Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Speaks at Public Forum in Halifax - Closing the Gap in Education Must be a Priority

HALIFAX, Nov. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today addressed a group gathered at the Public Forum in Halifax "A New Partnership: Building Relationship through Education", inviting the federal government to engage now with First Nations in a new and honourable process to close the gap in education and work towards First Nations control of First Nations education.

"We welcome the federal government's commitment to work with us in a respectful, transparent and collaborative process to advance First Nations education and the commitment for additional, much-needed funding," said AFN National Chief Bellegarde.  "Education is a priority for First Nations and we are ready to move now.  Our approach must be based on First Nations control of First Nation education.  The current approach is failing First Nations, it's failing our children and it's failing Canada.  It's time for a new approach and this is a new opportunity to get it right."

National Chief Bellegarde spoke about the need to invest in First Nations - the youngest, fastest growing population in the country - as key to Canada's future and ongoing prosperity.  The National Chief stated that First Nations have been working to set out their own plans and approaches to First Nations education and are ready to move, noting that there are a number of successes in spite of the underfunding and lack of support.  The successes can be multiplied if First Nations are provided fair and equitable funding and support.

"The new government provides a new opportunity for innovation and change," said National Chief Bellegarde.  "Where we see First Nations control we see success.  We can draw on existing work and best practices, initiatives like the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, and programs and approaches that are working in First Nations communities.  We can close the gap in education as an important step in closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations people and Canadians.  We can leave a legacy of justice and fairness by setting the foundation for a stronger, better future for all our children."

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

 

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

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


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