First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC)

First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC)
First Nations Schools Association (FNSA)

July 15, 2013 13:00 ET

Federal "Blueprint" for National First Nations Education Act Fails to Address BC First Nations' Concerns

COAST SALISH TERRITORIES/VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - July 15, 2013) - The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) and the First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) are very disheartened by the Government of Canada's "Blueprint" for its proposed National First Nations Education Act, released quietly by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) on July 12, 2013. The Blueprint sets out Government's framework for the legislation, which fails to address the issues raised by FNESC and FNSA on behalf of BC First Nations over the past several months.

Tyrone McNeil, FNESC President, stated, "There remains a concern that the proposed legislation will undermine the agreements reached in British Columbia, such as the recent January 2012 Tripartite Education Framework Agreement between the FNESC, Canada and the Province. The Government has failed to clarify how the various Agreements reached in British Columbia will be supported and not displaced by the legislation." McNeil continued, "Importantly, the Blueprint also makes no clear commitment to the funding needed to support First Nations education, including for language, culture and technology. This is a significant gap in the Government's framework." McNeil went on, "FNESC remains committed to working in partnership with the Government to ensure that First Nations control of First Nations education is advanced fully. However, we cannot sit back and have legislation forced on our Nations that does not support our control of the education of our children."

"We are proud of the comprehensive, relevant and accountable First Nations Education System that we have created in BC over the past couple of decades," stated Greg Louie, FNSA President. "This is an existing system, built upon high standards, which has and continues to be driven by our communities. We have been trying to get the Government to acknowledge that this system is already in place. What we need is a commitment to adequate and sustained funding, not the imposition of standards by the Government," he continued. Louie stated, "Notwithstanding the inadequate process to date, FNSA is committed to working collaboratively with the Government to ensure this system is protected and supported."

First Nations in BC, largely through the auspices of FNESC and the FNSA, have made significant progress over the past decades in establishing the foundation for a comprehensive, integrated and responsive BC First Nations Education System that will contribute to First Nations' efforts to create healthy, self-determining, and thriving communities. FNESC and its 103-member Board, representing all First Nations communities in British Columbia, and the FNSA and its 10--member Board representing 130 schools on-reserve under local control, provide a united voice for First Nations and First Nation learners in BC. First Nations have mandated and relied upon FNESC and the FNSA to represent and advance First Nations interests continuing to build the BC First Nations Education System. Our system is recognized and supported by the province.

Contact Information

  • First Nations Education Steering Committee
    Jennifer White
    Senior Communications Officer
    (604) 925-6087 ext. 105 or Cell: (604) 812-4131