Shannen’s Dream takes a step forward in Attawapiskat

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Shannon's DreamATTAWAPISKAT – Shannen’s Dream takes a step forward in Attawapiskat, today a long awaited move toward a new school in the community is happening. The ground is being broken for the new elementary school.  MP Charlie Angus, enroute to Attawapiskat comments, “Its a beautiful day for flying up the James Bay coast. we are celebrating the breaking of ground for the new school in Attawapiskat. This is a day of hope”.

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn Atleo is congratulating the community of Attawapiskat as they celebrate today.  “We applaud the energy and determination to achieve this day.  We commend the leadership for their perseverance, the Koostachin family for their strength, and the youth of Attawapiskat for taking a leadership role on behalf of all First Nations students in Canada,” stated National Chief Atleo.

“Our kids deserve good schools and they deserve schooling in their communities nurturing and supporting their success with fair and stable funding, supported by strong First Nations systems, delivering a curriculum that respects our rights, our languages and identities and strengthens the fabric of our families and communities,” says National Chief Atleo. “Turning Shannen’s Koostachin Dream into the reality of safe and comfy schools right across the country is a mission that compels us all. The time is now for fairness, equity and justice for all First Nations children in Canada.”

First Nations schools are the only ones in the country that do not have a guaranteed funding base. They are funded under an obsolete formula developed over three decades ago.  This funding was further restricted when placed under a 2% cap in 1996, and does not include funding for technology, recreation, libraries, or languages.  The cost of delivering education continues to rise by more than 6% per year based on inflation and dramatic demographic increases.

In Budget 2012, Canada finally committed to explore new funding mechanisms for First Nations elementary and secondary education and invested $275M over three years to support First Nation education.  First Nations believe action is needed now to overcome unfairness and support the success of every First Nation child.

Based on a 2011 AFN survey of more than 450 First Nation communities:

  • 47% (or 219) First Nation communities indicated they need a new school
  • Of those 219 communities, 70% have been waiting more than 5 years for a new school.  13% have been waiting for than 20 years.
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