THUNDER BAY – Aboriginal – As many of you are aware, Prime Minister Harper, Indian Affairs Minister Valcourt, and National Chief Atleo made a joint announcement on the First Nation Educations Act (FNEA) in Alberta today. At the Anishinabek Nation, our initial analysis of the announcement has not changed our position of the FNEA because we have yet to see any details of what was proposed today. When more details are made available to us we will provide leadership with a more detailed report.
Some highlights that were discussed:
- Joint development of First Nation Control over First Nation Education Act (FNCFNEA);
- Removal of INAC day-to-day oversight in favour of Council of Educational Professionals (provincial standards not First Nation standards remain);
- 2nd Level service structures but not one-size-fits-all;
- Inclusion of language and culture
- Removal of the 2% cap and replaced by 3yrs of funding at 4.5% increase per year – with funding ultimately included in the FNCFNEA
There were a lot of proposed developments today, specifically on First Nation control of the FNEA- but there was no comment on how this would be achieved. National Chief Atleo stated that today’s announcement reflects the national resolution on the FNEA that was passed in December, but again, we are not privy to how this will be achieved.
As part of today’s announcement, Minister Valcourt stated that First Nations were extensively consulted across the country (which is not true). In addition, Minister Valcourt stated that the FNEA will not inhibit First Nation self-governance, but compliment self-government agreements. It should be noted that we have yet to see the federal government negotiate fairly when it comes to funding the Anishinabek Education System.
Because of the lack of honesty and cooperation coming from the Government of Canada in recent months, we have no reason to accept today’s announcement on face value. Therefore, my recommendation is that we continue on course of fighting legislation and/or policies that impede our progress on real FN control over FN education. We remain focused on protecting our children’s inherent rights to fair and equitable education.
In the meantime, the Anishinabek Nation also continues to advocate for fair negotiations on our own education system.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The Union of Ontario Indians has developed an online poll to gather opinions about the proposed First Nations Education Act and help formulate a collective response to it. The survey also solicits input and support for the proposed Anishinabek Education System. We encourage all our citizens and their friends to participate in the survey at http://portal.anishinabek.ca/public/Patrick Wedaseh Madahbee Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief