Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Government of Canada mark next steps in education transformation with agreement signing

News release

December, 6, 2022 — Ottawa, Ontario — traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg people — Indigenous Services Canada

Today, partners from Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) and the Government of Canada gathered to sign the NAN-Canada Education Reset Table Agreement. This agreement marks an important step forward in the work of education reform and toward First Nations leadership over First Nations education systems in the region. It was signed on Tuesday by NAN Grand Chief Derek Fox and Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse, and the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services.

Through this agreement, both parties will continue working in partnership to support the education systems serving 49 NAN communities to provide safe, culturally appropriate, and high-quality education services in a way that respects the diverse circumstances, strengths, and challenges of their communities. The agreement establishes the NAN-Canada Education Reset Table with a mandate to develop a policy and funding framework that can support the First Nations in NAN territory in exercising greater control over their education systems.

The guiding principles of the partnership between NAN and the Government of Canada include:

  • collaborative and transparent decision-making.
  • a learner-centred approach.
  • equitable services and outcomes.
  • equitable, community-centred, and evidence-based funding.
  • culturally appropriate discussions and decisions.

Meetings and discussions will also be grounded in the spirit and ethics embodied in the Seven Sacred Teachings of the Anishinaabe.

The future of education for NAN learners must be grounded in remembrance, healing, and reconciliation for First Nations children, youth and families, and all the Survivors of residential schools, Indian Day Schools, the Sixties Scoop, and Ralph Rowe.


"Nishnawbe Aski Nation communities are on the path toward delivering education that is Indigenous designed and delivered. Today we signed the terms of reference that will guide our work to transform the education for Indigenous children. First Nations are leading the way to ensure their systems are culturally relevant and create the best start for their youth. It's long overdue and it will change lives and communities."

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

"Education is a priority, and this agreement puts us on a path to move forward in a good way. The Education Reset Table is a NAN-specific process supported by decision-makers from the federal government and NAN First Nations sitting at the table together. This will expedite our combined efforts to develop culturally appropriate curriculum that supports mental health and wellness, delivered through a safe and supportive school environment."

Bobby Narcisse
Deputy Grand Chief

"Signing the Terms of Reference for the Nishnawbe Aski Nation-Canada Education Reset Table is another step toward our shared goal of NAN communities having control of their education systems. This agreement will ensure that future work and discussions are guided by remembrance, healing, and reconciliation. Congratulations to Grand Chief Derek Fox and Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse!"

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • NAN territory consists of 49 First Nations located in the Treaty 9 and the Ontario portion of Treaty 5 territories, including 34 fly-in communities.

  • The table is comprised of representatives from both parties, who are knowledgeable about education systems serving First Nations, including NAN First Nations, and about policy and funding frameworks.

  • Nine regional education agreements have been developed by the Government of Canada and First Nations partners to address the different needs and priorities of each community. These agreements represent approximately 22,000 students. Discussions are currently underway with other First Nations communities and education organizations to advance other education agreements across the country.

  • This agreement continues the important work underway with First Nations to help close the educational gap between First Nations and non-Indigenous people in Canada.

  • The agreement aligns with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Calls to Action of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which call for the Government of Canada to provide quality education to First Nations while respecting the principle of First Nations control over First Nations education. This initiative also contributes to the Government's response to the Calls for Justice of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

  • The Seven Sacred Teachings:

    • Dbaadendiziwin (humility): To know our limitations and find balance in them.
    • Aakwa'ode'ewin (courage): To approach our responsibilities with integrity and conviction. 
    • Gwekwaadziwin (honesty): To deceive neither ourselves nor one another.
    • Nbwaakaawin (wisdom): To learn and build a new way for the next Seven Generations.
    • Debwewin (truth): To open ourselves to the journey and the destination.
    • Mnaadendimowin (respect): To know balance in ourselves and honour the needs of others.
    • Zaagidwin (love): to live by these teachings for ourselves and with others.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Alison Murphy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

Nishnawbe Aski Nation
Media Inquiries

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada

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