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Blood Tribe re-affirms position on First Nations Education

COMMUNIQUE

Blood Tribe Chief and Council

Feb. 6/2014

For immediate release

Submitted by kainai on Thu, 02/06/2014

Blood Tribe re-affirms position on First Nations Education

The Blood Tribe is firm on their position regarding First Nations Education.

The Government of Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) have drafted legislation that will impact education for First Nations students across this land. The Government maintains that this proposed legislation bill is necessary because it is the central recommendation of their National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education for students on reserve. It also purports that extensive consultations have been completed with First Nations parents, students, leaders and educators, as well as Provincial Governments, and all have been integral to the development and drafting of this proposed legislation.

It is the position of the Blood Tribe and Kainai Board of Education that this one-sided development of the proposed legislation has not met the Crown’s legal duty to consult and accommodate, as established by the Supreme Court of Canada. Given that education is a treaty right, Canada is obligated to meaningfully consult with the Blood Tribe whenever there are proposed changes that adversely affect those aboriginal rights as re-affirmed by Section 35 of the Constitution Act. The proposed First Nations Education Act is being forced onto the Blood Tribe without proper consultation. It is similar to how the Government tried to assimilate Blood children through Indian Residential Schools. The concerns and recommendations submitted by the Blood Tribe and Kainai Board of Education take the position that the proposed First Nations Education Act has been drafted unilaterally and takes away from the guiding principle of Indian Control of Indian Education.

True consultation would allow us to work with Canada to enhance education for our members, in fact we have made every effort to ensure this is available on the Blood Reserve to our members. But we are underfunded as compared to other jurisdictions and this failure to provide adequate funding is a major contributor to the gaps between the education which our students receive in comparison to non-First Nations students, gaps that the proposed FNEA purports to resolve. However, the FNEA does not address the fundamental issue of funding.

It is the view of the Blood Tribe and Kainai Board of Education that the proposed First Nations Education Act will see a gradual “off-loading” of responsibility to the Government of Alberta from the Government of Canada, in all matters relating to elementary and secondary education.

For more information, contact:

Rick Tailfeathers

Media Relations

Blood Tribe Administration

(403) 737-8106 or cell# (403) 308-0760

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