Cowichan Tribes are one step closer to choosing the curriculum taught to children within their on-reserve schools.
Tribes Members voted for the right in a vote on Saturday, which was only possible after 15 years of talks with the Canadian government. Cowichan Tribes are one of four First Nations in British Columbia that has accepted the agreement for how their new curriculums will be run. 13 total First Nations in BC had been negotiating with the Federal government since 2006.
74-percent of votes cast were in favour of having control of their curriculum.
Cowichan’s Educational Jurisdiction negotiator Stephanie Atleo says the next step is drafting laws to support the new system for on-reserve schools.
“Work will now begin on drafting education laws that will outline how we govern education for on-reserve schools. Once these are complete, community will then have an opportunity to review, provide input, and approve these laws,” says Atleo.
She says that this is an exciting step towards reclaiming their inherent right to educate their children.
The new curriculum will be in place for the next school year, but only after the agreement receives a final sign-off from the federal government.
“This is an exciting first step as we reclaim the inherent right to educate our children,” says Atleo. “This allows us to create our own curriculum – meaning more culture, land-based learning, and indigenous ways of knowing. Teaching our children has always been a part of our culture. The education jurisdiction agreement returns a key cultural piece to our community.”