Last month, the Collective gave a presentation on community lawmaking in First Nation education at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference On Education (WIPCE 2022) in Adelaide, Australia.
Held every three years, WIPCE provides an opportunity for Indigenous education leaders from across the globe to share successes, learnings and strategies for “culturally grounded education.”
“There’s no other venue where Indigenous education leaders from around the world gather and problem-solve education issues distinct to their own communities,” says Leslee White-Eye, Structural Readiness Coordinator for First Nations with Schools Collective (FNWSC).
“The most prevalent question we are all working through right now is ‘How are we going to decolonize.’”
A theme that emerged at WIPCE 2022 is that grassroots movements — like the work happening in FNWSC communities — are instrumental to transforming how education is delivered, White-Eye said.
“Much of the change over many decades in each country has occurred because of individuals on the ground in communities, building their versions of charter schools, their curriculum, their ways of teaching and/or a way to address a specific need of Indigenous children,” White-Eye said. “I came home with a new resolve that the Collective’s work is on track.”
FNWSC is a group of eight First Nations in Ontario working together to achieve full and unfettered control of lifelong-learning education systems, including schools on reserve.
Each participating community is striving for a self-determined lifelong learning system that reinforces community values and upholds First Nation rights and title within a financial framework that supports community development and family well-being
FNWSC delegates JoAnn Henry, Education Trustee at Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and Elected Coun. Veronica King-Jamieson of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation also participated in the event
"It was an honor to attend WIPCE as part of the FNWSC as I felt our voice and experiences about what is happening within our territory is similar with other cultures that were in attendance," said King-Jamieson.