THUNDER BAY – ABORIGINAL – First Nations in Ontario are eager to participate in the May 27 Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa. The Assembly gathers the 600 plus First Nations leaders from across the country who will dedicate themselves to the formation of a national position on the controversial federal Bill C-33.
The Bill has been erroneously named the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act. An independent legal analysis of the Bill has determined that a more appropriate name would be the Federal Control of First Nations Education Act.
“We know there is much opposition to Bill C-33 across the country and there is much concern about funding levels for First Nations education however, the Confederacy of Nations Coordinating Committee and Working Group has developed a viable alternative that will satisfy both our quest for control over education and increased funding levels,” said Grand Chief Gordon Peters who holds the Chiefs of Ontario Education Portfolio. “I am confident this alternative proposal will facilitate a national position to move in a unified direction to launch a new set of negotiations that ensure First Nations are part of the solution from the outset.”
Although the media now seems focussed on the election of a new National Chief, the First Nations of Ontario assert that Bill C-33 is of paramount importance at this time and must be dealt with immediately.
“This is a pivotal moment for the movement of leadership of Canada to move beyond section 91(24) Indian Act mentality,” Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy said. “This way of thinking has resulted in repeated assaults and infringement on our inherent and Treaty rights to education.”