TORONTO, June 21, 2011 /CNW/ - Provincial and territorial ministers of education are joining today with Canadians to celebrate National Aboriginal Day.

First established in 1996 by then Governor General Roméo LeBlanc, National Aboriginal Day honours the rich cultural heritage of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples and celebrates their important contribution to Canada's past, present, and future.

"National Aboriginal Day gives us the opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal peoples ― their history, their cultures, their values ― and in doing so, deepen our understanding of Canadian society," said Andrew Parkin, Director General of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).

In the context of National Aboriginal Day, ministers of education wish to underscore the importance of Aboriginal learning as a key priority for CMEC. Ministers of education are working collaboratively to eliminate the gap in academic achievement and graduation rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. They recognize that education is the key to growth and development among First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

In follow-up to the 2009 CMEC Summit on Aboriginal Education held in Saskatoon and recent collaborative work on the definition and collection of education data related to Aboriginal learners, CMEC will be hosting the Educators' Forum on Aboriginal Education, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from December 1 to 3, 2011.

The event will bring together a wide range of stakeholders in Aboriginal education ― from educators and academics to government officials and Aboriginal-organization representatives ― to talk about what works for Aboriginal learners in early-childhood education (ECE) and K-12 education. Using a case-study format, participants will examine programs, policies, and practices that have been shown to be effective in improving one or more aspects of Aboriginal ECE and/or K-12 education, including:

  • improved academic outcomes
  • increased community wellness
  • increased student well‐being, self‐confidence, identity, values, pride, personal development, or competence
  • positive link to employment
  • increased participation in the education system
  • active participation in community life

The forum will provide a unique opportunity for participants from across Canada to engage in face‐to‐face dialogue, exchange with their colleagues and peers, and build networks in the field of Aboriginal ECE and K-12 education.

More information about the forum can be found at

Aboriginal-education stakeholders who wish to submit a proposal for the forum may do so at

The deadline for submission of proposals is July 4, 2011.

About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the fulfillment of the constitutional jurisdiction for education conferred on the provinces and territories. For more information, visit us at

SOURCE Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

For further information:

Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-929-6970
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259

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Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

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