First Nations groups reject federal Education Act

October 9, 2013

With an expected October release of a federal First Nations Education Act on the horizon, several First Nations organizations have released statements rejecting the federal imposition of education legislation. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs, First Nations Summit, the BC Assembly of First Nations, and the Assembly of First Nations are calling on the federal government to put aside the released blueprint for the Education Act and ensure that any legislation be drafted in a spirit of reconciliation and partnership with First Nations. The 12 membership bands of the Prince Albert Grand Council hope to have their own education acts complete before parliament resumes this month, and intend to present their education acts to James Anaya, the United Nations special rapporteur on Indigenous issues, who is currently touring the country to investigate the country’s relationship with First Nations communities. The Chiefs of Ontario have also issued a statement of rejection, stating that “federal unilateral processes fail to recognize First Nations’ priorities, decision-making and jurisdiction.” In a recent interview, AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo voiced concern that the forthcoming act will impose standards that do not reflect Indigenous culture and language, and that funding will not be increased. AFN News Release | Prince Albert Daily Herald | Chiefs of ON statement | CBC | Vancouver Sun