The concept of charting our own path forward in education is not new. This concept guides all of the work undertaken by the Education Sector at the Chiefs of Ontario. In 2012 the Chiefs in Assembly called for the development of recommendations on systems and funding for First Nation education in Ontario. The work that is being undertaken to accomplish this vital task has appropriately been titled the Charting Our Own Path Forward (COOPF) initiative.
The COOPF document is not a policy or legislating document. It is a means to capture ideas, concepts, options, and tools from collective participation of First Nation education leaders in Ontario. This document is “living”, growing and evolving and provides direction to the task of mapping out the steps to attaining our vision for First Nation education in Ontario. The Charting Our Own Path Forward initiative embraces the holistic concept of lifelong learning.
This document is informed by all previous work done by the COO Education Sector and more specifically the First Nations Education Coordination Unit (FNECU). The work to date includes various focus group sessions, education gatherings and surveys. This document is in no way intended to replace or detract from any self-government negotiations in progress or other agreements in place. Representatives from the self-government negotiations for education have participated freely in many of the discussions and their input has be duly considered and noted where applicable.
There is a common understanding that a First Nations education system in Ontario will evolve as we continue to support one another in our efforts to express our jurisdiction over education, whatever form that may take. Thus, the Charting Our Own Path Forward initiative will continue to evolve as we streamline and refine our collective work into the future.
Vision – First Nations education in Ontario
As First Nations people, our lifelong learning system is embedded in our language, ways of being, ceremonies and connections to the land. We are united, obligated and committed to assert our inherent jurisdiction over the education of our people, ensuring the empowerment and success of future generations, grounded in the knowledge of our ancestors.