Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Vernon Roote and Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Robert Nault signed an education self-government agreement-in-principle (AIP) Nov. 29, 2002.
It was endorsed by 27 of the 43 Anishinabek First Nations covering a large portion of the province. The other AIP was signed by eight Fort Frances area First Nations on Nov. 12, 2002.
The AIP sets the foundation for the negotiation of a final agreement that will recognize the participating First Nations' jurisdiction over primary, elementary and secondary education for First Nation students living on reserve.
"This agreement brings us one step closer to exercising our inherent right to determine the education of our people, which is fundamental to our identity as a nation," said Roote.
The formulas for establishing funding levels, and an implementation plan, would be negotiated for the final agreement.
The final agreement would remove participating First Nations from under the education-related sections of the Indian Act, and will recognize Anishinabek education laws.
"This agreement demonstrates the government of Canada's commitment to work in partnership with First Nations to strengthen First Nations' capacity to govern themselves through control of their education systems and institutions," said Minister Nault.
The Anishinabek began negotiating an education agreement with Canada in 1998 under the federal Aboriginal self-government policy, in which Canada recognizes that the Aboriginal peoples have the right to govern themselves in matters related to their unique cultures, identities, traditions, languages and institutions.
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