Our Work » Advocacy



Informing Canada's Action Plan for UNDRIPA on
First Nations Right to Control their Education Systems



In 2022 and 2023, the First Nations with Schools Collective (FNWSC) conducted broad engagement on First Nations education, with the purpose of informing Canada’s action plan to meet the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as it relates to education. 
FNWSC received funding for this engagement from Canada’s Department of Justice. The development of an action plan is a required task of Canada as part of its United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIPA), passed in June 2021.
FNWSC consultations included in-person community engagements, national panels, virtual gathering circles and a SURVEY shared with Indigenous elders, academics, legal scholars, community leaders and individuals in First Nations across Ontario and nationally. FNWSC invited participants to share their knowledge and thoughts on what is essential for self-determined First Nations education systems. 


                          See below for more advocacy efforts 

The First Nations with Schools Collective invites and welcomes partnerships to help our communities overcome the devastating legacy of federal First Nation policy and build a foundation to create new opportunities for today's children and future generations.


You can help! Please consider joining our advocacy efforts in the following areas: 


Help inform the Canada's UNDRIP action plan:

Join our community consultations and help inform the government of Canada's action plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as it relates to education and lifelong learning systems. Read more about the call to action and background on UNDRIPA. 


First Nations Education System Transformation:
As part of our call for a National Strategy on First Nations Education, FNWSC briefs politicians and policy makers on ways federal education policy is oppressive to Indigenous communities and what needs to be done now to help Indigenous children and their families.  


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP):
By raising awareness, like this OpEd in the Toronto Star, FNWSC holds the Government of Canada to account on UNDRIP, which states Indigenous Peoples have the right to control their education systems and provide education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods. Please join our call with OpEds of your own and amplify us on social media!


Funding Formula: Check out this StrategyCorp podcast featuring FNWSC's Leslee White-Eye and StrategyCorp.'s Gabe Sekaly who unpack how the federal First Nation Education funding formula is directly linked to achievement gaps (including lower graduation rates) for Indigenous students. 


Need for school capital: Canada's federal funding formula doesn't include money for school capital on reserves, which prevents communities who had been chronically underfunded for years from developing adequate spaces and programs to offer learners the same quality of education their peers in provincially funded schools receive. FNWSC regularly raises this issue in meetings with federal policy folks. Many of our schools are under resourced. 


Call for resources to provide language programming such as full language immersion: Both UNDRIP and Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission note Indigenous people's right to provide education in their own languages. FNWSC communities do not have the human resources or funds to create fulsome programming needed to help revitalize languages at risk of extinction, let alone provide immersion. 

Getting Canada to the table

In March 2021, our calls for a Joint Education Technical Table with the Government of Canada led to a series of meetings with representatives from our First Nation communities, Canada's Indigenous Services department and its department of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

The goal is meaningful dialogue that will lead to federal policy change required for the government of Canada to fulfill treaty obligations and its commitment to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Those meetings are ongoing.


To get involved, contact