Implementation of First Nations Jurisdiction for Education Jurisdiction is a key component of the BC First Nations K-12 Education System
What is First Nations Jurisdiction Over Education? • Jurisdiction over education is formal recognition by the federal and provincial governments of First Nations’ and parents’ rights to make decisions about the education of our children. • Our inherent right of self-government includes education, and provides a foundation for our own education system. • BC First Nations have been seeking recognition of our jurisdiction over education for decades. It is a critical component of our Aboriginal rights and a meaningful part of our efforts to improve the quality of education provided to First Nations learners. First Nations Education Jurisdiction in BC
Significant Success for BC First Nations FNESC, Canada, and BC signed a suite of agreements in July 2006 to recognize the jurisdiction of BC First Nations over K-12 on-reserve education. • Education Jurisdiction Framework Agreement • BC - FNESC Education Agreement • Canada-FN Education Jurisdiction Agreement template • Canada-FN Education Jurisdiction Funding Agreement template • Implementation Plan template
Federal and Provincial Enabling Legislation December 2006 Passage of Federal Legislation Bill C-34 First Nations Jurisdiction over Education Act November 2007 Passage of Provincial Legislation Bill 46 The First Nations Education Act
Jurisdiction • The existing agreements and legislation will serve as an important platform for achieving increased educational success for First Nations learners and increased accountability to their parents and First Nations. • We have been working to implement these agreements and the legislation by conducting significant research, community consultations, negotiations, and lobbying.
Elements of First Nations Education Jurisdiction First Nations Education Authority (FNEA) • established under federal legislation as part of jurisdiction • is a provincial-wide body to assist Participating First Nations (PFNs) in implementing jurisdiction The purpose of the FNEA is to: “… assist participating First Nations in developing the capacity to provide education on First Nation land and to provide for any other matters related to education that may be agreed to by the Authority [FNEA] and a participating First Nation in accordance with an individual agreement.” Bill C-34, Section 18
First Nation Education Authority Responsibilities of the FNEA: • Establish standards applicable to Education provided by PFNs for curriculum and examinations for courses necessary to meet graduation requirements • Provide Teacher Certification Process for teachers (other than teachers teaching the language and culture of PFNs) • Provide certification for schools operated by PFNs • Consult with British Columbia regarding standards applicable to Education provided by PFNs for curriculum and examination for courses necessary to meet graduation requirements
Elements of Jurisdiction • Community Education Authorities (CEA) • The structure and role for CEAs is set in enabling enabling legislation and agreements • Jurisdiction rest with PFN • PFN passes law to set vision and guidelines for education system • PFN law may also create a CEA • PFN/CEA delegates certain responsibilities to the regional FNEA • The structure and role for FNESC with respect to education jurisdiction • Templates for First Nation Education Law and Law-Making Protocol are drafted
Currently • 68 BC First Nations have formally indicated their interest in negotiating a Canada-First Nations Education Jurisdiction Agreement. • 14 are pursuing formal negotiations. • Planningis well underway: • Collective mechanisms • Templates • Resources • Capacity-building initiatives
Consultation 5.1 “British Columbia agrees to consult the First Nation Education Authority, once it has become a Party to this Agreement, in any general consultations undertaken by the Ministry of Education regarding proposed changes to education policy, legislation or standards that materially affect programs offered by Participating First Nations or which could have a material affect on assessments, teacher certification, graduation requirements, curriculum and any other matters relating thereto.” Under the British Columbia First Nation Education Agreement (July 2006), the Province has committed to consultation.
Relations with BC Government Growth of a respectful, productive working relationship consistent with jurisdiction: • Annual public school and district data in the How Are We Doing? report • Reciprocal tuition paid by the Province to First Nations schools • Joint development of curriculum resources: English First Peoples, Math First Peoples, and Early Literacy • Protocols for data sharing to ease transitions
Own Source Revenue:Barrier to Implementation Canada’s recent decision to apply the federal Own Source Revenue policy to First Nations education jurisdiction funding agreements in BC
Resolutions Passed by the First Nations Summit and Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs “…urge Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to honour the Education Jurisdiction Framework Agreement, as signed in 2006 – with an OSR exemption.” March 2011 “… call on the government of Canada to negotiate education jurisdiction agreements, for those communities seeking support, consistent with the shared commitments set out in the Transformative Change Accord… [and] to withdraw the newly-imposed condition that the federal Own Source Revenue Policy apply to the education jurisdiction negotiations or agreements. ” June 2011
Other Barriers to Implementation of Jurisdiction Agreements with Canada • Adequate, sustainable funding that is flexible and responsive to changes in trends • Funding for Language and Culture Programs • Funding for Information and Communications Technology • Indexing • Targeted education programs
From Here… • The First Nations Summit (Summit) and Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) have reaffirmed their full support for the comprehensive BC First Nations education system designed by FNESC and the FNSA and called on the federal government to uphold the commitments it made in the BC First Nations education jurisdiction agreements. • The Summit and UBCIC have also called on Canada to withdraw the newly-imposed condition that the federal OSR Policy apply to the the education jurisdiction initiative. • Federal government initiatives and policies must recognize and build upon the successful initiatives that are already in place in BC.
Honour of the Crown “The Crown cannot unilaterally act without regard to Aboriginal governance rights in relation to education; as to do so would not be keeping with the honour of the Crown” - First Nations Summit Resolution #0611.06 June 2011
First Nations know what is needed for greater learning success. We can achieve economic viability and sustainability through a learning system that includes: high expectations; sound, holistic and inclusive curricula; well-trained educators; focused leadership; parental involvement; accountability; and safe, healthy, and adequate facilities. All of this is possible with Jurisdiction.