AFN National Chief Issues "Back to School" Statement to First Nations Students and Families

    OTTAWA, Sept. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Shawn Atleo today issued the following statement:

    "Today marks the day when many students across the country are returning
to school. And for some, it will be their first day of school, the start of a
new journey.
    I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the First Nations
students who are going to school today. Our Elders tell us that learning is a
life-long process and a way to empower ourselves and our nations. I am a
strong believer in the importance of education for all our people, regardless
of their age or ambition.
    I want to acknowledge the parents, friends and families of all our First
Nations students. We need our students to stay in school and your support,
encouragement, advice and assistance is a vital part of this effort. I must
also acknowledge the strong voices of First Nations leaders who are working to
ensure our students have access to quality education and safe schools.
    All Canadians should understand that First Nations learners are the key
to the ongoing success and prosperity of this country. We are the youngest and
fastest growing segment of the population. It is our energy and ideas that
will shape the country and drive it forward now and in the future. Our
students need support from the educators, the school workers and the political
leadership of this land. By supporting our students, we are supporting our
families, our communities and our nations.
    This is our time to use education as our tool to retain and maintain the
strength of First Nations languages, history, teachings and values while
facilitating better understanding between First Nations and the rest of
Canadian society.
    I wish all those students who are heading to school the best of luck in
their studies and academic endeavours."

                                                  National Chief Shawn Atleo
                                                   Assembly of First Nations

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

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