Indigenous Peoples represent nearly 5% of Canada’s population—1.7 million people. Investing in Indigenous education is an important step toward improving the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians and to building a stronger, more united country. Closing the achievement gap between Indigenous students and other students can create jobs and grow Canada’s economy by $27.7 billion, or 1.5% annually. One example is the Indigenous-run Anishinabek Educational Institute (AEI) in northern Ontario. They partner with post-secondary institutions to offer students degree and diploma programs, as well as apprenticeships. The curriculum reflects cultural heritage, identity and community needs.
For over 100 years, Indigenous children in Canada were required to attend government-funded residential schools, which removed them from their communities and parents and their in the spiritual, cultural and intellectual development of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children. The last residential school closed in 1996, but its legacy continues to affect Indigenous Peoples today.
The Government of Canada is working to renew a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples. In 2008 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established, and in 2016 Canada adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage, Aboriginal Peoples Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Assembly of First Nations National Association of Friendship Centres Métis National Council Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Organization Where Are the Children? WE Stand Together Campaign Legacy of Hope Minority Rights: United States of America—Inuit and Alaska Natives International Indigenous Youth Council International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs American Indian Business Leaders American Indian Policy Centre Association of American Indian Affairs Women Empowering Women for Indian Nations