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About us

Who are the Indigenous Peoples of the World?

WINHEC, the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium was launched with the signing of the Declaration on Indigenous People’s Higher Education by the members of the Executive Board at Delta Lodge, Kananaskis Calgary in Alberta Canada during the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) 4-10 August 2002.

The founding state/country members present were Australia, the states of Hawai’i and Alaska and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium of the United States, Canada, the Wānanga of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Sápmi (North Norway).

The Indigenous peoples of the world according to the United Nations Organisation number about 370 million. They live in about 90 different countries. According to common understandings they had lived in a country long before people of different ethnic origins, cultures and languages had arrived. The new arrivals dominated the country including the native people according to the United Nations in nearly every location. It is understood that the Indigenous peoples as a consequence are the most impoverished people in the world. This situation has given rise to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

WINHEC has focussed its attention on alleviating the difficulties which confront the Indigenous peoples and it chooses to do this through their collective academic skills via the medium of education.

Our vision

We gather as Indigenous Peoples of our respective nations recognizing and reaffirming the educational rights of all Indigenous Peoples.

We share the vision of all Indigenous Peoples of the world united in the collective synergy of self-determination through control of higher education.

Committed to building partnerships that restore and retain Indigenous spirituality, cultures and languages, homelands, social systems, economic systems and self-determination.”

WINHEC founding document, Kananaskis Calgary, Canada

Our mission

Provide a forum and support for Indigenous peoples to pursue common goals through higher education.


The WINHEC Constitution which was ratified at the 2021 AGM can be found below.

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A brochure from the 2014 AGM describing the history of the organization.

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Our goals

The purpose of WINHEC is to provide an international forum and support for Indigenous Peoples to pursue common goals through Indigenous education, including but not limited to:

  1. Accelerating the articulation of Indigenous epistemologies (ways of knowing, education, philosophy, and research);
  2. Protecting and enhancing Indigenous spiritual beliefs, culture and languages through Indigenous education;
  3. Advancing the social, economic, and political status of Indigenous Peoples that contribute to the well-being of Indigenous communities through higher education;
  4. Creating an accreditation body for Indigenous education initiatives and systems that identify common criteria, practices and principles by which Indigenous Peoples live;
  5. Recognizing the significance of Indigenous education;
  6. Creating a global network for sharing knowledge through exchange forums and state of the art technology;
  7. Recognizing the educational rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  8. Protecting, preserving and advocating Indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights, in particular the reaffirming and observance of the Mataatua Declaration on Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples (June, 1993); and
  9. Promoting the maintenance, retention and advancement of traditional Indigenous bodies of knowledge.

Guiding Principles for WINHEC Accreditation Authority
Adopted by WINHEC Executive Board on Nov. 10, 2002

 World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium

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