• February 7, 2014 5:10 PM
  • - General

Harper Surprise Speech in Southern Alberta Blood Reserve to be met by protest by First Nations

Kainai People of the Blood First Nation Demonstrate Opposition to Harper Government's Top Down Approach to First Nations Education Act

KAINAI NATION, Treaty No. 7 Territory-Alberta, Feb. 7, 2014 /CNW/ - Grassroots members of the Kainai Nation (Blood tribe) are organizing a peaceful rally outside the Kainai Nation High School in Southern Alberta on Friday where Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make a surprise announcement related to First Nations Education. 

The Blood Tribe's Idle No More members condemn the process leading up to this announcement, regardless of the content of what the Prime Minister may promise to First Nations regarding education.  There was no prior information provided to the First Nation Peoples across Canada and given the track record of the Harper government there is no reason to believe or trust that Prime Minister Harper has the best interests of First Nations in mind. 

We also condemn the collaboration with the federal government by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) through National Chief Shawn Atleo and the AFN Executive Committee who are undermining the collective Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of the First Nations and organizations who also oppose the proposed federal First Nations Education Act (FNEA). 

Twyla Singer stated "Information regarding the Prime Minister's visit to our local high school was leaked to our community members the same day the Prime Minister's announcement, press conference and photo opportunity were being confirmed to the national media. Our community members have not been given any advance information about the federal government's plans for the Proposed First Nations Education Act (FNEA). Our people have been left in the dark and left to guess what the details of this announcement will be." 

First Nations are concerned about how the FNEA will impact our Treaty relationship and the promises made under Treaty to respect our control over educating our children. There has been consistent opposition to the FNEA across the country for various reasons, primarily the unilateral imposition of federal legislation ignoring the inherent rights of First Nations to exercise control and jurisdiction over education and the blatant disregard for the Treaty nation to nation relationship. 

The FNEA is the latest proposed Bill in a suite of unilateral federal Bills amending the Indian Act to assimilate First Nations into the Canadian mainstream while denying First Nations Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. The track record of the Harper government leaves no choice but for grassroots peoples to stand up and say "NO to the FNEA and other legislation, agreements and policies" that undermine our sovereignty and right to self-determination.

"Our people are opposed to the whole approach taken by the Federal Government to make this announcement.  Any type of decision that affects our future, our children's future and our Treaty needs to be done openly for our people to be able to provide meaningful input into.  No more back room deals without the people knowing" said Rachel CrowSpreadingWings. 

We want to remind Prime Minister Harper and the First Nation Chiefs that any approach to First Nations education should be based upon the international standard of Free, Prior and Informed Consent, Articles 3 and 14 among others of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the requirement to include First Nations Peoples in any reforms of education policy or law from the ground up, not the top down.

Blood Tribe IdleNoMore have put out a call to invite people to tomorrow's peaceful rally to oppose Harper's top down announcement about First Nations education and ask for those who can't attend to engage in solidarity actions.

SOURCE Idle No More

For further information: Blood Tribe IdleNoMore Organizers, Twila Singer (403) 795-4417, Rachel CrowSpreadingWings (403) 715-2406