Federal Government and AFN Education Agreement Reached

Grand Chief White of Treaty 3Prime Minister Harper with Minister Greg Rickford, Nishnawbe Aski Chief Harvey Yesno.
Grand Chief White of Treaty 3, Prime Minister Harper, Minister Greg Rickford, Nishnawbe Aski Chief Harvey Yesno.

Aboriginal Affairs Announcement on Education

STAND OFF, AB – Aboriginal – Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo are in Stand off Alberta today.  The two leaders are on the Kainai First Nation in Southern Alberta to announce a major agreement between the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) on Aboriginal education.

The Prime Minister said, “This is a great day for Canada, a great day for First Nations, and it is long overdue. “

Kainai Chief Weaselhead hosted the announcement and said that “We can not afford to lose another generation”.

The agreement is a $1.9billion dollar agreement.

Treaty Three Chief White, Prime Minister Harper and Minister Greg Rickford
Treaty Three Chief White, Prime Minister Harper and Minister Greg Rickford

“Today is about the beginning of a new era of fairness, opportunity and hope for First Nations children, youth and students,” said National Chief Atleo.  “Today is a victory for First Nations leaders and citizens who have for decades, indeed since the first generation of residential school survivors, called for First Nations control of First Nations education.  The approach we are announcing today embraces the essential and connected components of First Nations control of First Nations education founded on our rights, jurisdiction and Treaties; and secure, sustainable and fair funding that supports our students’ success and strengthens their languages and cultures. First Nations control of First Nations education as envisioned by our leaders and educators for many decades will enable and support the systems and standards necessary to ensure our children are nurtured to achieve their goals through full access to quality education.”

AFN National Chief Atleo speaking at Kainai First Nation.
AFN National Chief Atleo speaking at Kainai First Nation.

AFN Chief Atleo states, “This is a significant shift, and I believe it results from our strong direction from chiefs to take all steps necessary to secure the future of First Nations children.”

The Prime Minister stated, “Canada’s looming labour shortage is going to need the hundreds of thousands of young Aboriginal workers.” The Prime Minister said that that demands that the government and First Nations must work toward solutions and partnerships.

The Assembly of First Nations Chief Atleo stated “Investing in First Nations youth, the youngest and fastest growing population in the country, is an investment in our shared future because strong First Nations make a strong Canada. But today is not the culmination of our work, it is the beginning.  First Nations must decide on the approach that works for them to make First Nations control a reality.  Some are already moving, some are ready to move and others must engage with their citizens to chart the path forward.  This is not easy work but it is important work and it is essential work to strengthen our citizens and rebuild our nations.  We will seize this moment.  Now is our time”
This agreement puts First Nations Education, more in line with the demands from the AFN as agreed to at their Fall Assembly.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Valcourt states, “We are delivering big-time”.
The Prime Minister is an honorary Chief at the Blood Reserve in Standoff Alberta. The event was streamed live to surrounding communities and the overflow gymnasium at the school.
Minister Greg Rickford, from Kenora, the Minister responsible for Science and Technology and the Ring of Fire was on hand at the announcement. Minister Rickford has been very focused on education issues in Northern Ontario.

Quick Facts

  • Currently, there are no minimum legislated education standards that apply to on-reserve students, including the requirement that teachers are provincially certified, that parents and schools ensure minimum attendance requirements for students, and that education programs offer recognizable certificates or diplomas.
  • The Act will recognize First Nations control of First Nations education and establish much needed minimum standards in a way that aligns and supports First Nations approaches to education.
  • The Government of Canada will provide funding for transition, implementation and school infrastructure, and will ensure that funding is subject to a reasonable rate of annual growth.
  • Aboriginal peoples are the fastest growing demographic group in Canada.  Their full participation in Canada’s economy is critical to the future prosperity of the country.
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