The NEC Native Education College (formerly Native Education Center) in Vancouver opened it’s doors in 1967 and is British Columbia’s largest private Aboriginal college. The NEC is governed by the NEC Native Education Society, a non-profit charitable organization that assumed governance of the institution in 1979. NEC provides an avenue for culturally responsive post-secondary education for Aboriginal students grounded in it’s physical setting as well as it’s philosophical underpinnings. in 1988/89, Dr. Celia Haig-Brown, currently faculty of York University, conducted fieldwork towards a critical ethnography of the institution to identify the meanings and processes of First Nations control of First Nations education. The published ethnography, Taking Control: Power and Contradiction in First Nations Adult Education (UBC Press) is a thorough read and I recommend it to any person with an interest in First Nations’ educational issues.
The Myaamia Project, started in 2001, is an exemplary model of tribally controlled education supporting Myaamia cultural and language revitalization. The project has developed as a mutually beneficial partnership between Miami University and Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. In-depth research conducted at the university supports a wide range of Miami community language and cultural initiatives, benefiting every Miami tribal member who has an interest in Myaamia language and culture. Meanwhile, undergraduate and graduate students gain a wide range of experiences through direct involvement with the planning, development, delivery and follow-up of research projects. Most, if not all, of the developed materials are freely available to anybody who would like to use them (See the recently developed Earth & Sky Curriculum for an example); and anybody who wishes to contribute is welcome to join the project.
Located on the Adams Lake Band reseve in the Sepwepemc Nation, BC, Chief Atahm School is a parent-run language immersion school and educational program. The program began in 1987 as a language nest modeled in the Maori style of “Te Kohanga Reo” by a group of parents hoping to stem the loss of the Sepwepemc language. Since that time, their program has grown into an internationally celebrated example of successful tribally controlled education. Their Vision Statement reflects a deep respect for the values and traditions of the Sepwepemc.
The school provides full immersion from nursery through grade three, partial immersion for grades four through nine, and adult language courses. As the success of their program has become evident through the students that progress through the school and the revitalization of the Sepwepemc language, they also provide yearly Teacher Training institutes and adaptable curriculum development tools. Building on a tradition of continuing refinement of their programming, Chief Atahm School holds an annual language conference that is well attended by language activists, teachers, and enthusiasts.