News

AFN Renews Call for Families First Approach as National Inquiry Receives Extended Mandate

on June 7, 2018

June 5, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and Chief Denise Stonefish, Chair of the AFN Women’s Council, said today the extension of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls creates an opportunity to refocus its work in ways that will ensure survivors and families are at the forefront.

“The National Inquiry must allow survivors of violence and families of victims to inform its work through their experiences and sharing of their recommendations,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “As I’ve said from day one of this Inquiry, we must not wait for the outcome of the Inquiry to provide safety and security to all families at risk.  The announcements today of resources for health and investigative supports are important and welcomed as part of ongoing, sustained efforts to end violence against Indigenous women and girls.”

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett today announced the federal government will extend the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls until April 30, 2019, providing an additional two months to June 30, 2019 to end operations.  The final report and recommendations are now expected April 30, 2019.  The government also announced new funds and resources for health supports, law enforcement and commemorative activities.

The AFN has a national resolution supporting an extension provided the National Inquiry takes a families first approach.

“The National Inquiry needs to organize its work in these final months in a way that effectively engages survivors and families,” said Chief Denise Stonefish, Chair of the Assembly of First Nations Women’s Council.  “’Families first’ means survivors and families are actively engaged every step of the way, that outreach to them is improved and their input is respected.  The federal government must ensure families and survivors are involved in the implementation of health supports and services.  And these health supports and services must be ongoing until the recommendations of the final report are implemented. This is the only way to achieve results that will ensure safety and security for Indigenous women and girls.”

Minister Bennett today also announced the Government of Canada’s response to recommendations by the National Inquiry released in an interim report in November 2017.  This includes $21.3 million for health support services to survivors of violence and for the families of victims.  Health supports will extend to June 20, 2020.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
Assembly of First Nations
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAFN Renews Call for Families First Approach as National Inquiry Receives Extended Mandate

On Third Anniversary of Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, Assembly of First Nations Urges Governments and All Canadians to Commit to Progress and Results

on June 1, 2018

June 1, 2018 

(Ottawa, ON) – In advance of the third anniversary of the release of 94 Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today called for action and results from governments and Canadians.

“We all have a role in reconciliation – governments, institutions, First Nations and every Canadian,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “We need to see urgent and sustained action by all levels of government to work with First Nations to give life to the TRC’s Calls to Acton. Canadians need to know that their actions, big and small, will help drive change.  Learn more about our shared history and read the Calls to Action. Then find a way to contribute to reconciliation and help close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canada.”

On June 2, 2015 the TRC released 94 Calls to Action on priorities aimed at reconciliation, including child welfare, justice, education and health. The full report was released December 15, 2015. The findings followed six years of testimony from more than 7,000 former residential school students across Canada, and experts and others connected to the residential schools.

To help commemorate the third anniversary of the TRC Calls to Action, and to raise awareness of National Indigenous History month, the AFN is encouraging Canadians to educate themselves and to take concrete action in support of reconciliation.  Acts of reconciliation can include writing Senators to support Bill C-262 (a bill to enact the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).  The first principle in the TRC’s Calls to Action states that the UN Declaration is “the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society”.

Canadians can take other actions to help advance understanding, awareness and reconciliation, such as participating in the KAIROS Blanket Exercise (available online and iTunes via the AFN Education Toolkit), visiting an Indigenous Friendship Centre, taking part in ceremonies or listening to Elders and Wisdom Keepers, attending National Indigenous Peoples Day events (marked on June 21, with events continuing through the weekend in many places) and reading books, essays and publications or viewing films or series about the shared history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.

The AFN is currently working with Indigenous Watchdog to analyze the federal government’s progress on implementing the 94 Calls to Action, and continues to encourage direct engagement with First Nations to fulfil this work.  The advocacy and policy work of the AFN is closely aligned with the Calls to Action, including efforts and progress in the areas of First Nations education, languages, child welfare and health.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext. 116
343-540-6179 mobile
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 201
613-314-8157 mobile
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 282
613-292-0857 mobile
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckOn Third Anniversary of Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, Assembly of First Nations Urges Governments and All Canadians to Commit to Progress and Results

National Chief Welcomes Passing on Third Reading in Parliament of United Nations Declaration Bill

on May 30, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomed the passing on third reading of Private Member’s Bill C-262, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, in the House of Commons today. The bill will now go to the Senate, taking another significant step closer to becoming Canadian law.

“The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the framework for reconciliation and closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canada,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “It affirms the Treaty and inherent rights and title of First Nations. It is now ten years since the Declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly and time for Canada to make this important commitment to move on its implementation in full partnership with First Nations. I commend all those who voted today in support of this bill. In particular, I lift up NDP MP Romeo Saganash for working so hard with his colleagues, with First Nations and Canadians across the country to advance this Bill.

I urge Members of the Senate to deal expeditiously with this Bill and look forward to the historic day, now closer than ever, when it is given Royal Assent. That will move all of us forward and create a more fair and just country.”

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext. 116
343-540-6179 mobile
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext. 201
613-314-8157 mobile
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 282
613-292-0857 mobile
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckNational Chief Welcomes Passing on Third Reading in Parliament of United Nations Declaration Bill

Auditor General Report Shows Need for Government to Make Better Use of Data, Work with First Nations to Make Faster Progress on Closing the Gap

on May 30, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today responded to the Auditor General of Canada’s report, calling on Canada to change its approach and make better use of data it is collecting to make more informed decisions to close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations people and Canada more quickly.

“Canada is requiring data and then not using it effectively to improve the lives of First Nations people,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “The Auditor General’s report shows clearly the need for the federal government to engage directly with First Nations to share more information and get better decisions and better results. This has been a long-standing issue and one First Nations and the Auditor General have raised repeatedly over the years. We fully support the recommendations that the government engage directly with First Nations so we achieve better results for First Nations, and a stronger Canada.”

The report released today by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada included two chapters specific to First Nation and Indigenous peoples. Socio-economic Gaps on First Nations Reserves examines Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) with a focus on First Nations high school graduation rates on-reserve. The chapter states that ISC did not satisfactorily measure or report on Canada’s progress in closing the socio-economic gaps between on-reserve First Nations and other Canadians and that the Department’s use of data to improve education programs was inadequate. The report indicates that the education gap is actually growing, and that on-reserve high school graduation rates may be closer to 1 in 4 than the government’s reporting of 1 in 2.

The report includes an audit focused on programming by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) aimed at increasing Indigenous employment. The report concludes that ESDC’s management of the programs was not sufficient to demonstrate that these programs achieved their goals. Collecting adequate data and defining performance indicators would allow ESDC to determine whether the programs are leading to meaningful and sustainable employment and whether changes are needed.

“It is essential that all investments and resources directed towards First Nations are reaching the people in need and having a positive impact,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “It is simply unacceptable that the situation described by the Auditor General has been allowed to continue. We need to fix this broken approach, now. First Nations know what’s needed, what’s working and what isn’t, better than anyone because they are working directly with our people. This report reinforces our goals of First Nations control of First Nations education and the need for a distinct First Nations labour market strategy directed by First Nations.”

The report of the Auditor General sets out a number of recommendations for change that include engaging with First Nations and Indigenous peoples on decision-making and getting better, more accurate information. The National Chief noted this could include working towards a First Nations statistical institute.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 282
613-292-0857 mobile
[email protected]

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Sid LeeAuditor General Report Shows Need for Government to Make Better Use of Data, Work with First Nations to Make Faster Progress on Closing the Gap

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Statement on Canada’s Purchase of Trans Mountain Pipeline

on May 29, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) –Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde released the below statement following today’s announcement by the Government of Canada to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde: “Canada committed to honouring the UN Declaration and the right to free, prior and informed consent. First Nations have different positions on this project but they all agree and insist that their rights be respected, upheld and honoured by the Crown, and that includes the right to free, prior and informed consent. The onus is on the Crown to honour this duty, and that has not yet happened. One step is to bring First Nations together to have this essential dialogue.

First Nations have for centuries used our own protocols and traditional ways to solve problems and broker solutions where we are on different sides of an issue. Canada must work with First Nations and respect our rights regarding our lands and our lives.”

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 282
613-292-0857 mobile
[email protected]

read more
Sid LeeAssembly of First Nations National Chief Statement on Canada’s Purchase of Trans Mountain Pipeline

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Wants Governments to Work with First Nations in Manitoba to Ensure Safety During the Wildfire Emergency

on May 23, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said today that all governments and emergency service providers must work with First Nations leadership in Manitoba to ensure the safety and security of all those affected by the wildfire situation in the province.

“Our first thoughts are for the safety and well-being of all the families, the children, men and women in the communities that are dealing with this crisis situation,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This calls for immediate action by the federal and provincial governments and all emergency service providers to work cooperatively and collaboratively in coordination with the First Nations to find the most effective and efficient way to get our people out of harm’s way. This is not an issue of jurisdiction. This is an issue of the safety and security for First Nations families.”

The current situation is volatile and changing rapidly. The most recent reports indicate wildland fires have resulted in the need to fully evacuate Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi First Nation and Sapotaweyak Cree Nation in Manitoba.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For media requests or more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
National Chief’s Office
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-290-0706 (cell)
[email protected]

 

 

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Angie TurnerAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Wants Governments to Work with First Nations in Manitoba to Ensure Safety During the Wildfire Emergency

National Chief Perry Bellegarde Hails New Approach to First Nations Funding as a Significant Step Towards Stronger First Nations

on May 23, 2018

May 22, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says the move now underway towards ten-year funding grants for First Nations is an important step in building a new, more effective and efficient fiscal relationship between First Nations and Canada and is a significant result of the Canada-First Nations New Fiscal Relationship.

“This new approach is an essential and significant step towards a new fiscal relationship between First Nations and Canada, aimed at sufficient, predictable, sustained funding,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “The current year-to-year funding approach is unpredictable and burdensome. The move to ten-year grants means our governments can take a strategic approach to long-term planning and maximize the effectiveness of all resources. This builds stronger First Nations governments and will make a real difference on the ground for our families.”

The ten-year grants were included in recommendations in a report endorsed by Chiefs-in-Assembly at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly in December 2017. A ten-year grant is intended to increase the flexibility and the predictability for First Nations governments to manage funds and reduce the administrative burden under the current annual “contributions agreements” approach. Eligibility requirements for a ten-year grant are based on a co-developed approach to assessing financial performance and administration, including a Financial Administration Law.

Chief David Jimmie of Squiala First Nation, who co-chairs the AFN Chiefs Committee on Fiscal Relations with the National Chief, stated: “The new approach means First Nations will be able to leverage long-term, sustainable, predictable funding to invest in their priorities. It provides an opportunity for greater planning along with the leverage needed when looking for financing partners. It also puts accountability for First Nations governments with their citizens first, where it should be. This single step benefits all of us because when First Nations succeed, we all succeed.”

Information is now being provided to First Nations about the new approach and how to access it. It is anticipated that at least 100 First Nations will be eligible for ten-year grants within the first year, with more to follow. The 2017 report by the Canada-First Nations New Fiscal Relations Working Group A New Approach: Co-development of a New Fiscal Relationship Between Canada and First Nations is available at: http://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/A-New-Approach-Co%E2%80%90development-of-a-New-Fiscal-Relationship.pdf

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext. 116
343-540-6179 mobile
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 201
613-314-8157 mobile
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 282
613-292-0857 mobile
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckNational Chief Perry Bellegarde Hails New Approach to First Nations Funding as a Significant Step Towards Stronger First Nations

Assembly of First Nations Marks First National Day of First Nations Fishing Rights

on May 21, 2018

May 21, 2018

(Ottawa, ON) – First Nations leaders from across Canada marked May 21 this year as the first ever National Day of First Nations Fishing Rights. The day was established through AFN resolution 75/2017, dedicating the first Monday preceding May 25, or “Victoria Day”, to be recognized to honour First Nations’ rights to fish.

“Fishing is part of First Nations cultures and identities,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “It sustains our peoples and economies and is interconnected to healthy individuals and strong, sustainable nations. Fishing has been at the forefront of exercising and asserting First Nations inherent rights many times in recent history and the subject of a number of landmark court decisions. The intent of the National Day of First Nations Fishing Rights is to reaffirm and exercise First Nations’ inherent right to fish and manage our own resources, while at the same time raising awareness of our role and responsibilities in conservation and water protection.”

First Nations in Canada have inherent and Treaty rights protected in the Canadian Constitution and recognized in a number of Supreme Court decisions such as Sparrow (1990), Gladstone (1996), Delgamuukw (1997), Marshall (1999), Haida (2004) and Ahousaht (2009).  These rights include the right to traditional and customary governance of traditional lands, waters and resources, including fisheries.  First Nations rights are further articulated in international law, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

A number of First Nations are exercising the right to institute their own laws in regard to fishing, including Sheshegwaning First Nations first aquaculture law, Listguj Miqmaq first-ever salmon law and Nisga Lisims fish and wildlife laws.

“Victoria Day reminds us of a period in our shared history when many Treaties were signed,” said AFN Regional Chief Roger Augustine who co-chairs the AFN National Fisheries Committee.  “The National Fisheries Committee chose this day in an effort to decolonize a day named for the Queen who presided over many of the Treaties made with First Nations and remind everyone in this land of First Nations rights.”

“National Fishing Rights Day is about asserting our rights, but also raising awareness among Canadians,” said AFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee who co-chairs the National Fisheries Committee.  “We declare this day in the spirit of reconciliation and education of our rights and practices.”

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information, please contact:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 222
343-540-6179 (cell)
[email protected]

Jenna Young Castro
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext 201
613-314-8157 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 282
613-292-0857 mobile
[email protected]

read more
Roy WhiteduckAssembly of First Nations Marks First National Day of First Nations Fishing Rights

First Nations Fishing Rights – Fact Sheet

on May 18, 2018

NATIONAL DAY OF FIRST NATIONS FISHING RIGHTS – MAY 21, 2018

Fishing is part of First Nations culture and identity. It sustains First Nations peoples and economies and is a constitutionally protected inherent and Treaty right. In the spirit of reconciliation and raising awareness of our shared history and future, the Assembly of First Nations National Fisheries Committee, by direction from Chiefs across the country, have declared May 21, 2018, a National Day of First Nations Fishing Rights. This is a day to honour the inherent right to fish, to raise awareness of its interconnectedness to growing sustainable environments, conservation and water protection and fostering healthy individuals and nations. Victoria Day was chosen by the National Fisheries Committee as a statement: this is an effort to decolonize a day named for the Queen who presided over many of the Treaties made with First Nations.

 

Fisheries & Colonization

  • At Canada’s Confederation in 1867, the federal government was given authority over fisheries and set up the Department of Marine and Fisheries. First Nations governments were not consulted or involved in the development of this legislation.
  • The Numbered Treaties were a series of 11 Treaties made between the Government of Canada and First Nations from 1871 to 1921, covering the area between Lake of the Woods (northern Ontario, southern Manitoba) to the Rocky Mountains (northeastern British Columbia and interior plains of Alberta) to the Beaufort Sea (north of Yukon and the Northwest Territories). 
  • As part of the obligations of the Hudson Bay Company for the transfer of Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory to the federal government, Canada had to address Indigenous claims to those lands. The Crown used the Numbered Treaties to get access to traditional territories and assert its jurisdiction in exchange for certain promises such as reserve lands, annual payments and hunting and fishing rights to unoccupied crown lands. 
  • From 1850-54, the Crown negotiated 14 treaties (known as the Douglas Treaties) with some of the Indigenous Peoples of Vancouver Island, that confirmed the right to “carry on our fisheries as formerly.”

 

Celebrating Fishing, Indigenous Cultures and Languages

  • Fishing promotes healthy family connections and activities. Fishing is more than the act of removing fish for food – it is teaching and talking about fish, the water sources and the many activities that impact First Nations rights and cultures.
  • Fishing in many First Nations is a key activity in transmitting cultures and languages. Use May 21 as an opportunity to learn, share and pass on those words and practices.
  • Fishing and food is integral in First Nations cultures. Fishing is an important part of trade, labour and the economy. It helps to shape identity, promote mental, physical and spiritual health, including suicide prevention and life promotion.
  • Sustainable, strong fishery economies and water and environmental protection fosters strong individuals and nations.

Inherent Rights and Governance Systems

  • First Nations in Canada have inherent and Treaty rights protected in the Canadian Constitution. These rights include the right to traditional and customary governance of traditional lands, waters and resources, including fisheries.
  • The duty of the Crown states that the federal government must consult and accommodate First Nations in any decision-making involved in First Nations territories. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples further articulates Indigenous rights including Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
  • Courts in Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada, have made a number of decisions recognizing First Nations rights. Some significant decisions recognizing the rights of First Nations to fish and exercise governance over their traditional fisheries include Sparrow (1990), Gladstone (1996), Delgamuukw (1997), Marshall (1999), Haida (2004) and Ahousaht (2009).
  • 200+ Canadian Supreme Court decisions bear the name of many First Nations individuals who fought valiantly for their rights. First Nations must now be included in any discussions on fisheries and oceans management, water source protection.
  • First Nations rights are also articulated in international law, specifically in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Specific articles related to fishing include Article 25, Article 32 (2) and Article 32 (3).

A number of First Nations are exercising the right to institute their own laws in regards to fishing. These include the Sheshegwaning First Nations first aquaculture law, Listguj Miqmaq first-ever salmon law and Nisga Lisims fish and wildlife laws.

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Roy WhiteduckFirst Nations Fishing Rights – Fact Sheet

AFN BULLETIN – UPDATE: First Nations Education May 2018

on May 15, 2018

First Nations Control of First Nations Education

The work and progress in the area of education is guided by direction from Chiefs-in-Assembly and the long-standing goal of achieving First Nations control of First Nations Education.  First Nations control of First Nations Education means respecting, protecting and enforcing First Nations inherent rights and Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction. It means First Nations education systems under First Nations control and based on First Nations design, supported by direct transfers from the federal government.

While efforts continue for adequate funding and student supports, First Nations control of First Nations education is happening now in nations across the country.  Through the efforts of educators, leaders and experts across the country, courses and curricula delivered in First Nations controlled schools and institutes are beginning to reflect the perspectives and foundations of First Nations traditions and worldviews.  These important changes have led to an increasing number of relevant approaches to education that strengthen First Nations identities and dramatically improve opportunities for success. This is reconciliation in action.

It’s often said that everyone has a role in reconciliation.  One role for First Nations is to help share with Canadians our stories, our shared history and our future goals.  The AFN has prepared a digital education resource with the goal of helping to prepare non-First Nations educators.  “It’s our Time First Nations Education Toolkit” provides culturally relevant, accessible, hands-on educational tools to teach First Nations cultures and history.  The Toolkit provides First Nations and non-First Nations learners, teachers, schools, institutions and the Canadian public with a resource that fosters a spirit of cooperation, understanding and, most importantly, action.  The Toolkit is currently available at www.afn.ca.

Memorandum to Cabinet: Unlocking Investments for First Nations Education

We acknowledge and highlight success to date in achieving First Nations control of First Nations education, yet there continues to be barriers to student success.  Helping to secure fair funding for First Nations children and students remains a key priority for the AFN.  Federal funds for education were set aside in the 2016 federal budget.  Earmarked for “Transforming First Nation Education,” approximately $665 million will be available soon to First Nations across the country to design their own regional funding agreements based on real needs.  Based on direction from Chiefs-in-Assembly, the AFN Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE) is working with the office of the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada on a Memorandum to Cabinet that will make these funds available to First Nations.

A Memorandum to Cabinet is a document used by a Minister to propose and explain a new measure or new initiative and to obtain cabinet approval.  In this case, it is a necessary step to achieving policy and program change for federal education programming and funding.

First Nations and the AFN have been advocating since 2001 for policy and program reform that provides core funding for education directly to First Nations governments, education organizations and schools. The intent of the Memorandum to Cabinet is not to develop federal legislation for First Nations education and the federal government will not delegate any education responsibilities or funding to any provincial or territorial government. Efforts toward the Memorandum to Cabinet are based on respecting, protecting and enforcing First Nations inherent rights and Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction.  The goal is to allow for direct transfers to First Nations governments for First Nations education. Jurisdiction will remain with each First Nations Chief and Council.

For more information about the Memorandum to Cabinet process please visit www.afn.ca or connect directly with the Chiefs Committee on Education representative in your region.

First Nations Post-Secondary Education Federal Review

The federal government is conducting a review of First Nations post-secondary education funding as part of commitments made in Budget 2016.  The AFN is working with First Nations education experts who are facilitating the development of a report and recommendations to be incorporated into the federal review.

Technical teams made up of First Nations leaders, learners, directors of education and representatives from First Nations education institutes from across the country are currently reviewing federal post-secondary education programming.  With the help of independent facilitators, the two technical tables (one to address the needs of First Nations students, the second to address the needs of First Nations education institutions) are analyzing current funding structures and identifying gaps and opportunities for improvement.  These teams will provide recommendations with the intent to create policy changes that will improve access to post-secondary education and improve supports required for student success.

The AFN anticipates a report with recommendations will be available for review by Chiefs-in-Assembly in July 2018. For more information and to hear more about the review process from technical team members visit www.afn.ca.

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Roy WhiteduckAFN BULLETIN – UPDATE: First Nations Education May 2018
Assembly of First Nations
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