Indigenous Post-Secondary Education & Training
With gratitude and respect we would like to acknowledge the traditional keepers of the land on which our offices are located, the Lekwungen Peoples, known today as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, and the Tseil-wa-tulth, Musqueam and Squamish Nations. We are grateful for their continued stewardship of this beautiful territory.
We would also like to acknowledge the many Nations on whose traditional territories the 25 BC public post-secondary institutions are located. We want to acknowledge our gratitude for the guidance and teachings that have been shared with us by the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit partners and communities throughout the province.
What We Do
Our work is guided by the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan. We work collaboratively with our bilateral partners (First Nations Education Steering Committee/ Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association, and Metis Nation of BC), as well as the Indigenous Post-Secondary Education and Training Partners Group to co-develop the guiding principles, vision, goals, objectives, and actions.
Modeled on principles introduced by the federal government in 2017, the Province’s principles provide high-level guidance on how provincial representatives engage with Indigenous peoples.
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) published its final report detailing the experiences and impacts of the residential school system, creating a historical record of its legacy and consequences. The TRC recorded testimony of more than 6,000 survivors affected by residential schools. One outcome of the report was a document detailing 94 calls to action across a wide range of areas including child welfare, education, health, justice, language and culture.
In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration). It includes 46 articles covering all facets of human rights of Indigenous peoples such as culture, identity, religion, language, health, education, and community.
The UN Declaration emphasizes the Indigenous peoples' rights to live in dignity, to maintain and strengthen Indigenous institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue self-determined development, in keeping with Indigenous needs and aspirations.
The UN Declaration has been adopted by 148 nations, including the Government of Canada.
In November 2019 the B.C. Government passed legislation to implement the UN Declaration, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which aims to create a path forward that respects the human rights on Indigenous peoples while introducing better transparency and predictability in the work we do together.
Originally signed in 2015, the updated document provides and joint agenda to “design, construct and implement a principled, pragmatic and organized approach to implement the section 35 Constitution Act, 1982 framework in British Columbia, informed by the Tsilhqot’in decision and other established law, the UN Declaration, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action - with tangible milestones to demonstrate progress”.
The Métis Nation Relationship Accord II renews a commitment to work together for the betterment of Métis people throughout British Columbia. The accord was first signed in 2006 to strengthen relationships between the provincial government and Métis people. The accord set out objectives to address health, housing, education, economic opportunities, Métis identification and data collection as well as any opportunities for engaging in a tripartite relationship with the federal government. In addition to recommitting to the original objectives of the accord, the updated version covers an additional four areas: children and families, information sharing, justice, and wildlife stewardship.
This five-year agreement replaces the BC Tripartite Education Framework Agreement (TEFA) originally signed in 2012, and is the result of an extensive engagement process between FNESC, Canada and B.C. It will benefit all First Nations students in B.C. and 200 First Nations, supporting students who attend any one of the 131 on-reserve First Nations schools or those who attend public or off-reserve independent schools in B.C. The agreement outlines that the federal government will pay for the First Nation Student Transportation Fund, while the provincial government will allocate the fund to schools via special grants. The BC School Trustees Association will address transportation concerns, with “targeted funding” to be used to improve access to schools. Boards of education will be required to report on spending, and the process will be evaluated after two years.
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was established by the federal government in September 2016 to examine and report on systemic causes of violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls and their greater vulnerability to violence.
In honour of the women, girls and two-spirit peoples who have been stolen and those who have survived, B.C. is committed to learning from their stories, taking action and enacting change.
Aboriginal Service Plans
Public post-secondary institutions work with Indigenous communities and organizations to enhance the post-secondary educational experiences and outcomes of First Nations, Métis and Inuit learners.
This program is undergoing reconceptualization. Information will be provided as it is available.
Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships
The Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships Program supports partnerships between Indigenous communities and public post-secondary institutions to provide Indigenous peoples with post-secondary education and training in their communities.
Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund
The Ministry funds skills training programs for participants to obtain transferrable skills that respond to labour needs and/or priorities identified by Indigenous communities. The objective of the program is to support Indigenous participants along the employment continuum, into employment and/or self-employment, or to enter further post-secondary education.
BladeRunners provides life skills, job readiness skills, work experience/on-the-job training, job coaching and ongoing supports to unemployed youth at risk.