Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
Cardinal Communication

October 04, 2011 14:48 ET

Education Rally to Promote the Need by the Federal Government to Make First Nations Education a Priority

KITIGAN ZIBI ANISHINABEG, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 4, 2011) - The Chief of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg along with other First Nations leaders from Ontario accompanied by members of their respective communities will be holding an education rally at the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa on October 6, 2011 The purpose of this education rally is to mobilize all voices in order to be heard in regards to the funding crisis facing First Nations education at this very moment. The rally is to also to bring attention to the National Panel which was established by the federal government as another delay strategy to not take the most obvious of actions in regards to First Nation education.

The National Panel whose mandate is to examine K-12 education and which strategically does not include post secondary education was first announced in December 2010 and was done without the involvement of First Nation communities which are those to be most directly impacted by any future proposed changes to First Nations education. The announcement of the National Panel was a sad day because it failed to bring anything meaningful to a crisis situation. The National Panel will once again do what has been done many times before and that is to listen to suggestions in regards to improving First Nations education and to subsequently bringing forward recommendations for changes which could include legislative changes. The large inventory of meaningful research work and including focused work carried out by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal peoples does not appear to be enough. The federal government is of the opinion that the National Panel will bring forward visionary recommendations that no one to date has ever considered. The announcement of the National Panel was indeed a sad day.

Anita Tenasco KZA Director of Education stated, "The federal government's plan to alter First Nations education programs that includes the Post Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) should be of concern to everyone. The federal government's consideration of implementing a new policy or education legislation will certainly come to negate its fiduciary obligation towards First Nations across Canada and accelerate the off-loading to provinces". She went on to say, "It is First Nations students who are being squeezed and deprived of education opportunities within their community schools and when they wish to pursue a post-secondary education"

First Nations are standing in solidarity and will walk from the Human Rights Monument to reject the federal government's approach to impose any type of policy that does not fully respect that First Nations education should be First Nations controlled and funded at the necessary level. First Nations have a right to maintain control over their education and not have the federal government set the control or create diversion tactics to delay actions and/or to off-load to provinces.

It is the third (3rd) consecutive year that First Nations have been protesting the on-going federal government's rejection to seriously and immediately address the First Nation education crisis issues that are largely the result of the federal government's inaction to follow-up on a multitude of recommendations that have been made in the past. This is not about asking for a blank cheque, this is about fairness, accountability, transparency and most importantly action. This is about doing what is right for First Nations youth.

On October 6th, 2011 First Nations will once again stand in unity to demonstrate that we are tired of not being heard and tired with the federal government's continued delay, and lack of response to the voices of First Nation parents, educators and Band Councils. If the grass-root community education crisis situation is allowed to continue, there is no doubt that this is and will be a tragedy for families, for First Nations communities, and will be a sad tragedy and legacy for Canada. The time for positive action is now.

Contact Information

  • Chief Gilbert W. Whiteduck
    (spokesperson)
    (819) 449-5170

    Anita Tenasco
    Director of Education
    (819) 449-1798