Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, signs the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement with 23 First Nations. – Photo by Marci Becking

ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE, Nipissing First Nation (October 5, 2017)—The Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee is pleased that the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement Bill C-61 was introduced in the House of Commons today to give the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement the force of law.

“No matter what the question, what the issue, what the challenge is, education is the answer. This historic agreement will set the stage for a brighter and stronger future for our children and communities,” stated Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee following the introduction of Bill C-61.

The Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement Bill has been introduced into Parliament to pass as federal legislation giving the Education Agreement the force of law. The Anishinabek hope that the Bill will be passed quickly to meet the target effective date for the Anishinabek Education System (AES) to open its doors on April 1, 2018.

The Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement (ANEA) is a self-government agreement between Canada and 23 Anishinabek First Nations that recognizes First Nation control over Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education on-reserve. The ANEA will provide reliable funding to operate the stand-alone AES, a new education system parallel to the Ontario education system, where Participating First Nations (PFNs) have full control over the delivery of educational programs and services and how to best allocate education funding.

After the ANEA takes effect, certain provisions of the Indian Act that deal with education will no longer apply to the 23 PFNs. The decision-making power over education will rest in the hands of the First Nations under the AES.

The ANEA sets out a process for other Anishinabek First Nations and other First Nations in Ontario to join the AES in the future should they choose to do so.

In moving forward with the ANEA with Canada, the 23 PFNs chose to be a party to the complementary Master Education Agreement (MEA) with Ontario. The provincial agreement creates a new relationship between the Anishinabek First Nations and Ontario that supports Anishinabek student success and well-being in the AES and the provincially-funded education system.

The ANEA with Canada and the MEA with Ontario were signed by the respective parties at an historic signing ceremony on August 16, 2017.