After 15 years of negotiating with the federal government, Cowichan Tribes members are voting on an education jurisdiction agreement and law-making protocol that, if passed, will return the inherent right to govern education to their community.
“This will allow us to create our own curriculum; meaning more culture, land-based learning and Indigenous ways of knowing,” said Stephanie Atleo, the First Nation’s education jurisdiction negotiator.
“Teaching our children has always been a part of our culture. The education jurisdiction agreement returns a key cultural piece to our community.”
Online and mail-in voting are now open for Cowichan Tribes members, living on and off reserve, with in-person voting to be held on Saturday, Jan. 8.
Having members approve the agreement and law-making protocol is the first step.
If approved, Cowichan Tribes will begin drafting laws outlining what on-reserve education will look like.
The community will then have an opportunity to review, provide input and approve these laws.
Cowichan Tribes is one of 13 First Nations in B.C. that has been negotiating with Ottawa to return education authority to their jurisdictions.