First Nation Education Steering Committee (FNESC)

Monty Palmantier, Education Director, is a board member on behalf of Lake Babine Nation at this provincial level of Aboriginal Education in the province of British Columbia.

Education Jurisdiction

Lake Babine Nation has been participating in the provincial First Nation Jurisdiction process as an Interested First Nation.At this point, we are determining the benefits of going into the next round of jurisdiction negotiations as a Negotiating First Nation (NFN). Councillor Louise Lacerte and Monty Palmantier, Education Director, have been attending Jurisdiction meetings on behalf of Lake Babine Nation.

Highlights of First Nations Education Jurisdiction:

The right of First Nations parents and communities to make decisions about the education of their children on First Nations lands was affirmed as the First Nations Education Act received Royal Assent in the BC Legislature on November 29, 2007. The Act formalizes the commitment of the Provincial government to recognize the jurisdiction of First Nations over kindergarten to grade 12 on reserve.

“The passing of this act is an acknowledgement of our First Nations capacity and authority around education and it will bring us more opportunities to bring language and culture into the curriculum,” says Greg Louie, President of the First Nation Schools Association. Changes in the education system of the participating First Nations will lead to improved success, better grade to grade transitions and increased graduation rates.
Since 1999, the First Nations in British Columbia, coordinated by the First Nations Education Steering Committee, have been working with the provincial and federal governments to negotiate First Nations education jurisdiction. Federal enabling legislation was passed by Parliament in December of 2006 and came into effect November 22, 2007.

A Negotiating First Nation is any First Nation that has signed its own Canada-First Nation Education Jurisdiction Agreement with Canada and signed onto the BC First Nation Education Agreement. A Participating First Nation will be able to:

  • make and administer laws;
  • act through its First Nation Council in carrying out its education related duties, functions and obligations;
  • establish a Community Education Authority; and
  • designate a First Nation Language Authority.

First Nation Councils will be able to:

  • exercise the capacity, rights, powers and privileges of the Participating First Nation in relation to education; and
  • Make laws in accordance with the First Nation Law Making Protocol.

The Participating First Nations and, in some cases, the First Nation Education Authority will have the jurisdiction to issue:

  • First Nations graduation certificates

A Community Education Authority will perform the duties and be subject to the liabilities imposed on it by the First Nation Education Law.

The First Nation Education Authority, which will be made up of representatives from Community Education Authorities around the province, is an entity that will be established by federal statute to provide education services to Participating First Nations. The First Nation Education Authority will have the powers to:

  • Certify teachers to teach in Participating First Nation schools through a process that establishes standards that will, at a minimum, be comparable to applicable BC standards;
  • Certify schools operated by Participating First Nations; and
  • Establish education standards.