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AFN Bulletin November 2014

on November 14, 2014

Update on the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly 

The Assembly of First Nations is holding its 2014 Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) and election for AFN National Chief from December 9-11, 2014 at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This event is being hosted by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) along with the locally established Host Committee.

The theme of this year’s SCA is “Our People, Our Land, Our Time”. This theme reaffirms our direction forward, harnessing the energy of the original peoples of this land, to seize this moment as the time for change and to act now for our peoples based on our rights and responsibilities. The Assembly will include discussion in a number of areas to make these objectives a reality and to support First Nations in advancing this work, including dialogue on Nation Building and AFN Restructuring, Land Rights and Claims, First Nations Control of First Nations Education and Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls.  Information on logistics and the agenda will be posted on the AFN website as well as information on the many other events that will take place during the annual gathering. 

MKO will be hosting a number of cultural and social events throughout the SCA. Please visit the Host Committee website at www.ourlandourpeopleourtime.com for more information on these events and activities. 

Voting for the election for AFN National Chief will begin on Wednesday December 10, 2014. Nominations will be announced soon by the Chief Electoral Officer.

 

National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS) 

AFN Regional Chief for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Morley Googoo, together with representatives from the AFN National Women’s Council, Youth and Elders councils, participated in the fourth National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS) in Membertou, Nova Scotia October 20-22, 2014.  AFN Women’s Council Co-Chair Lorraine Netro, AFN Elders Council Chair Phyllis Googoo and AFN Youth Council member Suzie Obamsawin attended the three-day Summit organized by the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia under the theme of “promoting equity, empowerment and leadership.” 

The AFN Women’s Council provided a paper in support of NAWS, putting forward practical recommendations in the areas of focus for the Summit.  The paper submitted by the AFN Women’s Council is available at: http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/end_violence/afn_wc_nawsivsubmission.pdf

A report on NAWS is underway and the NAWS steering committee is working towards a draft socio-economic action plan for Aboriginal women as directed by National Aboriginal Leaders and Premiers at their meeting in August 2014. 

During the Summit, representatives from the National Aboriginal Organizations met with provincial and territorial leaders and achieved commitment for a National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women to take place in February 2015.  While details are still to be determined, the focus of the roundtable will be on coordinated and tangible action to prevent and end violence against Indigenous women and girls.

 

Transforming First Nations Education

The push continues for First Nations control of First Nations education consistent with inherent and Treaty rights, supported by fair, stable and predictable funding and systems that embrace and value First Nation languages and cultures.  It is clear that every First Nation, every Treaty and every region must set their own path forward and it is the role of AFN to support and advocate for these approaches.  The resolve to transform First Nations education and achieve positive change for our children is stronger than ever. 

First Nations have rejected federal legislation Bill C-33 but remain committed to transforming First Nations education for the success of our children. This remains our shared goal and shared commitment.  In recent weeks and months, First Nations leaders and education experts have gathered to discuss a new path forward to improve learner outcomes and establish real First Nations control of First Nations education. 

AFN hosted two days of meetings on October 20 – 21, 2014 with the National Indian Education Committee (NIEC) where a national education work plan was confirmed and advanced. Additional meetings are planned in early November with the NIEC and CCOE to continue to drive work forward. 

On November 5, 2014, AFN will be assembling a delegation of national, regional and local First Nation leaders in Ottawa for the purpose of briefing MPs, Senators and their staff on a new path forward for First Nations education.

 

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on First Nations Child Welfare

The AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (Caring Society) jointly launched a Canadian Human Rights complaint against the Government of Canada on February 27, 2007 on the discriminatory provision of child and family services on-reserve. The joint complaint states that the Government of Canada has a longstanding pattern of providing unequal funding for child welfare services for First Nations children on reserves compared to non-Aboriginal children, resulting in inequitable services.  The real impacts are many and harmful to all of our communities. .  Many Canadians are shocked to learn that there are more First Nations children in care today than at the height of the residential schools system.

Final arguments in this case were heard from October 20-24, 2014.  During the closing arguments, the AFN re-emphasized the immediate, urgent need to address the under-funding of First Nations child and family services on-reserve as it places far too many children at risk and this is completely unacceptable.  It is time for the federal government to stop fighting against equity and justice for First Nations children and start fighting for it.  This is about fairness for the most vulnerable members of our society. 

The AFN wants to thank and acknowledge Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, for her tireless work for the last seven years on this issue. In spite of the many legal obstacles brought forward by the federal government to try and stop this complaint from proceeding, AFN and the Caring Society have stood together against the government in the name of all First Nations children. A final decision from the Tribunal is expected in the New Year, possibly February 2015.

 

AFN Donations

As part of our ongoing efforts to be more self-sufficient and independent financially, AFN launched on an online donation campaign on the AFN website.  This is part of a broader fundraising initiative.  We have heard the call from First Nations to take steps to ensure the AFN remains a strong organization and strong advocate for First Nations despite successive years of funding cuts by the federal government. 

You can get all the information at: http://www.afn.ca/index.php/en/donations to help support the Assembly of First Nations and increase our advocacy, policy, and research capacity to benefit First Nations and all of Canada.

The Assembly of First Nations issues regular updates on work underway at the national office. 

More information can be found at www.afn.ca.

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rdbrinkhurstAFN Bulletin November 2014

AFN Bulletin – Meeting of Premiers & Indigenous Leaders August 2014

on September 3, 2014

Meeting of Premiers and Indigenous Leaders – August 27, 2014 – Charlottetown, PEI

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Ghislain Picard participated in a meeting of Premiers, Territorial Leaders and leaders of National Aboriginal Organizations Wednesday August 27, 2014 in advance of the Council of the Federation Summit in Charlottetown, PEI.

National Chief Picard spoke to the urgent need for action to end violence against Indigenous women and girls, and outlined other key priorities for First Nations, including education, economic development, housing, national disaster mitigation, child and family services and health.  Following the meeting, National Chief Picard wrote to Premiers and leaders and submitted the paper “Taking Action Together on Shared Priorities: for the future of Indigenous Peoples and all of Canada” outlining specific recommendations in priority areas.  Both the letter and paper are available at www.afn.ca and directly at:  http://www.afn.ca/index.php/en/national-chief/highlights-from-the-national-chief/letter-to-the-premiers-from-national-chief-picard-afn-submission-to-th.

Premiers and Territorial Leaders renewed their support for a National Public Commission of Inquiry and agreed to call for a national roundtable with federal ministers as an interim measure to move action forward.  Additionally, they agreed to work together on the development of a Socio-economic Action Plan for Aboriginal women at the upcoming National Aboriginal Women’s Summit taking place in October, 2014 in Nova Scotia to address ongoing challenges and root causes of vulnerability to violence.

First Nations across Canada continue to make individual and collective efforts to improve the lives of all of their citizens, including taking steps to address the systemic barriers currently preventing safety and security for women, girls and families.  Chiefs-in-Assembly have led a personal pledge to take all efforts to end violence and endorsed a national action plan in 2012.  The Assembly of First Nations will continue to strongly advocate for immediate action to end violence which includes but is not limited to a National Public Commission of Inquiry.

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rdbrinkhurstAFN Bulletin – Meeting of Premiers & Indigenous Leaders August 2014

BULLETIN 35th Annual General Assembly

on July 29, 2014

July 2014

The Assembly of First Nations issues regular updates on work underway at the national office. More information can be found at www.afn.ca.

Annual General Assembly – July 15-17, 2014 – Halifax, Nova Scotia

The 35th Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Annual General Assembly (AGA) took place in Mi’kmaq territory Halifax, Nova Scotia, July 15 – 17, 2014.  More than 1,100 First Nation leaders, Elders and youth gathered to address priority issues and set direction and strategy for the coming weeks and months.Annual General Assembly – July 15-17, 2014 – Halifax, Nova Scotia 

The AFN AGA was preceded by a National Youth Summit that took place in Halifax on Sunday, July 13 and a Confederacy of Nations meeting on Monday, July 14, 2014.

During the three-day Assembly, 302 Chiefs-in-Assembly passed 33 resolutions in priority areas, including a commitment to fully review the way the AFN is structured and operates to ensure it evolves and adapts as First Nations rebuild their nations and assert their sovereignty and jurisdiction.  Other resolutions provided direction on Treaty implementation, engaging on First Nations control of First Nations education respecting regional approaches, needs and diversity, funding for post-secondary education, appointment of a Chiefs Committee on hydraulic fracturing, reconciliation and justice for survivors of residential schools, among others.  All resolutions are available at www.afn.ca or directly at this link: http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/resolutions/afn_aga_2014_resolutions.pdf

Chiefs-in-Assembly also decided the next election for AFN National Chief will take place at a Special Chiefs Assembly in Winnipeg, Manitoba from December 9 – 11, 2014.  Chiefs also appointed Quebec/Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard to the role of National Chief until the 2014 election.

The AGA Host Committee organized a number of successful cultural events, including an evening Gala dinner.  AGA delegates stood united in a Circle of Hope, demanding action to end violence against missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and reiterated calls for a National Public Commission of Inquiry.  A blanket dance was held for Marlene Bird, a victim of violence in Saskatchewan, and $4,508 was raised for her care and treatment.

Watch for regular updates regarding the December 2014 AFN election for National Chief.

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rdbrinkhurstBULLETIN 35th Annual General Assembly

AFN Bulletin – July 2014

on July 7, 2014

Confederacy of Nations – Monday July 14, 2014, Halifax, NS

A Confederacy of Nations Meeting is scheduled for Monday July 14, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the main ballroom at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Registration will be available at the World Trade and Convention Centre on Sunday July 13 from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. and on Monday July 14 starting at 7:30 a.m.  There is no fee for appointed delegates, students, Elders or Veterans.  All other observers must pay a fee of $50. 

The AFN Executive has proposed the following agenda for the one-day meeting:

9:00 a.m.         Opening

Review and Adoption of Rules of Procedures

Review and Adoption of Draft Agenda

9:30 a.m.         Education – Discussion on the Path Forward

11:00 a.m.       AFN Election – Chief Electoral Officer Discussion

12:00 p.m.       Lunch

1:30 p.m.         AFN Reform

5:00 p.m.         Closing Prayer 

The Confederacy of Nations is a body within the AFN defined in the AFN Charter as “the governing body between assemblies of the First Nations-in-Assembly” and accountable to Chiefs-in-Assembly. For more information please visit www.afn.ca or directly at http://www.afn.ca/index.php/en/about-afn/the-assembly-of-first-nations-confederacy-of-nations-about

This meeting will bring together appointed delegates from each region on the basis of one representative per region, plus one for each 10,000 First Nation citizens of that region.  According to the Assembly of First Nations Charter, each region must elect or appoint representatives at a meeting convened for that purpose.  For more information on the process of appointing delegates please contact the office of the Regional Chief for your region.

The number of delegates per region has been confirmed as follows:

Confederacy of Nations Delegates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confederacy of Nations Votes

Province

Off-Reserve

On-Reserve

Total

1 Per Region

1 Per 10,000

Total

NB/PEI

6,396

 9,858

 16,254

 1

 2

 3

NS/NFLD

31,995

 13,224

 45,219

 1

 5

 6

QC

27,479

 54,846

 82,325

 1

 9

 10

ON

106,192

 93,115

 199,307

 1

 20

 21

MB

58,745

 88,213

 146,958

 1

 15

 16

SK

73,893

 70,654

 144,547

 1

 15

 16

AB

44,660

 72,620

 117,280

 1

 12

 13

BC

76,219

 62,233

 138,452

 1

 14

 15

YT

5,101

 3,990

 9,091

 1

 1

 2

NT

6,141

 12,304

 18,445

 1

 2

 3

 

436,821

 481,057

 917,878

 10

 95

 105

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Indian Register, AANDC –  as of December 31, 2013

 

 

 

Annual General Assembly – July 15-17, 2014 – Halifax

The 35th AFN Annual General Assembly will take place in Mi’kmaw territory in Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 15-17.  Hundreds of First Nation Chiefs, Elders and youth will gather under the theme “Together as Nations: Educate, Empower, Enlighten” to determine a path forward to address key priorities based on First Nations rights, Treaties, title and jurisdiction, guided by the vision of safe, healthy and thriving communities. 

A provisional draft agenda is available on the AFN website at www.afn.ca or directly athttp://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/14-06-12_aga_provisional_draft_agenda_fe2.pdf.

The Host Committee for the 2014 AGA is organizing a number of exciting cultural activities and special events during the AGA.  For more information please visit www.afn.ca or http://www.afn.ca/index.php/en/the-35th-annual-general-assembly.

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rdbrinkhurstAFN Bulletin – July 2014

Statement from Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo

on May 28, 2014

May 2, 2014 

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo made the below statement in Ottawa, ON today.

“I have stated clear priority on the recognition of Treaty, of Indigenous rights and title, on the safety and security of our most vulnerable, and I have also made my priority on education for our kids plainly clear. 

I have said it is OUR TIME as Indigenous peoples, that we must smash the status quo and that my job is as an advocate to open doors for First Nations to drive change. 

It is on this basis that we have worked very hard to achieve a new conversation between Canada and First Nations – a conversation grounded in recognition, respect and ultimately reconciliation, and to reach a realization that stronger First Nations are vital for a stronger Canada. 

I have had the great honour and privilege to visit over one hundred First Nation schools in every region.  It is the time spent with kids, their dedicated teachers – the parents and the grandparents that has both inspired me and created a steely resolve and determination.  I think of the late Shannen Koostachin, young boys and girls in remote northern communities like young Jayden – you’ve heard me reference so many times before. It is the spark in their eyes and the knowledge that as leaders – as the adults – we must get this right – right now. 

The work before us is absolutely challenging – if it were easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Today’s conversation began over 40 years ago with the remarkable leadership of the late George Manuel and many others.  Indian control of Indian education in 1972 – a policy statement crafted by our own educators including Verna Kirkness remains a powerful affirmation of our resilience and our determination to achieve change and justice for our children through education. 

Smashing the status quo means ending the glacial pace of change for our people and providing full support for growth and success.  Smashing the status quo means new approaches grounded in recognition and in reconciliation. 

The current discussion and diverse views remind us within the Assembly of First Nations that we too have much work ahead.  The inspiration behind the creation of the Assembly of First Nations was to serve as an advocacy body – bringing together the Nations and supporting one another.  I have encouraged reflection on our processes and approach within the Assembly to reflect a sense of re-building our Nations. 

Smashing the status quo means that everyone has a role to play. The status quo should NOT be acceptable to any political party – the NDP, the Liberals or the Conservatives.  This status quo should also never be acceptable to our Chiefs and leaders. 

This work is a challenge for all Parliamentarians and it is a challenge for our Nations. Everyone knows the recent history here – of an open letter and of a clear resolution and five conditions.

Throughout and, with that mandate of Chiefs, I and many others with me have done everything possible to achieve this change.  

I am very proud of the work accomplished – very proud of our collective efforts to overcome the status quo on this issue and others. 

We’ve been through important and sincere efforts before – in constitutional negotiation, a Royal Commission, and other more recent important efforts such as Kelowna taken forward by former Prime Minister Paul Martin.  The current proposal on education is the latest attempt and a sincere, constructive effort on the part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take a step forward. 

This work must be understood in that context – as a challenge, not for me, or any one individual – but a challenge and a call to action for the entire country. 

I have fought for this work and to achieve this mandate.  This work is too important and I am not prepared to be an obstacle to it or a lightening rod distracting from the kids and their potential.   I am therefore, today resigning as National Chief. 

I have carried out my actions based on principle and integrity.  Personally, I believe this work must happen.   It can and should happen in parallel to other efforts addressing fundamental questions of ‘how’ we do this work.  Now the work started so many years ago must continue.  It must continue in every community and it must continue within Parliament.  I challenge every party and every First Nation to carry forward this work.  Failure is simply not an option.  Fighting for the status quo is simply not acceptable. 

Today I express my deepest gratitude for the support, the generosity and the respect afforded to me by First Nations and increasing multitudes of Canadians across this country.  I have been deeply honoured to serve. 

I will, as I have all of my life, continue this struggle in other ways. I want to thank all of those who have quietly worked for education and for our kids.  While people do not hear or see them today – YOU will emerge as the heroes of this work in the future.”

 

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

 

-30-

 

Contact information: 

Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer  613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or email jyoung@afn.ca

OR

Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-2920857 or email agaron@afn.ca

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rdbrinkhurstStatement from Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo

Technical Bulletin – Resignation of National Chief and Next Steps

on May 12, 2014

May 2014

The Assembly of First Nations issues regular updates on work underway at the national office.  More information can be found at www.afn.ca.

Resignation of AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo

AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo resigned on May 2, 2014, stating:  “This work [education] is too important and I am not prepared to be an obstacle to it or a lightning rod distracting form the kids and their potential.”  The full statement is available on the AFN website at www.afn.ca or by clicking here online

The National AFN Executive Committee acknowledged former National Chief Atleo in a written statement May 7, thanking him for his dedicated and tireless efforts to achieve change for First Nations and all of Canada.  That statement is also available at www.afn.ca or by clicking here online

The National AFN Executive met May 5-6 in Ottawa to discuss an appropriate course of action and next steps consistent with the AFN Charter. 

Next Steps and Key Meetings 

The work of AFN continues in priority areas as mandated by Chiefs with Regional Chiefs continuing to oversee work in their designated portfolios.  At their meeting May 5-6, the AFN Executive agreed to appoint AFN Regional Chief for Quebec-Labrador Ghislain Picard as spokesperson for the Executive until such time they determine otherwise.  

The AFN will convene a meeting of the Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE) in Ottawa May 15.  This is an expanded meeting that will include Chiefs and technicians not currently on the CCOE. 

The AFN will also convene a Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa May 27 at the Westin Hotel.  The purpose of the Special Chiefs Assembly is to:

  • confirm an approach going forward on Bill C-33 and First Nations education; and
  • to make a decision on the timing and location of the election for National Chief. 

 

More information and details on both meetings are still being finalized and will be provided as soon as possible, including at www.afn.ca.

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rdbrinkhurstTechnical Bulletin – Resignation of National Chief and Next Steps

Communiqué from National Chief Shawn Atleo – April 2014

on April 2, 2014

The Assembly of First Nations issues regular updates on work underway at the national office. More information can be found at www.afn.ca.

 


 

APRIL UPDATE: FIRST NATIONS CONTROL OF FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION and ACTION ON MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND GIRLS

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is pleased to offer this update on some current issues for First Nations and the continued priorities of First Nations in achieving change for our peoples, communities and nations. 

First Nations Control of First Nations Education: A framework to achieve success in First Nation education 

Last week, I had the honour to participate in the final national public event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, during which I said that I believed the time had come to support one another fully and to put the next generation first.  We will never forget the residential schools.  It is a legacy we know too well as we live it every day.  But I hear many voices telling us that we must not pass the burden on to another generation.  They must learn of this history but they also must learn about themselves, their identity as proud First Nations citizens, their songs, stories and languages.  We are still here and we are strong.  Perhaps our ultimate response to the residential schools is to say loud and clear to all of Canada: we are still here, and we will again resume our rightful place and our responsibilities to nurture our children, to protect and to advance our languages, our cultures, our lands and territories. 

I have visited many communities and I hear a great deal of support for action on education, and I also hear concerns.  I fully understand these responses.  This work is critically important and we must get it right.  We cannot abandon another generation to a failing system and collapsing schools. The last thing we want to do, though, is to take no action or, worse, allow the government to do this work for us.  Neither alternative is acceptable.  We will not tell our children and students that they must wait longer for the quality of education they deserve.  We can never let the government move on unilateral approaches that could compromise our rights, Treaties, title or jurisdiction or contradict the spirit of our agreements.

This is why the direction received from Chiefs-in-Assembly last December was so critical. Resolution 21/2013 set five clear conditions for the path forward and mandated urgent attention and action at the national level to have the conditions fully met, including secure and fair funding guaranteed for our kids.  This work is important and it builds on decades of advocacy, research and experience. The conditions stem from our 2010 position paper First Nations Control of First Nations Education, which in turn builds on the 1972 policy paper Indian Control of Indian Education and numerous reports, studies and contributions from First Nations leaders and education experts.

Based on our collective advocacy, we successfully secured significant new funding for First Nations education and we have once and for all eliminated the 2% cap that’s been holding our students back (see attachment).  In addition, the Government announced it would meet the five conditions in new legislation affirming First Nation control of First Nation education.  The advocacy to get us to this point has been important and consistent with the clear mandate set by Chiefs-in-Assembly.  Still, it will be up to every region, every First Nation to determine their next steps and response in accordance with their rights, responsibilities and direction from their people to fully advance education success for all of their students. 

It is important to remember that this process will be a long journey with these being only the first few steps.  Affirming First Nation control, ensuring fair, stable funding including support for languages and culture is only an interim step to First Nations themselves advancing their own systems through nation-to-nation discussion and confirmation of their own agreements, Treaty implementation or First Nation laws and arrangements with others. 

To support the analysis and effort going forward, AFN compiled First Nations Control of First Nations Education: A framework to achieve success in First Nation education.  This document, available on the AFN website, expands on the five principles of First Nations control and sets out key elements for each principle.  A draft of this framework was shared with the Chiefs Committee on Education in January 2014 to obtain local and regional perspectives.  I encourage you to review the framework but want to briefly note some points from the framework as to what we will be looking for in any federal legislation: 

Jurisdiction

  • Respects and recognizes inherent rights and title, Treaty rights, and First Nation Control of First Nation Education jurisdiction. First Nations must retain all options to advance their education and all such agreements must be fully respected, enabled and supported.  On this point, we must be perfectly clear in our expectation that First Nations Treaty and inherent rights will be respected.  Agreements advancing First Nation education through Treaty implementation, nation-re-building or self-government will be respected, enabled and supported. 

 

Funding

  • Provides a statutory guarantee for funding of First Nations education as a precondition that is sustainable and reflects needs-based costs consistent with Canada’s obligation.  The elimination of gaps in funding is required, including the removal of restraints as well as the establishment of a fair rate to respond to growth in demographics and education needs. There must be support for transition and the development of systems, explicit support for language and culture programming and support that guarantees safe, secure, healthy learning environments and facilities. 

 

Language and Culture

  • Enables and support systems to provide full immersion and grounding of all education in Indigenous languages and cultures.  First Nations education requires the inclusion of First Nations knowledge and languages and it requires teaching and learning in those languages and cultures.  Language and culture must be funded as core curriculum.  Cultural experts, Elders and parents must be fully engaged in First Nations education systems. 

 

Reciprocal Accountability and Transparency

  • Develops mechanisms to oversee, evaluate, and provide for reciprocal accountability and ensure there is no unilateral federal oversight and authority.  First Nations education must be controlled and supported by First Nations. First Nations must have the autonomy to design systems, codes and laws.  Parental involvement and parental responsibility assured by transparent local control is the basis for First Nations education. 

 

Meaningful Dialogue

  • Ensures a meaningful support process to address these conditions through a commitment to working together through co-development, fully reflective of First Nations rights and jurisdiction.  Canada must commit to direct dialogue and discussion throughout development including regulation and establishing agreements with First Nations communities specific to their approach to advancing education, including Treaty implementation or other agreement. 

 

The work leading to this framework started months ago with regional dialogue and discussion that saw First Nations articulating their visions of First Nations control of First Nations education.  The AFN will continue to support and help facilitate this work and will prepare a final overview paper in early April. 

It is up to each First Nation and region to determine how they see these five conditions being achieved in a manner that respects their rights and interests.  The AFN is not a rights holder – First Nations themselves must drive the next steps as only First Nations can articulate, design and build their own education systems. 

Despite our inherent diversity across the country, there has been absolute agreement that the status quo in education is unacceptable and must end.  We must not only oppose the status quo and a failing system, we must articulate what is required to achieve success and drive our own approaches based on our requirements.  But we can work together, support and respecting one another as we pursue our own paths to a shared goal of success for our children. 

I have full faith and confidence in our people – our Elders, our experts, our leaders, our youth – that we have the answers, the commitment and the solutions to realize our vision of First Nations control of First Nations education. 

We will continue to engage widely with First Nations in the coming weeks and we will support First Nations in setting their strategies and their approach to First Nations control of First Nations education.  

Update: Action on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Girls 

On Monday March 10, 2014, I met with leaders of national Indigenous organizations, specifically the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Métis National Council, the National Association of Friendship Centres and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.  Our purpose was to discuss immediate action on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.  This meeting came in the wake of a tremendously disappointing report released on March 7 by Parliament’s Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women. 

We met to discuss our strategies moving forward as we cannot accept the status quo or the limited approach taken by this government.  We all agreed that urgent action is required.  At the meeting, all those present reaffirmed our call for a national public commission of inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.  We came to a common position that all our efforts need to be coordinated, including awareness and ongoing advocacy that advances considerations for a national inquiry as well as immediate actions to ensure safety and security for Indigenous women and girls. 

There was an agreement among the organizations to take matters into our own hands and begin drafting our own terms of reference for a national inquiry so that it is inclusive, focused and constructive.  We will seek options to move this forward with partners with or without support from the government. 

Another idea brought forward was the possibility of establishing a national research centre dedicated to the safety of Indigenous women.  We will continue working on this and other ideas in advance of many upcoming opportunities to raise the profile of this important issue and to continue mobilizing support among Parliamentarians, provinces and territories and international partners. 

All Indigenous organizations are committed to advancing their own action plans and sharing these efforts as a way to affirm solidarity, coordinate our work and strengthen our individual actions.  We are looking as well to important upcoming international reports from organizations such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations Committee to End Discrimination against Women, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to further advance the discussion and pressure Canada to act. 

We are all in agreement that we will continue to push for action on this critical issue and work to ensure the safety and security of Indigenous women and girls. 

Kleco, kleco!

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rdbrinkhurstCommuniqué from National Chief Shawn Atleo – April 2014
Assembly of First Nations
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