History of Kahnawake Education

Up until the mid-twentieth century, Kahnawà:ke’s education system was divided amongst Catholic and Protestant denominations. The Kateri Day School and United Church Indian Day School—in addition to off-reserve schools and post-secondary institutions—were overseen by the Indian Affairs District Superintendent of Education. After many years of inadequate funding and Indian Affairs bureaucracy, the two committees combined and established the first non-denominational school in Canada—offering religious studies, ethics, and traditional teachings.

The Joint Unification Agreement (JUA) of 1968 united all three factions of the community (Catholic, Protestant, and Longhouse) to work together for a common cause: to strengthen the services for their children’s education. The JUA established parental control and gave rise to the Kahnawà:ke Combined Schools Committee. To this day, the KCSC guides itself with the same sentiment that united the parents of 1968.

Nancy Deer“This group of passionate and powerful Kahnawà:ke parents should never be forgotten for their foresight and their dedication to the education of our children.”

Nancy Deer, KCSC Member 1975-1985, referring to the JUA founding members

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