TORONTO, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is calling on the federal government to respect the educational rights of Aboriginal Canadians and immediately re-instate funding for the First Nations University of Canada.
Minister for Indian and Northern Affairs Chuck Strahl recently announced that funding would cease as of March 31, 2010, despite the fact that the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations had acted to correct problems related to governance and financial management at the institution.
"The government's action is unwarranted, if not punitive, given that its concerns for the University are being addressed. If funding is not reinstated, it will be a premeditated tragedy that can only further erode the educational and equality rights of First Nations people," said ETFO President Sam Hammond.
Hammond said that Ontario teachers are painfully aware that basic learning conditions are not being provided to many aboriginal Canadians. As an example, he pointed to the Attawapiskat First Nation's ten-year battle to secure a proper school building for the children of Attawapiskat in northern Ontario.
"With the support of thousands of people across Canada, including our Federation, who spoke on their behalf, the people of Attawapiskat have prevailed and the federal government has announced that their community is now "on the list" for a new elementary school.
"We call on the federal government to once again, recognize their historical responsibility to First Nations people, and immediately re-instate critically-needed funding for the First Nations University of Canada," said Hammond.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 73,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.
SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
For further information: For further information: Sam Hammond, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836 (Office); Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416) 962-3836 (Office), (416) 948-0195 (Cell)