The CMEC Summit on Aboriginal Education took place on February 24–25, 2009, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It was well attended, with over 200 participants, including leaders from over 40 national and regional Aboriginal organizations. In addition to provincial and territorial ministers of education, several ministers of Aboriginal affairs were also present. The federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians sent a personal message to summit participants.

The summary report documents and summarizes the summit's key findings. It suggests possibilities for future collaboration and joint action. Through a review of the sentiments expressed at the summit by Elders, the past and present Chairs of CMEC, ministers, and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit leaders, and through reflection on CMEC's vision as outlined in Learn Canada 2020, this report anticipates ways by which our education systems might be strengthened to benefit Aboriginal learners.

Eight themes were identified as opportunities to work together, strengthened by collective action:

  1. strengthening Aboriginal language and culture;

  3. enhancing equity in funding;

  5. increasing access, retention, and graduation (postsecondary education and adult learning);

  7. sharing responsibility and accountability;

  9. planning for transitions: seamless systems for learners;

  11. reporting and benchmarking success: data;

  13. providing programs and services; and

  15. engaging all partners in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit education.


It is anticipated that moving forward on these collective priorities will effect positive change and outcomes in education for Aboriginal peoples. All participants recognized the importance of the federal government's being part of the discussion on issues and of solutions.

Although the summit was but a single step in the journey toward educational improvements, it signalled a new era of pan-Canadian partnership and strengthened existing partnerships in provinces and territories. In closing the summit, members of CMEC affirmed that many of the key themes identified at the summit would continue to guide the priorities of CMEC.

A summary report of the summit, entitled CMEC Summit on Aboriginal Education: Strengthening Aboriginal Success — Summary Report, is available on-line.