Indigenous Education Protocol
Sub Menu

Main Content

Frequently Asked Questions

CICan explains the development process of the Indigenous Education Protocol, how it will be launched, and the role of colleges and institutes.

1. How was the Indigenous Education Protocol developed?

  • The Indigenous Education Protocol was developed by the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Indigenous Education Committee, comprising the following college and institute representatives:
    • Ken Tourand – Committee Chair, President, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
    • Angela Acott-Smith, Associate Vice-President, Student Development, New Brunswick Community College
    • Karen Barnes, President, Yukon College
    • Paula Burns, President & CEO, Lethbridge College
    • Eric Corneau, Nunatta Campus Dean, Nunavut Arctic College
    • Kim Fraser-Saddleback, Vice-President Academics & Student Services, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies
    • Diane Gauvin, Dean, Social Science and Business Technologies, Dawson College
    • Carolyn Hepburn, Director, Native Education, Sault College
    • Wayne Poirier, Vice-President, Student Services, Mohawk College
    • Larry Rosia, President & CEO, Saskatchewan Polytechnic
    • Brenda Small, Vice-President, Centre for Policy in Aboriginal Learning, Confederation College
    • Laureen Styles, Vice President, Academic, Justice Institute of British Columbia
    • Kory Wilson, Director, Aboriginal Education & Services, Vancouver Community College
  • The Committee led consultations on how the Protocol should be developed and what should be included in the Protocol. These consultations took place at two CICan annual conferences (2013 and 2014), and at the Serving Indigenous Learners and Communities Symposium in December 2013.
  • A draft of the Protocol was also shared with national Indigenous organizations: the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and Inuit Tapiirit Kanatami
  • The CICan Board of Directors approved the Indigenous Education Protocol on September 26,  2014.
  • CICan has developed the Indigenous Education Protocol for Colleges and Institutes to support members’ commitment to improving and better serving Indigenous education. The spirit of the Protocol is to support colleges’ and institutes’ commitment to Indigenous education and provide a vision of how they can strive to improve and better serve Indigenous peoples.

2. How will the Protocol be promoted?

  • CICan members are invited to participate in the signature ceremony at the Symposium.
  • After the official launch, The Protocol will be available on the CICan website, along with the number and list of signatories.
  • The Protocol will be shared with national Indigenous organizations and they will be invited to participate in the launch.

3. What is the timeline for signing the Protocol if my college/institute does not sign at the time of the launch?

Member institutions are encouraged to sign the Protocol however there is no set timeline.

4. What if our college/institute does not have all the structures, policies and programs in place for all seven principles?

  • The intent of the protocol is to be aspirational.
  • Member institutions must assess their level of comfort with the principles and their commitment to serving Indigenous learners and communities. There is no requirement that all structures, policies and programs be in place upon signature.
  • For colleges and institutes that may not be in a position to endorse and sign the Protocol at the time of the launch, CICan will facilitate the sharing of exemplary practices by structuring future CICan Indigenous symposia and streams at the CICan annual conference according to the seven principles of the Protocol.

5. For the seventh principle, what does it mean to “be accountable to Indigenous communities in support of self-determination”?

For the seventh principle, what does it mean to “be accountable to Indigenous communities in support of self-determination”?

This is meant to reflect the strong relationships colleges and institutes have with all the communities they serve, and their role in supporting social and economic development. When institutions design and deliver community-based programming, they are being responsive and accountable to the needs of communities. The companion document, Approaches and Exemplary Practices to Guide Implementation, provides examples of how colleges and institutes can support self-determination of Indigenous communities including:

  • Formalize college and institute partnerships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, Indigenous institutes of higher learning and Indigenous organizations such as Friendship Centres and Métis Community Councils, recognizing the equal partnership status.
  • Identify community needs in an open and genuine consultative approach including:
    • how the community wants to work with the college/institute;
    • the content of the education and training programs; and
    • delivery approaches and locations.
  • Ensure college/institute partnerships with Indigenous communities are responsive to economic development and labour market needs by:
    • Fostering opportunities for community-college-industry engagement and joint projects; and
    • Supporting entrepreneurship and business development in Indigenous communities.
  • Develop and share curriculum on governance of Indigenous communities and build a deeper knowledge, understanding and appreciation around self-governance and self-determination.
  • Support Indigenous community sustainability by offering programs in their communities that address industry and environmental concerns.

The right to self-determination is articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Articles 3, 4 and 5 as follows:

Article 3
Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

Article 4
Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

Article 5
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.1

1 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. October 2, 2007. Pg. 4.

6. What is the purpose of the document entitled “Approaches and Exemplary Practices to Guide Implementation”? Is it required that an institution have all these practices and approaches in place to sign on to the Protocol?

  • The exemplary practices are only suggestions and new exemplary practices will be added through workshops and sessions at the CICan Serving Indigenous Learners and Communities Symposium and annual conferences. For this reason, this is considered a living document that will be updated annually.
  • The purpose of this document is to provide examples of how colleges and institutes can apply the principles at their institutions. The intent of the Protocol is to be aspirational. In recognition that colleges and institutes are organized and structured differently to meet the needs of Indigenous learners and communities, there is no requirement that institutions have all these practices in place in order to sign the Protocol.

7. What is the purpose of the Institutional Partnerships Signature page? Are colleges and institutes required to have Indigenous partners co-sign?

  • It was recommended during consultations with CICan members that an Institutional Partnerships Signature page be included should institutions’ Indigenous community partners wish to co-sign the Protocol. There is no obligation to have Indigenous partners sign the Protocol. However, should be encouraged where possible as an act that can build or maintain positive relationships with Indigenous partners.
  • Colleges and institutes are encouraged to hold public signing ceremonies where local Indigenous partners and communities are invited to participate. CICan would appreciate receiving copies of photos of public signing ceremonies that could be featured on the CICan website.