About Us

First Nations Education Authority

The First Nations Education Authority (FNEA), which became operational on July 1, 2022, is a regulatory body that assists Participating First Nations (PFNs) in developing the capacity to provide K-12 education on First Nation land.

FNEA’s Mandate

FNEA’s mandate is to support Participating First Nations exercise jurisdiction over their education systems. It is also the Participating First Nations who appoint the directors who oversee FNEA.

Key areas of jurisdiction have been collaboratively developed by First Nations, which will be jointly exercised and regulated by PFNs through FNEA. These areas are:

  • Certification and regulation of teachers
  • Certification of schools operated by, or on behalf of, the First Nation
  • Graduation requirements, and the granting of graduation certificates
  • Approval of courses required for graduation from a PFN school

Participating First Nations

As of July 1, 2023, seven PFNs have signed education jurisdiction agreements with Canada. Other First Nations have expressed interest and the number of PFNs will likely increase in years to come:

FNEA Executive

President: Vacant
Vice-President: Yvonne Wallace
Secretary – Treasurer: Karen Smith

FNEA Board of Directors

The FNEA Board consists of directors appointed by the Participating First Nations (PFNs). Each PFN appoints two directors to the Board, one of whom must be a member of the First Nation.

Participating First Nation Director
?aq’am Karen Smith
Sancira Williams-Jimmy
Cowichan Tribes Lydia Hwitsum
Stuart Pagaduan
Ditidaht First Nation Anne Jackart
Judi Thomas
Lil’wat Nation Verna Stager
Yvonne Wallace
Seabird Island Edie Karacsonyi
Barbara White
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Directors to be appointed
Tsq’escen’ First Nation (Canim Lake) Mary Anne Archie
Michelle Archie

About the Education Jurisdiction Initiative

The education jurisdiction initiative refers to the collective work amongst First Nations in BC, the First Nations Education Authority (FNEA), the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), Canada, and BC to support First Nations’ exercise of law-making authority (jurisdiction) over their education on First Nations land.

The jurisdiction initiative involves the creation of processes and mechanisms, through legislation and a suite of agreements, that enable the exercise of jurisdiction over education.

The key foundation for the jurisdiction initiative is the Canada – First Nation Education Jurisdiction Agreement, which is a sectoral self-government agreement between individual Participating First Nations (PFNs) and Canada.


First Nations in BC have been working to have jurisdiction over their education recognized by Canada and BC for over two decades. The first milestone was reached when Canada, BC, and the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2003.

A number of agreements have been signed over the years, along with the passing of federal and provincial enabling legislation.

In May 2022, Canada and four First Nations signed individual Canada-First Nation Education Jurisdiction Agreements. These agreements came into effect on July 1, 2022 and the four First Nations officially became Participating First Nations:

  • ?aq’am
  • Lil’wat Nation
  • Seabird Island
  • Cowichan Tribes

On July 1, 2022, the First Nations Education Authority (FNEA) became formally operational, as a body with regulatory functions, to assist Participating First Nations (PFNs) in developing the capacity to provide education on First Nation land.

On July 1, 2023, three more First Nations signed individual Canada – First Nation Education Jurisdiction Agreements and became Participating First Nations:

  • Tsq’escen’ First Nation (Canim Lake)
  • Ditidaht First Nation
  • Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation)

Media/News Releases

Video: First Nations Jurisdiction Over Education – BC Public Service

First Nations Education Jurisdiction Celebration at Seabird Island, July 2022