Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation

October 15, 2013 15:44 ET

The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation Issues Statement in Regards to the Federal Government's Proposed First Nations Education Act

Nin dayananankichikegoondamitawinkikinamaogidjnindagashkitomin

Translation: We have important work to do in educating our children-and we are capable!

KITIGAN ZIBI ANISHINABEG, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Oct. 15, 2013) - The Government of Canada is proposing legislation related to First Nations Education by way of its First Nations Education Act. The draft First Nations Education Act has been developed unilaterally by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Anita Tenasco, Kitigan Zibi Director of Education stated, "The consultation process in regards to the First Nations Education Act that which was carried out by AANDC was seriously flawed but it did work to highlight the First Nations' ongoing serious concerns in regards to the future of First Nations Education. At every opportunity, First Nations are proclaiming the urgent need to preserve and promote our cultural traditions, histories and languages within First Nations Education."

Chief Gilbert W. Whiteduck stated, "We affirm that we have inherent rights that include the right to complete jurisdiction over education for the community. We further firmly believe that we have important work to do in educating our children within our community and that we are fully capable of doing so! "The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg asserts that First Nations Control over First Nations Education must be fully recognized, respected and financially supported by the Government of Canada." What needs to be reformed is Aboriginal Affairs. We are prepared to develop a blueprint for this reform" stated Chief Whiteduck.

The Government of Canada and First Nations must work together in improving educational outcomes for First Nations people. Appropriate and consistent funding for First Nations Education is one important component within improving the educational outcomes for our First Nations learners.

Councilor Joel Odjick stated, "The Government of Canada must acknowledge that there are numerous success stories in First Nations education across the land. The Government of Canada and Provinces must remember that it has not had a positive history with First Nations in regards to education. The path forward in First Nations Education cannot be led solely by the Government of Canada or Aboriginal Affairs through imposed take it or leave it legislation. Trust us because legislation will bring reform and address all social conditions in our communities is a blanket laden with the assimilation virus and is, cruel and calculated on the part of Aboriginal Affairs."

The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg vehemently rejects the imposition of the proposed new federal legislation - the proposed First Nations Education Act. Legislation in the area of First Nations Education cannot be developed unilaterally. Our youth, our Elders, our community members and our leadership within Kitigan Zibi do not support the Government of Canada's push to enact legislation in the area of First Nations Education.

The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg demand that the Government of Canada uphold the honor of the Crown and fulfill its duty and obligation to First Nations in First Nations Education by setting out a transparent and accountable process for working with First Nations to co-create legislation that would fully support First Nations' schools and lifelong learning and give meaning to Section 35 of the Constitution Act of Canada as it relates to education. First Nations Control of First Nations Education is the only viable option. Anything else will demonstrate that the colonialist mentality is indeed alive and well. The implementation of the proposed First Nations Education Act as it has been drafted now can be delayed - it is not too late.

Kinawaniganiyeg, kigaondamitaondjeninawin?

Translation: Government of Canada, are you willing to work with us?

The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Community is an Anishinabe (Algonquin) community located 130 km's north of Ottawa in the territory called Quebec. The community is the largest of the 10 Algonquin communities that make up the Algonquin Nation that has never ceded or entered into treaty for its ancestral lands.

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