The House of Commons has endorsed legislation that clears the way for nearly two dozen Anishinabek Nation communities, including Nipissing First Nation west of North Bay, to operate their own education system.
Bill C-61 marks a major step out from under the Indian Act for 23 Anishinabek First Nations toward greater self-determination and improved education outcomes for students says a news release from MP Anthony Rota.
Nipissing First Nation, which lies within the Nipissing-Timiskaming riding, is among the signatories. The headquarters of the Union of Ontario Indians, the secretariat of the Anishinabek Nation, is located on its territory. The community will also be home to the Kinoomaadziwin Education Authority, the central body that will oversee the new education system.
Bill C-61 now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement recognizes Anishinabek control over education on reserve from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12.
"It creates the Anishinabek Education System – a system designed by the Anishinabek to deliver culturally relevant and community-tailored education programs and services for the benefit of current and future generations of Anishinabek students. This includes promoting Anishinaabe culture and language," says the release.
The target implementation date for the Anishinabek Education System is April 1, 2018.
"The Anishinabek Nation will have the autonomy to create a learning environment that respects and reflects their culture, history, traditions and language and strives to give students the best chance of success. I would like to extend my congratulations to Nipissing First Nation for joining this system and for hosting the administrative body that will develop and implement it,” said Rota.