WINNIPEG, July 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and First Nations Chiefs and delegates from across Canada confirmed a new comprehensive plan to directly address critical education needs facing First Nation communities.
"This is an important confirmation of the clear priority every First Nation leader places on education. We are all agreed on the way forward and the imperative of supporting all First Nations learners and improving education outcomes for our children," National Chief Atleo stated. "Education has been used as a weapon against us in the past, as during the residential schools era, but it can now be a tool to unlock the full potential of First Nations people and communities. In the spirit of the Federal government's Apology for residential schools, we call on Canada to work with us to give life to our right to education. The resolution achieved by the First Nation leadership across Canada sets the vision and the path forward for this desperately needed progress."
Rather than relying on external reports, it's time that our people lead the way. We compel and encourage Canada to work with us, as they committed, hand-in-hand to strengthen and reform First Nation education."
The paper affirmed and released today, First Nations Control of First Nations Education 2010, is a blueprint for change. It reflects the important vision articulated by First Nations' leaders and educators in 1972 in the report "Indian Control of Indian Education." Since the release of that report First Nation education outcomes have improved with more than 500 First Nations schools having been built, and more than 40 Indigenous Institutes of Higher Learning having been established with thousands of First Nations post-secondary student graduates.
"Not only do we need to educate our own people, but we need to educate all Canadians about our cultures, our histories and our experiences," said Ashley Julian, AFN Youth Council Co-chair and Dalhousie University student. "The current education systems are accepting the status quo. It's time to write and implement our own curriculums. 'First Nations Control of First Nations Education' is a blueprint to utilize education the way it should be: to teach, to learn and to provide opportunities for my generation and for those younger and older. We need to engage and empower our Elders to teach the languages, to share their stories for the benefit of First Nations and all Canadians. This will enrich the education systems for all of us."
"First Nations have taken steps to improve the education outcomes of their children, but clearly much more needs to be done. Our students face unfair inequities in funding and lack access to critical support services which creates barriers to success. We must address these head on in order that our children can be supported to achieve comparable outcomes to other students in Canada," National Chief Atleo stated. "The report we are issuing today will help build stronger First Nations and a stronger Canada for all of us."
First Nations Control of First Nations Education, prepared by experts in the field, identifies a strategy that provides clear policy objectives and activities focused on achieving success in First Nations education, these include:
1. Ensuring First Nation lifelong learners have access to an education system with programs and services grounded in First Nations languages, values, traditions and knowledge.
2. Building and sustaining First Nations' community and institutional capacity to deliver a wide spectrum of quality programs and services across the lifelong learning continuum.
3. Full and effective implementation of First Nations control of First Nations education by federal, provincial, territorial and First Nations governments.
First Nations call on the federal government to endorse First Nations Control of First Nations Education 2010 and work in partnership with First Nations to fully implement this blueprint for real, lasting and positive change.
The First Nation Control of First Nation Education 2010 policy paper can be downloaded at this address: www.afn.ca
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: For further information: Alain Garon, Bilingual Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, Cell: 613-292-0857 or firstname.lastname@example.org