AFN Marks the Ground Breaking for New Attawapiskat Elementary School

OTTAWA, June 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn Atleo today congratulated the community of Attawapiskat as they celebrate today the ground breaking of their new elementary school. "We applaud the energy and determination to achieve this day.  We commend the leadership for their perseverance, the Koostachin family for their strength, and the youth of Attawapiskat for taking a leadership role on behalf of all First Nations students in Canada," National Chief Atleo said.

First Nations schools are the only ones in the country that do not have a guaranteed funding base. They are funded under an obsolete formula developed over three decades ago.  This funding was further restricted when placed under a 2% cap in 1996, and does not include funding for technology, recreation, libraries, or languages.  The cost of delivering education continues to rise by more than 6% per year based on inflation and dramatic demographic increases.

In Budget 2012, Canada finally committed to explore new funding mechanisms for First Nations elementary and secondary education and invested $275M over three years to support First Nation education.  First Nations believe action is needed now to overcome unfairness and support the success of every First Nation child.

"Our kids deserve good schools and they deserve schooling in their communities nurturing and supporting their success with fair and stable funding, supported by strong First Nations systems, delivering a curriculum that respects our rights, our languages and identities and strengthens the fabric of our families and communities," says National Chief Atleo. "Turning Shannen's Koostachin Dream into the reality of safe and comfy schools right across the country is a mission that compels us all. The time is now for fairness, equity and justice for all First Nations children in Canada." 

Based on a 2011 AFN survey of more than 450 First Nation communities:

  • 47% (or 219) First Nation communities indicated they need a new school
  • Of those 219 communities, 70% have been waiting more than 5 years for a new school.  13% have been waiting for than 20 years.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms.

For further information:

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca