenical program administered by the United Church of Canada.  Ten participating member denominations and religious organizations are involved in the development and delivery of our shared work.

Council of Ministers of Education

The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) is an intergovernmental body founded in 1967 by ministers of education to serve as: 

  • a forum to discuss policy issues;
  • a mechanism through which to undertake activities, projects, and initiatives in areas of mutual interest;
  • a means by which to consult and cooperate with national education organizations and the federal government; and
  • an instrument to represent the education interests of the provinces and territories internationally.

CMEC provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. All 13 provinces and territories are members.

Aboriginal Education Plan 2015 – 2017

The CMEC Aboriginal Education Plan 2015–2017 includes work in the four specific areas listed below:

  • Supporting the professional development of Aboriginal students interested in pursuing teaching as a career: considering teacher-training needs, sharing knowledge, and initiating dialogue among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal educators. 
  • Developing curriculum and teaching resources focused on Canadian history and the legacy of Indian Residential Schools for use in Bachelor of Education and teacher-education programs across Canada. 
  • Sharing resources and promising practices in Aboriginal education. 
  • Continuing to promote and encourage the development of resources that address the legacy and history of Indian Residential Schools within all K–12 education systems in Canada.

Aboriginal Education Plan 2019 – 2022

CMEC 2019–22 has been designed with a goal to provide a more coordinated, strategic approach for provincial and territorial ministers responsible for education to work together to improve Indigenous education outcomes for all learners.

Priority Area # 1 – Supporting Indigenous student success and well‐being in education

  • Objectives: To engage with the topic of Indigenous student success and well-being to foster innovative and culturally relevant learning environments that focus on inclusive growth and the well-being of Indigenous students
  • Key Actions and Deliverables: Report on developments in the area of mental health and wellness, culturally relevant spaces, or other topics relevant to Indigenous student success

Priority Area # 2 – Mobilizing and disseminating provincial/territorial and international successful practices and proven actions to improve Indigenous education

  • Objectives: To advance the work of reconciliation in Canada for the benefit of both Indigenous and non- Indigenous students, as well as for all education stakeholders, and to support successes in learning outcomes by mobilizing information related to best practices in education, such as policy, curricula, pedagogies, and data.
  • Key Actions and Deliverables: Identify and mobilize information on promising practices, trends, and research in multiple thematic areas of Indigenous education, as identified by provinces and territories Assess the funding of and related governance and landscape for Indigenous postsecondary institutions in Canada Remain abreast of emerging K–12 and PSE Indigenous education initiatives Share responses to the TRCC’s education-related CTA

Priority Area # 3 – Teaching excellence in Indigenous education

  • Objectives: To improve culturally relevant and responsive pedagogical knowledge, practices, and strategies to support learners in accessing and meeting curricular expectations
  • Key Actions and Deliverables: Host a pan-Canadian symposium on Indigenizing education

Priority # 4 – Revitalizing Indigenous languages and strengthening Indigenous culture and identity through education

  • Objectives: To highlight advancements occurring within Indigenous-language revitalization to increase levels of intercultural competency as foundational to the improvement of education outcomes for all
  • Key Actions and Deliverables: Report on Indigenous – language education initiatives Host an event for ministers, deputy ministers, and officials that celebrates and facilitates an awareness for Indigeneity (e.g., place, land, Indigenous issues, and Indigenous knowledge)

https://www.cmec.ca/docs/108CMEC B.2 CMEC Indigenous Education Plan 2019-22 APP1 EN POSTED 2019.07.15.pd

For an overview of K to 12 operating expenditures in 2016-2017, click here.

Provincial Commitments to Teacher Education on Indigenous Issues

British Columbia

As of September 2012, all teachers graduating from B.C. teacher education programs must complete three credits related to the historical context of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis learners.

June 13, 2019 – $2.7M investment in Indigenous teacher education training to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms. The funding includes $1.4 million toward teacher education seats for Indigenous students. An additional $600,000 to integrate Indigenous knowledge and culture into the B.C. teacher education curriculum will provide $50,000 to eight institutions for the B.C. Public Teacher Education Programs and $200,000 for the Association of B.C. Deans of Education to support co-ordination and collaboration across the institutions.


June, 2016 – Alberta Education, the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and four other education stakeholder organizations in Alberta signed the Joint Commitment to Action to ensure that all students learn about the histories, cultures and world views of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. The Alberta Teachers’ Association has begun to fulfill its commitment by establishing the Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation Professional Learning Project. Six professional development consultants hired to lead the Association’s Walking Together initiative will be appearing at every teachers’ convention this year, providing information at the ATA booth and conducting two workshops. At each convention, Walking Together facilitators will present a blanket exercise and a workshop entitled Education for Reconciliation: Understanding the Legacy of Residential Schools. This is a voluntary program for the provinces 42,000 teachers.

https://www.teachers.ab.ca/For Members/Professional Development/IndigenousEducationandWalkingTogether/Pages/WalkingTogether.aspx


June 5, 2015 – In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, the Ministry of Education developed an online resource (called Supporting Reconciliation in Saskatchewan Schools) to support educators in learning and teaching about the legacy of residential schools and reconciliation. This resource is available in English and French and allows for collaboration and sharing of reconciliation resources and projects across the province. The website can be accessed through the link on the Saskatchewan curriculum website or directly at www.reconciliation.edonline.sk.ca. This space will continue to grow and evolve as resources are identified and experiences are shared.


Dec. 18, 2015 – Official signing of Indigenous Education Blueprint by all Manitoba Universities and Colleges and the Manitoba School Boards Association. All signatories commit to:

  • Engaging with Indigenous peoples in respectful and reciprocal relationships and to realize the right to self-determination, and to advance reconciliation, language and culture through education, research and skill development;
  • Bringing Indigenous knowledge, languages and intellectual traditions, models and approaches into curriculum and pedagogy;
  • Promoting research and learning that reflects the history and contemporary context of the lives of Indigenous peoples;
  • Increasing access to services, programs, and supports to Indigenous students, to ensure a learning environment is established that fosters learner success;
  • Collaborating to increase student mobility to better serve the needs of Indigenous students;
  • Building school and campus communities that are free of racism, value diversity and foster cultural safety;
  • Increasing and measuring Indigenous school and post-secondary participation and success rates;
  • Showcasing successes of Indigenous students and educators;
  • Reflecting the diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures in Manitoba through institutional governance and staffing policies and practices; and
  • Engaging governments and the private and public sectors to increase labour market opportunities for Indigenous graduates.

Mar. 19, 2018 – Manitoba Colleges Education Review highlights several opportunities to enhance and modernize college education by building on existing strengths as well as looks at governance, efficiency, student outcomes, programming relevance to the labour market, financial management, system coordination, partnerships and client services. The province will work towards implementing several key recommendations – including for indigenous students – in the coming months, including:

  • increasing participation rates and graduation rates for all students;
  • establishing a performance-based funding formula;
  • developing college-specific mandate letters;
  • increasing rural and regional coordination to meet local needs;
  • streamlining the program approval process;
  • introducing an external quality assurance mechanism; and
  • focusing capital funding priorities to make strategic improvements.

The province’s Indigenous post-secondary attainment rate is 43%, the lowest in Canada compared with the national average of 72%.


March 7, 2018 – The report to government, Addressing Truth and Reconciliation: Summary report of Ontario’s colleges, describes the findings of a 2017 survey of colleges on the programs and supports available to the 10,000 indigenous students. Every college in Ontario is incorporating Indigenous knowledge into its programs and services. There is a dedicated counselor for Indigenous students and an Indigenous education council advisory group at every one of the 24 colleges. As well, most colleges have implemented courses and learning modules specifically devoted to Indigenous issues. Highlights from the survey include:

  • In addition to all colleges having a dedicated counselor for Indigenous students, a large majority provide additional student supports including access to Elders, peer tutoring, traditional medicines, sharing circles, and dedicated bursaries.
  • Almost all colleges noted recent efforts to provide Indigenous students with a welcoming environment through dedicated Indigenous student centres and space for ceremonial purposes, traditional land acknowledgements, smudging policies, and traditional drumming and dancing at major campus events and celebrations.
  • More than two-thirds of the sector reported on initiatives or partnerships to update curriculum with Indigenous knowledge. Colleges are working with Indigenous faculty and knowledge keepers to review curriculum, develop Indigenous learning outcomes, and create new modules, courses, and programs.
  • Approximately 60 per cent of colleges are working with their Indigenous communities to develop standalone education strategies or are including Indigenous education within their strategic plans.

Centre of the Framework: Indigenous Learners

East Direction (Vision, New Beginnings): Ongoing Research and Development

  • Develop and support Indigenous leadership and Indigenous knowledge related to:
    • Policy Development
    • Educational processes Student resilience
    • Language revitalization
  • Foster partnerships
    • Indigenous communities, nations, and organizations
    • Within and across post-secondary institutions
    • Industry
    • Government
    • Aboriginal institutes

South Direction (Relationships, Time): Curriculum Design and Development

  • Academic departments collaborate with Indigenous knowledge keepers in curriculum development
  • Culturally appropriate curriculum and credentials, including:
    • Medical/Nursing
    • Legal/Justice
    • Education
    • Media
    • Social Work
    • Early Childhood Educators
    • Business
    • Environmental Studies
    • Languages
  • Incorporate Indigenous learning outcomes into curriculum
  • Core, mandatory and optional Indigenous courses and modules
  • Experiential learning opportunities
  • Quality assurance reflects Indigenous knowledge/practices
  • Indigenous representation on Program Advisory Committees
  • Support & engage all faculty to understand and teach Indigenous-based curriculum
  • Instructional resources

West Direction (Knowledge, Truth): Indigenous Resources

  • Physical space (Culturally safe and welcoming environments)
  • Wrap around student services
  • Transition services/programs
  • Pathways
  • Respect for traditional ceremonial practices
  • Hiring Indigenous staff, faculty and administrators
  • Hiring Indigenous leaders and knowledge keepers into senior positions
  • Recruitment and promotion practices recognize Indigenous traditional knowledge and
  • experience
  • Indigenous representation on decision-making bodies (e.g., academic councils)
  • Support for Indigenous staff professional development
  • Sharing models of wise practices within and across institutions and sectors
  • Mentoring opportunities for Indigenous staff

North Direction (Action, Movement, Reflection): Institutional Framework

  • Student success (e.g., retention, attainment, satisfaction and well-being)
  • Institutional investments (financial, human resources, etc.)
  • Indigenous-specific professional development for staff, faculty, board of governors
  • Meaningful engagement with IECs
  • Local Indigenous education plans/strategies reflected in institutional governing documents
  • Evaluation and assessment of progress

Going forward, Colleges Ontario will continue to build awareness and document the sector’s progress in an annual report for the system.

Provincial and Territorial Government Commitments to Senior Positions for Indigenous Education

To date, only BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and the Yukon have addressed this Call to Action

British Columbia

The Assistant Deputy Minister, Learning Division, and the Executive Lead, Learning Transformation Division, who is responsible for the learning modernization project, share the responsibility of ensuring that Aboriginal content is embedded in all curriculum.


Alberta Education is creating a new Assistant Deputy Minister of Aboriginal Learning to provide a focal point within the ministry and government for implementing First Nations, Métis and Inuit education policies, programs and initiatives to ensure that work with partners – school jurisdictions, parents and communities – is well-aligned and continues to take a coordinated and collaborative approach to First Nations, Métis and Inuit education in the province.


Mar. 15, 2016 – Will appoint a Minister responsible for Reconciliation to lead an Executive Council whose members promote measures to advance reconciliation through the work of the member’s department and across government


Aug. 25, 2017 – Appointed Kahontakwas Diane Longboat, Senior Project Manager, Guiding Directions Implementation, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; ceremonial leader, educator, teacher of Indigenous spiritual ways and healer to help guide transformation in the publicly funded education system in Indigenous education, providing direct counsel to the Premier, Minister of Education, Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care and Ministry of Education.


Feb. 1, 2019 – The Government of Yukon and the Council of Yukon First Nations’ Chiefs’ Committee on Education are working together to establish a new assistant deputy minister (ADM) of First Nations Initiatives position within the Department of Education. The new ADM will work to establish effective partnerships with Yukon First Nations and implement initiatives supporting the success of First Nations learners. The senior management position will have a critical role as part of the department’s Executive Management Team and will be responsible for the management and direction of First Nations initiatives within the department, which includes the department’s First Nations Programs and Partnerships program area.

Funding for Aboriginal Schools

British Columbia

While the funding responsibility for First Nations based-operated schools on reserve rests with the federal government, the Province is contributing in several ways:

  • The Province, as of 2008/09, pays reciprocal tuition to these schools whenever they serve students otherwise eligible for a free B.C. public school education.
  • B.C., Canada, and First Nations, as represented by the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), are implementing the Tripartite Education Framework Agreement (TEFA), which has, as of 2012/13, provided First Nations on-reserve schools with federal funding comparable to what the Province provides public schools.
  • Moreover, through TEFA, B.C. is sharing expertise and learning resources with the federal government and First Nations to help build capacity in the First Nations education system.

The Ministry has implemented the Equity in Action project specifically to look at ways to improve Indigenous student results and combat the “racism of low expectations” faced by Indigenous students.


Feb. 24, 2010 – MOU for First Nations Education in Alberta established an Aboriginal Education Circle between Treaties 6 and Treaty 8 First Nations and Treaty 7 Management Corporation and the Alberta and Canadian Governments as well as creating an Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Centre (IKWC) to collectively address all aspects of the education system in order to achieve better educational outcomes for First Nation children in Alberta.


Nov. 14, 2019 – Gabriel Dumont Institute opened the 8,400 square foot expansion that houses the Institute’s Métis Culture and Heritage Department and Gabriel Dumont Institute Press. It also includes the Métis museum, art gallery, a new boardroom, and office space. 

April 21, 2021 – Response to the Saskatchewan government investment of $60M over 2 years in post-secondary education:

  • Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies has the tools to realize ambitious and innovative initiatives to support the economic development of Saskatchewan Indigenous peoples,” Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies Vice-President, Academics Tavia Laliberte said.  “Stable core funding is essential to building the internal capacity to challenge and innovate.  Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies appreciates the support of the ministry to empower Indigenous peoples to meet our shared goal of building strong communities within this province.”
  • “Saskatchewan Polytechnic appreciates the Government of Saskatchewan’s efforts to ensure financial sustainability of the post-secondary sector through the multi-year funding,” Sask Polytech President and CEO Dr. Larry Rosia said.  “In addition to ensuring that the institution has the resources to plan for the fall, this approach also gives the institution stability and predictability over the next few years to meet the needs of our learners and business and industry partners.”

“Gabriel Dumont Institute is extremely pleased to see a multi-year funding commitment for post-secondary institutions in this year’s budget,” Gabriel Dumont Institute Executive Director Geordy McCaffrey said.  “The cost certainty will help us plan and deliver programs in the best way to the Métis community.”


Dec. 16, 2016 – The Government of Canada and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre are pleased to announce today the historic signing of an Education Governance Agreement for the creation of the Manitoba First Nations school board with funding and autonomy comparable to provincial school divisions. Fully operational for the 2017-18 school year.


August 16, 2017 – The federal government has signed a self-governance agreement “Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement” with 23 Ontario First Nations, the largest such deal of its kind in Canada. The agreement grants communities greater control over education on reserve from junior kindergarten to Grade 12. It also allows First Nations to wield more administrative control of funding for post-secondary education and supports the Anishinabek Nation’s vision of a quality Anishinabek Education System that promotes Anishinaabe culture and language and improves education outcomes for Anishinabek students. The Anishinabek Nations represents 40 First Nations across Ontario, representing an approximate combined population of 60,000 citizens.

Nov. 23, 2017 – Investing an additional $56 million over three years beginning in 2017 for Indigenous Institutes to expand their capacity and strengthen their role as an important pillar in Ontario’s postsecondary education system. The changes would create a framework for ongoing collaboration between Ontario and Indigenous Institutes and would support a strong, independent Indigenous Institutes sector, overseen by an Indigenous controlled and governed council. The council would, among other functions, provide quality assurance for postsecondary diplomas, certificates and degree programs offered by Indigenous Institutes.


Mar. 9, 2018 – NAN Chiefs, in consultation with NAN communities, have been working together for over 30 years on developing a First Nation education system that would meet the needs of our communities. The NAN Chiefs-in-Assembly also adopted Resolution #17/65, mandating NAN to share the First Nations Education Framework with our First Nations communities and gather feedback. The Framework is not complete and requires more work and community input, before it can be ready for final approval.

Jan. 22, 2021Ontario Government – is expanding the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) for eligible programs at Indigenous Institutes starting in the 2020-21 academic year. This financial assistance will help ensure Indigenous learners have access to a culturally responsive and high-quality postsecondary education that will prepare them to meet local labour market needs. Beginning this year, Ontario is designating Indigenous Institutes as approved institutions for OSAP purposes to allow eligible students to apply for assistance. Indigenous Institutes can begin offering their own independently delivered, quality-assured OSAP eligible programs with approval from the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council.

May 7, 2021 NationTalk – Thanks to collaborative, innovative funding from the province and education non-profits, member institutes of the Indigenous Institutes Consortium (IIC) will be developing and improving virtual learning in Ontario for Indigenous learners. Following a historic $50-million investment in the Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS), the IIC formed a new partnership with eCampusOntario to advance the virtual capacity of Indigenous Institutes in Ontario through micro-credentials.

The total culminating amount granted to Indigenous Institutes for micro-credential course development is $398,340. Indigenous Institutes Kenjgewin Teg and Six Nations Polytechnic are official members of eCampusOntario and Six Nations Polytechnic will lead in the development of these micro-credential courses, following two successful expressions of interest (EOI).

Intended to drive growth and advancement in virtual learning across the province’s post-secondary institutions, the $50-million investment from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) in partnership with eCampusOntario was announced on Dec. 11, 2020. Led by Six Nations Polytechnic, the IIC members will undertake the development of two new micro-credentials focused on Indigenous e-learning assessment strategies and Hybrid-flexible (Hyflex) design in Indigenous teaching and learning throughout 2021.

June 28, 2021 – Kâpapâmahchakwêw, Wandering Spirt school, part of the Toronto District School Board, celebrates its first graduates. Welcomed its first cohort of Grade 9 students in the fall of 2107, added Grade 10 in 2018, Grade 11 in 2019 and Grade 12 in 2020. The school integrates values, language and culture into the curriculum. “Indigenous perspectives are also centered in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, medicine and design classes


Aug. 23, 2017 – $185,000 in funding for the 2017-18 academic year to promote retention and academic success among Innu students and to foster appreciation of culture and language among Indigenous youth by enabling some 1,800 students living in seven Innu communities on Quebec’s North Shore to retain their culture and their language through the development of teaching materials dealing with First Nations cultures ($25K) and the professional development of teachers at Institute Tshakapesh ($110K)

Northwest Territories

March 21, 2018: CBC – The Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning — the N.W.T.’s ‘bush university’ — is voicing concerns that proposed territorial legislation would exclude it from core public funding. A new discussion paper by the territorial government on the governance of post-secondary institutions — the first step toward accrediting such institutions in the territory says Indigenous institutes, which are Indigenous-governed and operated, would fall under the private sector and outside of the publicly funded post-secondary system. The school also said it ignores the territorial government’s responsibility to protect treaty rights and provide quality public education. CBC

Mar. 28, 2019: CBC – The Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning is planning to use $13 million in new federal money to diversify its programming across the North. The money was promised to the centre over the next five years in the 2019 federal budget. The new funding will make land-based education more accessible.


March 14, 2019: CBC – Inuit leaders are slamming the Nunavut government for its decision to pull funding from Canada’s first and oldest Inuit post-secondary school, $175,000-a-year funding agreement to Nunavut Sivuniksavut, which is located in Ottawa. That three-year funding commitment began in 2015 and accounts for 11.4% of its operating budget. “The GN, and specifically the Department of Family Services, must focus its efforts and funding on individuals, programs, and organizations within Nunavut that support those most at-risk of continued unemployment,” he wrote. “NS [Nunavut Sivuniksavut] students have historically been highly employable, and the GN does not believe they face a great risk of persistent unemployment in the territory.”

Indigenous Post-Secondary Institutes


Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research, Saskatoon

The Gabriel Dumont Institute, founded in 1980, is the only wholly Métis-owned and controlled educational institution of its kind in Canada whose mission is to promote the renewal and development of Métis culture through research; materials development, collection, and distribution; and the design, development, and delivery of Métis-specific educational programs and services.


Six Nations Polytechnic, Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River

Oshki-Pimache-O-Win, Thunder Bay

Iohahi:io Akwesasne, Cornwall

Kenjigewin Teg, M’Chigeeng First Nation, Manitoulin Island

Dedicated to life-long learning by providing an Anishinaabemowin community based-approach to education, training and business support services and opportunities.

Anishinabek Educational, North Bay

First Nations Technical Institute, Tyendenaga Mohawk Territory

Seven Generations Educational Institute, Fort Francis

Encompasses the traditional education process by blending culture, tradition, information and technology. This philosophy provides opportunities to demonstrate our commitment to the values, needs, and learning styles of our communities.

Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Garden River First Nation

Feb. 7, 2020 – Government of Ontario announced an investment of $2 million through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) for the Shingwauk Education Trust to build the Anishinabek Discovery Centre will accommodate the Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gami  that forms part of Ontario’s post-secondary education sector. It will feature classrooms, a state-of-the-art library, archives and gallery.

Ogwehoweh Skills and Trades Training Centre, Ohsweken

Nunavut Sivuniksavut, Ottawa

Canada’s first and oldest Inuit post-secondary school. the school’s $1.536 million in 2017-2018 came from:

  • The three Nunavut regional Inuit organizations: 33.4 per cent.
  • The federal government: 21.3 per cent.
  • Tuition: 20.8 per cent.
  • Nunavut Tunngavik: 13 per cent.

Nunavut: 11.4% (withdrawn on Mar. 14, 2019. Future funding TBD.

Inuit Nunangat

June 16, 2021 – Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Mastercard Foundation today announced a partnership to support the planning and visioning of a university in Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland in Canada, designed and delivered with Inuit customs and values in mind

National Association of Indigenous Institutes of Higher Learning

British Columbia

Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association, West Vancouver

Our community-based institutes offer a broad spectrum of courses and programs that support Aboriginal people, communities, languages, and cultures.


Blue Quills First Nations College, St. Paul

See ourselves on the cutting edge of a form of true Indian education that incorporates the concepts of Nehiyaw Mamtonecihkan (Indian thought) and Moniyaw Mamtonecihkan (White academic thought).

Maskwacis Cultural College, Maskwacis

Maskwacis is an Indigenous People’s Cultural College. We base our philosophy, process and functioning on the values, wisdom, teachings and beliefs of the Plains Cree Culture.

First Nations Adult Education Consortium, Calgary

Old Sun Community College, Siksika

Develops and offers quality courses, programs and services tailored to meet the needs of the Siksika Nation and individuals while preserving the Siksika Way of Life.

Red Crow Community College, Cardston

The mission of Mi’Kai’sto Red Crow Community College is to meet the Cultural, Educational and Training needs for Kainai and beyond.

The Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute, Edmonton

Provide quality post-secondary education and training to people within the Nisga’a community, and to ensure the survival of Nisga’a language and culture.

Yellowhead Tribal College, Edmonton

YTC has developed its own accredited programs grounded in first nations culture and language.


First Nations University of Canada, Regina

The university is a special place of learning where we recognize the spiritual power of knowledge and where knowledge is respected and promoted.


Yellow Quill College, Winnipeg

Education and training are an integral part of the process of Indian self-government and economic and social development


Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute, M’Chigeeng, Manitoulin Island

Dedicated to life-long learning by providing an Anishinaabemowin community based-approach to education, training and business support services and opportunities.

Seven Generations Education institute, Fort Francis

Encompasses the traditional education process by blending culture, tradition, information and technology. This philosophy provides opportunities to demonstrate our commitment to the values, needs, and learning styles of our communities.


Métis Nation Accord Annex: Supports for Métis Nation Educational Institutes

The Parties will explore ways of expanding the capacity of existing Métis Nation post-secondary institutions such as the Gabriel Dumont Institute, Louis Riel Institute and Rupertsland Institute and exploring the need for additional institutions. This will include identifying innovative programming for Métis students in these institutions. The Parties may agree to invite representatives of provinces to all or part of these discussions

May 31, 2021 – Métis Nation of Alberta and the University of Alberta renew a long-standing partnership to provide quality education, training and research to the Métis people of Alberta. The Memorandum of Understanding honours the ongoing relationship between the MNA, RLI and the U of A, while also commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research (RCMR), which was established May 31, 2011 at the U of A as the research arm for the RLI and the MNA, and as Canada’s first Métis-specific academic research centre.

The new agreement will advance several post-secondary goals, including:

  • continuing to conduct research specific to Métis concerns through the RCMR
  • supporting Métis students in attaining post-secondary education
  • goal of becoming a post-secondary institution offering courses and certification, to result in credit transfer agreements with the U of A
  • Increasing the number of Métis academics, fellowships and employees at all levels of the U of A through partnership agreements between the U of A and RLI, as well as Métis course development.

The agreement also enables the RCMR to continue taking on high-calibre research projects and creating events that build knowledge about Métis peoples for both Métis and non-Métis audiences. Supported in this next phase by funding from RLI and the MNA, the RCMR serves as an expansive academic research program specifically designed for Métis concerns, including historical research and Métis rights, research and analysis capacity on general policy areas such as health, labour, land use and resources, and contemporary Métis issues.

“The new MOU not only strengthens the relationship that already exists between the MNA/RLI and the University of Alberta, as well, it ensures the sustainability of the RCMR as a leading-edge research unit engaged on a research journey that deconstructs old research frameworks and supports the co-creation of knowledge with the Métis nation,” said Nathalie Kermoal, Director of the RCMR and U of A Faculty of Native Studies‘ associate dean academic. Since its inception, the RCMR has focused on forging local, provincial and national connections with Métis communities, building research capacity to advance Métis-specific research, and training and employing student researchers.

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

The Government of Canada is working with the Council of Ministers of Education to enhance knowledge and awareness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis history and culture across Canada and to enhance the knowledge and awareness of teachers, students and school leaders on the history and culture of Indigenous peoples.

Further, Budget 2016 invested $275 million in language and culture until fiscal year 2020 to 2021. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is also working with First Nations partners to transform First Nations elementary and secondary education on reserve, which will include new funding formulas that are enhanced with language and culture investments to meet the specific needs of Indigenous students.

Starting in fiscal year 2017 to 2018, ISC is contributing $3 million per year, for 3 years, to the First Nations University of Canada to develop a National Centre for Collaboration in Indigenous Education. The national centre will serve as an informational resource base for reconciliation and will focus on the growing needs of students, educators and the various policy and other decision makers involved in Indigenous kindergarten to grade 12 education in Canada.

This response hasn’t changed since March 2018.