Deep concern at the First Nations Education Council

Media sources are reporting that Prime Minister Martin is to announce, on November 25, 2005, that his government intends spending at least a billion dollars on improving the quality of life
of Aboriginal peoples.
Part of this spending is supposed to be earmarked for education, especially for training elementary school teachers on reserves and keeping them in place.
While we recognize that this investment in education is indeed of the utmost urgency, the FNEC authorities are deeply concerned that these sums of money should be used to modify teaching programs to bring them in line with provincial norms, with the full collaboration of provincial authorities.
We feel it is important to reiterate that the federal government itself is currently responsible for developing First Nations education policy. Rather than finally allowing First Nations themselves to develop those policies that directly concern them, the federal government seems to have decided to transfer this responsibility to the provinces. For the FNEC, this is a serious infringement of the inherent right of First Nations to exercise full control
over their education.
According to those media sources quoted above, Tanis Fiss, the spokesperson for the Canadian Taxpayers’ Association, has stated: “Money isn’t the issue. On a per-pupil basis, the federal government is spending more on native education than provinces are spending on public education…”
Statements like this are based on a purely superficial analysis of the situation and do not take into account the communities’ political and sociological contexts. The structures that support First Nations school systems are completely different from provincial structures.
According to Mr Ghislain Picard, Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, if an agreement were indeed to take place and be confirmed between the Canadian and the Quebec governments, resulting in a federal-provincial transfer of funding intended for First Nations, this would be tantamount to an unloading operation by the federal government in favour of the provincial governments. It would, therefore, leave the door wide open for provincial mismanagement in Aboriginal matters.
According to Ms. Lise Bastien, FNEC director, such an operation would mean that all funds earmarked for First Nations institutions and communities’ educational services would be swallowed up in the provincial educational apparatus, with absolutely no guarantee of a fair redistribution for First Nations communities’ services and schools.
In addition, Ms. Bastien stated that more than thirty years after Indian Control Over Education, First Nations had every right to denounce the fact that the conditions set out have yet to be achieved and First Nations are still not able to develop their own education systems. Such a transfer would represent yet another obstacle to First Nations organizations and communities in developing and setting up their own systems. It would also demonstrate a
profound disregard and total lack of recognition for all the work carried out by First Nations in education.
Ms. Bastien and Mr. Picard report that First Nations communities and their representative organizations are absolutely determined to oppose federal-provincial transfers in First Nations education, inasmuch as we are not involved in the whole procedure on which this approach is based.
The AFNQL and the FNEC agree that changes need to be made to the current system, imposed by the federal government. It is undoubtedly the case, however, that the whole system needs to be completely overhauled and this must be done by First Nations themselves, in accordance with their fundamental rights.


One Reply to “Deep concern at the First Nations Education Council”

  1. Anin kin/ tansai/oski/kwe/boujour/hi

    Re: Education development

    I am a member of the Peepeekisis education committee working on an efective school policy to benefit the interests,needs, wants of the developing First Nation student. I had bee a Youth Governance worker last year felt band politics interfered on weekly basis as councilors selfishly feared their lost of social control of the status quo. Our reserve has 50 percent plus unemployment so the 10 percent with control of band monies fear lost of control of the social and economic oppurtunities. Listening to the youth they were aware the adults in power used character assination and kickbacks to control the lives on reserves. he next generation are far insightful and healthier than our generation so we need to ensure fair and equal access to opportunity to better improve their social and economic goals in life.

    Sad fact I had also written several business proposals to help guide several adult band mambers towards a meaningful livelihood never was paid. I wrote three publicworks project briefs approved for development also never paid for my services. I am a humble artist work on 2D artwork of historical parody as my last effort to contribute a healthy story. I forgive the many adults who did not pay me for they never taught the importance of integrity and trust to build on plans and projects to build better infrastructures to earn livelihoods in their residential school education experiences. Theory: A social scar been massive ‘Stockholm syndrome’ by the residential school student who all learnt survive emotional, mental and physically traumatic experiences. The residential school educators broke them all down inside rebuild them to be collectively weak inside.

    I have worked all my life federal, provincial, and city of Regina infrastructures come home rez sad to see no viasion only petty dreams to exploit band funds.

    100 days can fulfill a personal need,interests, or wants.
    (100 days equals almost three months)
    i.e. need new clothes can earn or save towards a new set
    1000 days can fulfill a shared needs, interests or wants.
    (1000 days equals alomost three years)
    i.e. interest new car a job earn mininum 70 paydays can save for one
    10,000 days can fulfill a community needs,interests or wants.
    (10,000 days equals almost 25 years; note: job can earn 700 paydays)
    i.e. want new town can build five new houses yearly is 125 houses

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