(Ottawa, ON) – Following a three day Special Chiefs Assembly on First Nation education, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today expressed the direction of leadership across Canada who reaffirmed a direction forward with the goal of achieving real results for First Nation students.
“The path forward is focused on achieving real results for our kids, including quality schools, quality instruction based on our teachings, our languages and cultures and supported with adequate, stable funding. It’s locally determined, regionally driven and nationally supported. It embraces First Nation responsibilities and is grounded in Treaties and inherent rights,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “First Nations reject the unilateral imposition of any legislation, and this includes education legislation. Fair and equitable education for our children will only be reached through the implementation of First Nations control of First Nations education and meaningful and effective negotiation of nation-to-nation jurisdictional agreements that will ensure adequate, sustainable and predictable resources.”
First Nation leaders and technicians met in Gatineau this week to discuss a way forward to achieving secure and stable education systems respectful and reflective of First Nation rights, Treaties, languages and cultures. Nations and regions will work to develop innovative and new approaches driven by their priorities, needs and jurisdiction. AFN will work to facilitate and coordinate a national strategy based on this work.
“Our work is focused on supporting every First Nation, Treaty and regional approach to advance plans to improve education for their children,” said National Chief Atleo. “We have an opportunity here to make real change – because as we all know, education is our foundation and our future. Repeated unilateral approaches by government have created a great deal of mistrust, and while Chiefs welcome announcements to build schools, this approach is not adequate. This pattern cannot continue. It does not meet the needs or address the overwhelming disparity between First Nations and other Canadians. It certainly does not reflect the bold or transformative change required to close the gap, nor does it contribute to an effective way forward. First Nations can and will accomplish fair and equitable education for our peoples.”
For more information on First Nation education visit www.afn.ca
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates @AFN_Comms.