Self-government over education on horizon for 23 Anishinabek Nation First Nations in Ontario

News Release

December 6, 2017    Ottawa, ON      Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada - Anishinabek Nation

The Government of Canada is committed to moving beyond the Indian Act in full partnership with First Nations people and to renew the relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs announced that enabling legislation for the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement will pass all stages in the House of Commons. The goal of Bill C-61 is to give effect to the largest education self-government agreement in Canada. It marks a major step out from under the Indian Act for 23 Anishinabek Nation First Nations toward greater self-determination and improved education outcomes for Anishinabek students. Bill C-61 will now move to the Senate for consideration.
The Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement lays the foundation for transformational change in the 23 Participating First Nations throughout Ontario, recognizing Anishinabek control over education on reserve from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12, as well as administrative control over funding for post-secondary education.

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.


“With this successful vote, we are one step closer to our goal of opening the Anishinabek Education System. Canada’s commitment to First Nation education has been shown by its support of this law.  When this law takes effect, we will be ready to take full control over JK to Grade 12 education in our Participating First Nations.”

Grand Council Chief Patrick Wedaseh Madahbee
Anishinabek Nation

“Under the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement, decision making power over education will rest exactly where it belongs – in the hands of the 23 participating First Nations. This historic agreement will lead to better education outcomes for students by ensuring they remain connected to their culture and language. The Government of Canada is proud to be working in true partnership to ensure the next generation have the tools they need to succeed. You are all an inspiration.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown- Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Quick Facts

  • The Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement was signed by Canada and the 23 Participating First Nations on August 16, 2017. It is the largest education self-government agreement in Canada due to the number of First Nations involved.

  • The Participating First Nations have signed a complementary education agreement with the Government of Ontario. The Master Education Agreement shares a vision of a new relationship that supports Anishinabek student success and well-being in the Anishinabek Education System and provincially funded Education System.

  • There are 27 self-government agreements across Canada involving 67 Indigenous communities.

  • Research has shown that Indigenous self-government can help close socio- economic gaps and improve community well-being.

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Associated Links


Sabrina Williams     
Press Secretary     
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett 

Media Relations
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Marci Becking
Communications Officer
Anishinabek Nation

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