Indigenous education is built on the values and practices informed by Indigenous cultures, languages and histories. It is a dynamic lifelong process that encompasses formal and informal learning. It includes experiential and land-based learning, early childhood education, elementary and secondary school, post-secondary education and professional training. Indigenous education includes the emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual dimensions of learning. The primary role of Indigenous education is to transmit Indigenous ways of being while providing support and resources that allow students to reach their full potential as healthy, creative members of their communities.
In the 2011 census, Statistics Canada reported over 700,000 Indigenous women in Canada. Indigenous women and youth made up 44% of the Indigenous female population.1 Indigenous girls are more likely to attend underfunded schools that lack basic infrastructure, culturally appropriate resources and family services. They are more likely required to leave their families and communities to attend school. Indigenous women and girls have the most to lose by being denied their basic right to education. They face greater risks of poverty, poor health and unemployment compared to any other demographic with similar levels of education.
According to UNICEF report The State of the World’s Children 2004, education has a wide range of benefits for society.2