Assembly of First Nations Welcomes the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples Report on First Nations Education as Transformative and Progressive
OTTAWA, Dec. 8, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today welcomed the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples report titled: Reforming First Nations Education: From Crisis to Hope:
"This is an important contribution by the Senate committee to our Call to Action on First Nations education. They have acknowledged that "fundamental, systemic change is required to replace an antiquated system of isolated and improperly resourced First Nations schools with the necessary organizational infrastructure needed for a 21st Century school system," National Chief Atleo added." We are pleased that the committee also noted "The time to act is now. We must seize on the growing momentum and consensus on the need for reform."
We must also remember that First Nations inherent and treaty rights to education are paramount. The UN Declaration compels us to work in partnership and respect to give life to our inherent Indigenous rights and Treaties.
"We know we need an education system that values our language and culture, supported by curriculum development, teacher training and facilities that provide our learners with the tools they need. We need an education system that truly reflects our original relationship with the Crown," said National Chief Atleo.
The Senate report states: "The federal role...should be one of enabling First Nations to create and to adopt viable education systems, while acknowledging that primary responsibility for education rests with First Nations."
"This path needs to lead us to a statutory guarantee for fair, equitable funding for First Nation students, recognition of First Nation languages, cultures and stable and secure education systems. This report calls for immediate change and implementation by working with First Nations. We continue to believe that education is the key that will unlock the full potential of First Nations in this country. Our kids must be supported in fulfilling their dreams," concluded National Chief Atleo.
Key recommendations of the report include:
- That the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, in collaboration with First Nations organizations and the Assembly of First Nations, take immediate steps to develop a Canada-First Nations Action Plan for education reform; and that the joint action plan include a process to ensure that First Nations are able to opt into a First Nations Education Act within agreed-upon timelines.
- That a task force, jointly appointed by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Assembly of First Nations, be established to oversee and monitor progress related to First Nations educational reform; and that the task force report annually, for the next five years, to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and to the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-292-0857 or email@example.com
Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or firstname.lastname@example.org