Who we are
The First Nations with Schools Collective (FNWSC) is a group of eight First Nations in Ontario working to achieve full control of our lifelong-learning education systems, including schools on reserve.
Though each nation's learning system is distinct, we are united in our goal to support our community leaders who are mapping paths to education self-determination.
While lifelong learning and education directors work tirelessly to run superb on-reserve schooling systems despite inadequate resources provided by the Government of Canada, FNWSC keeps the overarching goal of First Nations Control of First Nations Education on the table by commissioning research, coordinating meetings and partnering with experts in lawmaking, human rights and curriculum development.
FNWSC also works to develop new funding formulas that account for the resources needed for First Nations to collect data, develop distinct curriculums and implement language and culture-based community programming.
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 was created in 2016 by First Nations Chiefs in Ontario who established their intent to work together toward achieving the vision outlined above. They wanted an inter-nation work space that did not diminish each nation's inherent right to control over its own local education.
As a collective, participating First Nations with separate and distinctly local education systems work together to achieve education transformation and self-governance.
First Nations’ control over First Nations’ local lifelong-learning education systems for our respective citizens.
First Nation education systems (which include on-reserve schools) are a fiscal responsibility of the government of Canada. This is according to inherent rights and treaties. But under federal policy, Indigenous communities are required to meet certain criteria in order to receive funds needed to run school systems.
Even when criteria is met, the funds do not include infrastructure dollars that are needed to develop curriculum and programming that is critical after more than 150 years of punishing education policy, including Canada’s Indian Residential School System.
The reporting process puts First Nation education systems in a precarious situation and prevents First Nations from exercising full jurisdiction over schooling.
It is a barrier to First Nations’ full jurisdiction over their own education systems.