Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Text Size

First Nations education act spurs protests

By Andrea Hill, The Leader-Post

The chiefs of Saskatchewan's First Nations will do "whatever they have to" to protest the federal government's controversial First Nations Education Act, says Chief Delbert Wapass of the Thunderchild First Nation.

"We are open to do whatever to ensure that we are heard," Wapass said Tuesday.

"People are going to come out in numbers, and you're going to see it."

Earlier this week, First Nations leaders from across Canada met in Ottawa to denounce the First Nations control of First Nations Education Act, which aims to standardize education provided by First Nations schools on reserves.

Leaders said they will target the Canadian economy if the government refuses to listen and said they could possibly stop traffic on the Ambassador Bridge that connects Windsor, Ont., to Detroit.

Wallace Fox, chief of Saskatchewan's Onion Lake Cree Nation, was among the leaders in Ottawa. He said he hopes differences can be resolved without such drastic measures, but that he's prepared to participate in such a blockade if the federal government refuses to scrap the act.

"Other Canadians wouldn't tolerate this. Why do we have to?" he said.

Though the national Assembly of First Nations has described the bill as a "constructive and necessary step" to improve the quality of education on reserves, Fox and other First Nations leaders feel the proposed legislation gives the federal government too much control over aboriginal education.

"A foreign government is telling our people what to do once again, as they've done for the last 135 years," Fox said. "The minister of Indian affairs has exclusive control and authority to say yea or nay in terms of curriculum and other developments in education."

Fox said anger over the education act will likely spark a wave of protests across the country this summer, similar to what was seen at the height of the Idle No More movement that launched in late 2012.

"The energy is there, the environment is there," Fox said.

Idle No More activist Erica Lee agreed there will "absolutely" be more protests this summer because of the significance of the proposed education act.

"Education for First Nations people is something that we struggled so hard to gain control of. It's something that we've had to work so hard to protect," she said.

Perry Bellegarde, regional chief for Saskatchewan on the AFN executive, said more analysis of the bill is needed before people rush to protest it.

"There's a huge gap in teacher's salaries, there's a huge gap in lack of resources and libraries - that's just not on in 2014, so we have to look at options," he said. "It's such an important piece to close the education gap among First Nations people that you can't dismiss anything that may have an impact on that."

Bellegarde said the bill will be discussed further at a provincial chiefs meeting at the end of May.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Education & Training

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...


obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit


First Nations Cultural Interpreter PM – 02 Riding Mountain National Park Seasonal Indeterminate

(May to October) From $54,543 to $58,764

Closing Sept. 19, 2014

Read More

Regional Media Officer– Temp (Until Nov 2015) –F/T Position

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / NDP Research Office

Location:131 Queen Street, Suite 10-02, Ottawa, ON


Communicate regularly with regional media outlets (community newspapers, radio stations, student media, ethnic media, etc.) to propose ideas for interviews and opinion content Read more...

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Workforce Report

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that highlights initiatives to improve the workforce participation of Aboriginal peoples. 

Opportunity Found: Improving the Participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s Workforce (December 2013)  

click image to download report

Tue Sep 23 @ 3:00PM - 04:15PM
FNHMA National Conference 2014
Sun Oct 05 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
INIHKD & Manitoba NEAHR Conference 2014


September 2014
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday


Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins