AMC Education Directorate

The AMC Education Directorate is mandated to advance the overall vision and mission of the AMC in the Education of First Nations in Manitoba. The Directorate continues to promote, support and advocate for First Nations’ inherent and Treaty right in education. The objective is to increase funding for the education of First Nations and ensure that First Nations students have access to quality education.

Under the direction of the Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE), activities have included developing a regional education funding formula/model for K-12 and developing a post-secondary education (PSE) strategy. Following the regionalization of Special Education, Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) by ISC, AMC is now responsible for the regional management of these programs.

The AMC resolution of March 18.05, which reinstated the Education Directorate lays the foundation for this work.

To advance First Nations education, the Directorate collaborates with First Nations leadership and other stakeholders such as the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC), First Nations education directors, National Indian Education Council (NIEC), and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). Also, the Directorate continues to seek guidance from the Post Secondary Education Regional Table, the Post Secondary Education Partnership Program (PSPP) Selection Committee and the Regional Education Agreement (REA) Negotiation Technical Support Team in the development of strategies in a range of issues related to education and for transformative changes across First Nations education.

Program Initiatives/Services/Activities

  1. Research and Learning Innovation Program: The AMC has launched land-based learning initiatives and First Nations language research gatherings to reclaim the history and culture of the Anishinaabe, Nehetho/Ininew, Denesuline, Anishininew, and Dakota Oyate peoples. Through presentations, traditional games, storytelling, cultural teachings, Sweat Lodge teachings, and ceremonies, our aim is to enhance awareness of their Traditional Knowledge and reclamation of  our diverse and rich cultures. Working in partnership with these initiatives, the Education Directorate provides support and advocacy at every stage to craft a strategic and interactive learning approach tailored for First Nations learners. Conducted in various locations, these  gatherings contribute significantly to the ongoing process of cultural revitalization.
  2. Post-Secondary Education Engagement: The government of Canada provided three-year funding, which ended in 2021/2022, to develop the First Nations Post-Secondary Education funding model. The Chiefs Committee on Education and independent consultants conducted  research and analysis to establish the necessary financial resources for post-secondary students and create a First Nations post-secondary institution. The resulting recommendations called for the federal government to provide better support for First Nations post-secondary education, including equitable and sustainable funding. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Education Directorate plans to continue advocating for this funding to become permanent.
  3. Post-Secondary Partnerships Program: In 2020, ISC designated the AMC as the regional organization for administering Post-Secondary Partnerships Program funds. The Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE) established a Selection Committee to implement the program, and the Directorate successfully managed funding of $2,228,904.76 for the 2022/2023 fiscal year. This amount was less than in previous years as it did not include COVID-19 funding. A call for proposals resulted in 28 submissions totalling $10,770,180.55, of which 13 projects were reviewed, approved, and distributed in line with the Chiefs Committee on Education’s recommendations.
  4. Education Partnership Program – Structural Readiness: The Education Directorate administers the Education Partnership Program – Structural Readiness funding to qualifying AMC-member First Nations. The regional amount provided for 2023/2024 is $4,327,992.65. The Directorate received 20 Structural Readiness proposals, indicating the continued need for increased financial resources in various areas of First Nations education.
  5. Manitoba First Nations Regional Education Agreement: The AMC Technical Task Team has developed the
    Manitoba First Nations Regional Education Agreement, now renamed the Regional Funding Model. This includes policy changes and funding adaptations to meet the true educational needs of First Nations for elementary and secondary education. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is awaiting committed funding from Indigenous Services Canada for the 2023/2023 fiscal year to develop the agreement and support negotiations further. Assistance from Waapihk Research has been commissioned to conduct in-depth research on educational needs, aiming to increase federal funding. The agreement seeks to ensure adequate and predictable funding for First Nations in Manitoba, both in the north and south regions, to achieve the standards of education that their learners deserve.

Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE)

The Directorate facilitates monthly meetings for the CCOE, whose mandate is to provide oversight in developing a renewed approach in First Nations education. Kindergarten through grade 12, adult education, and post-secondary education are included. The CCOE continues to work to outline paths that ensure better systems are in place for First Nations learners. They coordinate with other
First Nations leadership to assert First Nations’ positions in Canada. In doing this, the Education Directorate provides technical services and support in the various options developed.

2022 Membership of the CCOE includes the following:

  • Chief Derrick Henderson, Sagkeeng First Nation, Chair
  • Chief Glenn Hudson, Peguis First Nation -Independent;
  • Chief David Manias, Pimicikamak Cree Nation – Independent;
  • Chief Wayne Desjarlais, Ebb & Flow First Nation – Independent;
  • Chief Craig Alexander, Roseau River Anishinaabe First Nation;
  • Chief Clarence Easter, Chemawawin Cree Nation;
  • Chief Vera Mitchell, Poplar River First Nation
  • Chief David Crate, Fisher River Cree Nation;
  • Chief Trevor Prince, Sandy Bay First Nation;
  • Chief Murray Clearsky, Waywayseecappo First Nation;
  • Chief Larson Anderson, Norway House Cree Nation

The CCOE builds upon, maintains and affirms First Nation rights as peoples to exercise and practice self-determination and self-government; it protects the integrity and authority of each First Nation’s
customs, laws, and practices; promotes, preserves, and protects Aboriginal and Treaty rights in Manitoba; it preserves and enhances the rights and freedoms of First Nations in Manitoba. The objectives are to provide leadership and advocacy for change in education policy and legislation affecting First Nations citizens in Manitoba.

The Directorate holds monthly meetings with First Nations education directors and post-secondary counsellors. During these meetings, ideas to improve education and the overall social and economic conditions of First Nations are discussed. These meetings also serve as information sessions to inform First Nations about funding opportunities from the federal government. They encourage engagement with First Nations and ensure they are included in ongoing policy formulation and implementation processes.

About Education for First Nations in Manitoba

Manitoba First Nations have an inherent and Treaty right to education. This right has been
undermined by years of underfunding by Canada. Inadequate support for First Nations education limits the ability of First Nation citizens to gain meaningful employment and economic participation, and fundamentally undermines the efforts of First Nations to restore traditional cultures and languages. Inadequate K-12 education has meant fewer First Nations have been able to attend post-secondary, and many Nations have a waiting list for funding for those who do qualify. The lack of access to post-secondary training also means many Nations have difficulty recruiting skilled workers.
Investment in First Nations education will create opportunities for First Nations citizens, families, and communities.

To elicit change for First Nations education in Manitoba, the AMC is working to reassert First Nations jurisdiction over education. At advance the stated goal of First Nations obtaining complete autonomy over how they run their schools, the AMC is negotiating a Regional Education Agreement (REA) with the federal government. The end result of negotiations should lead to an equitable funding allocation
model for First Nations K-12 schools based on realistic cost drivers. Post-secondary education is also very essential for economic independence and cultural restoration. Under direction from the Chiefs
Committee on Education (CCOE), AMC was designated the First Nations organization responsible for the adjudication and administration of Post-Secondary Partnership Program (PSPP) funding. The PSPP supports First Nations-established post-secondary institutions and First Nations-directed
community-based programming. The AMC works with First Nations leaders to distribute funds in an equitable manner.

The REA is under negotiation. When agreed to, a better understanding of needed K-12 funding for Manitoba First Nations schools will be available. Further research is needed to estimate funding needed to establish First Nations PostSecondary Institutes in Manitoba.

Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC)

The Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre Inc. (MFNERC) was established in 1998.  The AMC established the MFNERC through a resolution to provide coordinated second and third-level education services to Manitoba’s First Nations schools. It provides services and support to 58 First Nations schools in 49 Manitoba First Nations.

The MFNERC provides the province’s leading education, administration, technology, language, and cultural services to First Nations schools in Manitoba.  As mandated by the Chiefs-In-Assembly, the MFNERC is also working on the development of the Manitoba First Nations School System, which is a First Nations-led strategy for a culturally relevant, high-quality education system.

Over the years, MFNERC has evolved from its humble beginnings, providing service on demand with a handful of employees, into a multifaceted organization that meets the needs of Manitoba’s First Nations schools with various services and support.

Respecting the diversity of Manitoba’s First Nations is an essential facet of the Centre’s ability to support the schools in our communities. Best practices informed by academic research and extensive experience working with First Nations are promoted through the various departments, using a service delivery team approach.

Professional development training is provided for school board members, administrators, teachers and teaching assistants. MFNERC works in partnership with Manitoba First Nations to ensure the highest educational standards are achieved in First Nations schools.

MFNERC promotes and encourages First Nations involvement in all aspects of developing and implementing educational change.

To view the MFNERC Annual Report, visit