First Nations across Canada have been seeking recognition of their inherent right to have control over their education for decades, viewing this as a critical component of their First Nations rights, as well as a meaningful part of their efforts to improve the quality of education provided to First Nations learners.

Through the education jurisdiction initiative, First Nations inherent rights to make laws related to the education of their students is formally recognized by the provincial and federal governments. This includes law-making authority over curriculum development, graduation requirements, teacher certification, and school certification.

Contact for more information on how to get started in the education jurisdiction initiative.

Updates and Key Resources

  • There are currently seven Participating First Nations in the initiative, ʔaq’am, Cowichan, Lil’wat, Seabird Island, Canim Lake Band, Ditidaht First Nation and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). The Participating First Nations have federally and provincially recognized law-making authority over Kindergarten-Grade 12 education on their lands.
  • Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada statement in support of Education Jurisdiction Agreements in British Columbia. Learn more…

First Nations Education Authority

Through the jurisdiction initiative, First Nations determined that they wanted to collectively exercise jurisdiction over certain areas of education. As a result, they decided to jointly establish the First Nations Education Authority (FNEA), as an independent regulatory body. The purpose of FNEA, as described in federal enabling legislation, 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 and a participating First Nation in accordance with an individual agreement.

As of July 1, 2022, the FNEA established its board of directors and became formally operational. Each Participating First Nation (PFN) appoints 2 directors to the FNEA board. The directors, through FNEA, jointly establish rules for matters delegated by PFNs over the following areas:

  • Teacher certification and regulation (other than First Nations Language and Culture Teachers);
  • School certification;
  • Graduation requirements; and approval of courses required for graduation; and
  • Any other matters delegated by Participating First Nations in the future.

For additional FNEA background and resources, please visit FNEA’s website.