NCCIE: Shining a Light on Education for Reconciliation
The mandate of the National Centre for Collaboration in Indigenous Education (NCCIE) is to support and encourage a strong national presence for collaboration and excellence in Indigenous education across the country.
The start-up phase of the NCCIE focuses on the collection of existing knowledge, best practices, and lessons learned that can be viewed and shared widely through a national lens. An online portal will serve as the gateway for educators across the country, as well as anyone interested in Indigenous education – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to collaborate and explore best practices and learn from each other.
Through this internet platform, the NCCIE aligns well with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action, directly correlating with recommendations for education (Calls 6-12) and language and culture (Calls 13-17). First, the NCCIE acknowledges the holistic nature of Indigenous education by 1) honouring the fact that Indigenous education occurs throughout life, including Early Childhood Learning, K-12, Post-Secondary, and community- and land-based learning, and 2) emphasizing the reality that education amongst Indigenous peoples occurs in all environments and is as old as the land, integrating language, culture, and traditional knowledge with history, science, medicine, life skills, the arts, law, living in balanced relationship with the land (sustainability), and more.
Second, the NCCIE website highlights best practices in each of these areas, providing insights and practical examples, responding to several Calls to Action. For example, vocational training programs for employment of Indigenous peoples will be highlighted, responding to Call 7. Student Support and Success Services that work to help students stay in school and graduate are also profiled, responding to Call Number 9. The principles found in Call to Action Number 10 already exist in numerous programs across the country, including effective strategies for “closing the gap” (Call 10.i.), improving completion and success rates (Call 10.ii.), providing culturally appropriate curricula and programming (Call 10.iii.), protecting and teaching Aboriginal languages (Call 10.iv. and 14.iii., 14.iv., and 14.v.), involving parents and community members in teaching their children (Call Numbers 10.v. and 10.vi.), and more. The NCCIE sheds light on the diverse array of successful programs already in existence and in need of support through the Calls for equitable funding and responsive legislation in the TRC.
The opportunity to learn from the First Peoples of Canada is great, and the NCCIE serves as a conduit for this journey. As articulated in the TRC Final Report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, “Too many Canadians still do not . . . understand that . . . we are all Treaty people.” What does it mean to be a Treaty person? How do we, as individuals, uphold and practice this nation-to-nation relationship? The NCCIE works to reconcile this gap in people’s education and explore these questions by providing a forum to share effective learning experiences for all ages, young and old, so that educators can incorporate applicable and culturally appropriate subject matter into their classrooms (both indoor and outdoor).
To support these endeavours, the NCCIE encourages direct communication among and between educators and practitioners. In its aim to further reconciliation objectives, the NCCIE website connects educators with each other so people can reach out, build relationships, and learn directly from one another, breaking down barriers and working to dissolve stereotypes.
The TRC Final Report observes, “For Canadians from all walks of life, reconciliation offers a new way of living together.” The NCCIE shines a light on education as a pathway to reconciliation for people of all ages, offering Canadians “from all walks of life . . . a new way of living together” to build lasting, respectful relationships today and for future generations.
 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015). Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: A Summary Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, page 9.
 Ibid., page 22.