AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo Launches Call to Action on First
Nations Education

NIPISSING FIRST NATION, ON, June 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today launched a broad call to action on First Nations education, highlighting the importance of reconciliation and effective partnerships in ensuring equitable education opportunities for First Nations.

"Today we launch a call to action. A call for education to become a door to opportunity and to success firmly rooted in our cultures, languages and rights," said National Chief Atleo.

"First Nation leadership across the country identified education as central to our agenda. Education is directly related to social and economic health and is a key to pursuing our other priorities like stronger governing capacity and economic development," said National Chief Atleo. "This is a call to action to all governments, to education institutions, the private and public sectors as well as our own communities to join in developing a fundamentally new approach to education that turns the page on the Indian residential schools era. Collaboration, cooperation and partnership will be the hallmarks of our efforts as we work together to significantly improve education outcomes and opportunity for all First Nation learners at all levels."

Through five key components, the AFN Call to Action on First Nations Education is an approach that will ensure First Nations have fair and improved access to quality education opportunities in a way that reflects the needs of our important and growing population:

    
    1.  Reconciliation and implementation of First Nation rights within all
        federal and provincial education legal and policy regimes;
    2.  An education guarantee that creates a secure fiscal framework, a
        guarantee enjoyed by every segment of Canadian society except First
        Nations;
    3.  Sustainability to ensure funding arrangements based on real costs,
        indexation and appropriate treatment for northern and remote
        communities;
    4.  Building First Nations education systems including professional,
        accountable institutions to support teachers and language and
        cultural curriculum;
    5.  Supporting a culture of learning in First Nations communities and
        linking with organizations, the public and private sector to invest
        in our schools and students.
    

"For far too many First Nations students, the current system is under-funded, under-supported and unfair," said National Chief Atleo, noting that First Nations students receive on average $2000 less in educational support than other students in Canada. "If we support our students, bring fairness and equity to First Nations education, we will spark success, create jobs and build economies. Investing in First Nations education will benefit all people in Canada. It's a long-term sustainable stimulus plan for Canada's economy. Increasing our graduation rates to match those of other Canadians would inject an additional $71-billion into Canada's economy over the next 10 years and help eliminate the employment gap."

Nipissing First Nation Deputy Chief June Commanda joined National Chief Atleo along with Nbisiing Secondary School students emphasizing the importance of education and partnership.

"Our community fully supports the broad Call to Action on First Nations education, as we continue to see first hand the challenges that the current systems and supports have on our students," said Nipissing First Nation Chief Marianna Couchie. "As a community, we have made education our priority, investing in a new high school and pursuing partnerships with universities. Yet still much more needs to be done. We really need help and support to make a better future a reality for our young people."

For more information on the AFN's Call to Action on First Nations Education visit www.afn.ca

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: For further information: AFN Communications Officer Jenna Young at (613) 241-6789, ext 401, (613) 314-8157 (mobile) or jyoung@afn.ca; AFN Bilingual Communications Officer Alain Garon at (613) 241-6789, ext 382, (613) 292-0857 (mobile) or agaron@afn.ca


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