THOMPSON MB – Chiefs from across the province are gathering in Thompson for a Chiefs Assembly on First Nations education. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) regularly organizes Assemblies to provide a space for First Nations leadership to share information and make decisions on topics important to the Nations.
“Since 1996 there has been a two percent funding cap on First Nations education. Our leaders have been working to make advances in this area for decades and this year we hope to see substantial progress in First Nations education,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas. “Education helps us to build pride in ourselves and our Nations. It is our Treaty right and it is also one of my priorities in my role as Grand Chief.”
In 2016 the federal government committed $2.6 billion over five years to increase funding for First Nation education. Unfortunately, this number did not consider the realities that First Nations in Manitoba face due to their size, location, level of isolation, and socio-economic factors. Smaller, northern, and isolated First Nations require more funding to operate their schools.
Seven of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission focus on education. One of those seven calls to action is for “the federal government to eliminate the discrepancy in federal education funding for First Nations children being educated on reserves and those First Nations children being educated off reserve.”
The Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre has been helping the AMC and First Nations leadership analyze funding requirements for First Nation schools to show the true cost of meeting the educational needs of First Nations in Manitoba.
“Our children and youth deserve so much more than what they have been receiving,” stated Grand Chief Dumas. “Too many children and teens are required to leave their First Nations to access education while some must attend schools in portables. Many of our children don’t have access to education that promotes our languages and cultures.”
Chiefs at the Assembly will receive updates on the work of the AMC’s Chiefs Committee on Education. The Committee has been developing a Made-in-Manitoba regional funding formula and agreement. The AMC asserts that any education funding formula must include dollars for language and culture and other unique First Nations costs, such as increased levels of resources for transportation and Private Home Placement.
The Assembly takes place at the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre in Thompson on October 23 and 24. AMC’s Youtube channel.
Presenters at the Assembly include the AMC’s Grand Chief Dumas; Manitoba Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Kevin Hart; Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Garrison Settee; Sapotaweyak Cree Nation Chief Nelson Genaille; Peguis First Nation Chief Glenn Hudson; and Chemawawin Cree Nation Chief Clarence Easter.