First Nations Education Act debate heats up

October 23, 2013

With Parliament resuming this week, it is expected that the proposed First Nations Education Act will be released shortly. As a result, numerous organizations and individuals have issued statements regarding the legislation, including Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt who stated this month that “reform will take place, funding will follow. But funding will not replace reform because the current system is failing these kids.” Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and Chair of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Education Morley Googoo recently stated in a letter that “the money issues must be addressed before there can be any meaningful talk about education reform.” An editorial in the Globe and Mail called for collaboration between Aboriginal groups and governments to ensure Indigenous youth get a chance to succeed. In a statement rejecting the unilateral proposed legislation the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation also called on the federal government to work alongside First Nations. Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, Mi’kmaw lawyer and professor of Indigenous law, politics, and governance Dr. Pamela D. Palmater, and Métis writer Chelsea Vowel also issued statements denouncing the top-down approach of the proposed legislation. CBC | Globe and Mail | Globe and Mail (editorial) | Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg FN News Release | Huffington Post (Bennett) | | Huffington Post (Vowel) | CTV