Concept drawing of the Nipissing First Nation small business centre designed to house the Kinoomaadziwin Education Body.

GARDEN VILLAGE (July 21, 2017)–Nipissing First Nation is pleased to announce that our bid to house the Kinoomaadziwin Education Body within our territory was successful.  We will be providing space within one of our existing facilities for 3 to 5 staff initially until construction of a dedicated building is completed, which is anticipated for the fall of 2018.

“This is a significant milestone for our nation and for the future of education services across the Anishinabek territory,” said Chief Scott McLeod.  “The Kinoomaadziwin Education Body will help First Nations build capacity, deliver services and realize our vision to implement self-determination of education.”

The Kinoomaadziwin Education Body (KEB) was incorporated in January 2011 as a not-for-profit corporation owned and controlled by Anishinabek First Nations.  In June 2012, the Grand Council of the Anishinabek Nation directed the KEB Board of Directors to oversee the establishment of the Anishinabek Education System.

Anishinabek First Nations have been working towards the creation of the Anishinabek Education System (AES) for over 20 years.  The AES is based on the Anishinabek First Nations’ inherent jurisdiction over education.

It’s about First Nation control of First Nation education to ensure reliable funding from the federal government for educational programs and services for First Nations learners at all levels – from elementary to post-secondary, including special needs and adult education.

The Anishinabek Nation envisioned a system of local, regional and central education structures governed and administered by First Nations.  In 2013, Anishinabek Education Negotiator and legal counsel Tracey O’Donnell noted that these structures “will support a culture of learning for First Nations students by providing culturally-appropriate curriculum, resources and assessments, while maintaining sound financial controls and economies of scale.”

Under the AES, First Nations will make education laws for schools on reserve, and have full control over how to best allocate education funding.  The KEB will act like a school board – it will set up educational policies and guidelines, implement standards for diplomas and certificates, provide services to First Nations schools and handle relations with the provincial schools that Anishinaabe students attend.

The KEB is not intended to direct First Nations, but rather will take direction from First Nations and provide advice and support.  The First Nations that join the education system will work together through the KEB to identify and manage their educational priorities and the systems’ governance.

There are 40 First Nations within the Anishinabek territory, and Nipissing is one of the 14 nations who said “Yes to the AES” through a ratification vote last fall.  This means that we are moving forward with carrying out the long-standing vision of the AES, which reads:

We, the Anishinabek, are responsible to educate our children so that in the generations to follow there will always be Anishinaabe. Our education system will prepare our citizens for a quality of life based on the highest standards of Anishinaabe intellectual, holistic knowledge that supports the preservation and ongoing development of Anishinaabe.

Compiled with files from Anishinabek News and www.sayyestoaes.ca