AANDC releases proposal for First Nations education legislation
in early 2014. First Nations leaders and communities have been vocal in their opposition to the proposal, particularly due to the lack of attention given to funding. The proposed legislation calls for the establishment of education
authorities and various resources and services within the schools, but offers no indication of funding levels. According to Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, "When you read between the lines you see the minister is granted a tremendous amount of authority under the new legislation, with none of the liability.” Tyrone McNeil, President of the First Nations Education Steering Committee, stated “It is now clear that Ottawa has no intention of renewing [the tripartite education agreement in BC]," and called the proposal a “missed pportunity.” National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Shawn A-in-chut Atleo repeated earlier calls for immediate,
meaningful engagement with First Nations regarding education, stating “First Nations control over First Nations education, respectful partnerships, and commitments to fair, sustainable and predictable funding to support the creation of effective First Nations education systems are all essential elements.” The Chiefs of Ontario are calling the proposal a “major step backward” and suggest that discussions regarding funding must occur before implementing systemic changes. The Union of Ontario Indians Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee
stated the "proposed First Nations Education Act (FNEA) is about control and false accountability. It is a colonial document and makes no attempt to close the gap on inequality in education." Former Ontario Premier and Liberal Party of Canada Interim Leader Bob Rae called the state of First Nations education “disgraceful” and a “national scandal,” and agreed with Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of the AFN, who said the federal government is approaching First Nations education in the wrong way. And the Chiefs of the AFN of Quebec and
Labrador issued a statement that as the proposal answers none of their fundamental concerns, they will consider options such as creating their own laws to govern education, or possibly challenging the bill legally.
AANDC News Release | CBC | Global | Globe and Mail | AFN News | AFN Communiqué | Chiefs of Ontario
News | Union of Ontario Indians News Release | TB News Watch | AFNQL News Release