OTTAWA, Sept. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Several First Nations of Quebec under
the leadership of their Chiefs are taking part in the National Week of
Action on Education to denounce the shocking attitude of the federal
government regarding the education of First Nations. "By maintaining a
system based on colonial tenets, the Conservative government is keeping
our children and our communities in an unfair situation. This is a shame
for the Canadian society", declared Ghislain Picard, Chief of the
Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador (AFNQL).
Chief Picard and other Chiefs from Quebec, Ontario and other regions of
Canada undertook a week of action to denounce the discrimination
suffered by First Nations children in education. This discrimination
speaks for itself regarding the underfunding of First Nations schools at
the elementary and secondary level. The Chiefs also denounce the
impending threat of the federal government to terminate the
Post-Secondary Student Support Program. In Quebec, students and parents
from First Nations communities will be undertaking actions, such as
sending letters to the federal government, holding awareness raising
activities, distributing flyers, and dispatching regional press
releases. The main event is a walk from the community of Kitigan Zibi to
Parliament Hill in Ottawa, in view of making the federal government
react and grant the attention necessary to the important issue of First
Nations education. A great national gathering of First Nations
organizations and communities is also scheduled to conclude the National
Week of Action on Education on September 23rd, on Parliament
On September 21st, the Chiefs will be present at the Parliament to meet
with parliamentarians, senators and members of the political scene to
present their vision of education and discuss the stakes and issues
regarding the future of First Nations education. "The time has come to
go beyond The Indian Act and build a new relationship with
Canada. A relationship built on mutual respect instead of colonialism",
stated Chief Picard.
Other initiatives will be held across the country in addition to the
activities scheduled in Ottawa and within the First Nations communities
"Our schools are striving to survive with an obsolete funding formula
that hasn't been revised since the last twenty years. This is simply
unacceptable and intolerable", indicated Lise Bastien, Director General
of the First Nations Education Council (FNEC).
Developed in 1988, the federal formula for First Nations education is
highly discriminatory as it allows for a considerable gap in funding
when compared to the much higher funding received by Quebecer schools
from their provincial government. The federal formula ignores the
Costs relating to the integration of technology in the schools.
Costs relating to school libraries.
Costs relating to vocational training.
Costs relating to the sports and recreation.
Costs relating to keep pace with provincial reforms, with considerable
impact on the curriculum, teaching hours and support measures, such as
What is more to it, the funding of First Nations schools has not been
indexed since 1996.
Contrarily to the provinces which have been investing since several
years in modern systems for their schools, the federal government
disregards this crucial need for the First Nations schools under its
fiduciary responsibility. This does not prevent the government from
accusing First Nations of withholding data, even though they are
deprived of the tools to obtain the requested data. "By denying First
Nations the means and access to quality education, the government of
Canada is fully aware that it is closing the doors to their future",
added Lise Bastien.
Threats to abolish Post-secondary financial support
federal government recently announced its intention to terminate the
Post-Secondary Student Support Program. This support is crucial for the
First Nations youth to undertake collegial and university studies and
thereby increase their socioeconomic conditions and that of their
families. "This threat is clearly based on ideological doctrines instead
of common sense and good judgement", pointed out Lise Bastien.
SOURCE Cardinal Communication
For further information: For further information:
|SOURCE: Éric Cardinal |
Cellphone: (514) 258-2315
|INFORMATION: Lise Bastien|
Director of the FNEC