December 6, 2012
(Ottawa, ON) – Representatives of the Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE) today welcomed the opportunity to meet with Minister John Duncan. The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has been meeting this week for their Annual Special Chiefs Assembly, December 4-6, 2012 in Gatineau, Quebec.
Education has once again been an important topic of discussion for our leaders and our peoples.
Through our discussions leading up to this Assembly, the Chiefs Committee has been meeting regularly and developing a national action plan. The Chiefs Committee reached out to Minister Duncan to start a conversation with the Government of Canada. The way forward requires dialogue and we want to ensure that the positions of our peoples are clear.
Our children are our most precious resource and we will not let them down. The Federal Government must honour the inherent and Treaty rights as affirmed in the Constitution of Canada, 1982.
We need to work with the Federal Government and we need to establish a guarantee for fair, stable and predictable funding for our schools. First Nations have demonstrated tremendous leadership in this area – our educators, our parents and our communities must lead the way forward now. The status quo is not acceptable and we insist on working for and achieving change now for our children.
Every First Nation must have the opportunity to present its path forward and to work to advance their education as they determine to achieve excellence in lifelong learning, fully supportive of our languages and culture. Any potential changes in the policy or legal framework requires that Canada fulfills its duty to fully consult with First Nations.
This meeting provided an opportunity to present our views and this is the right place to start. Across the country, First Nations have different approaches and strategies – some specific to First Nations, some regionally based whereas others are grounded in the implementation of Treaty. Through respectful dialogue, we must put our kids first and create every opportunity for their success as is owed to them. We must do this work together and we must do so immediately.
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