Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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FSIN helps Sask. First Nations create education acts

Supplying each reserve with a template for education legislation

Reported by Trelle Burdeniuk

The FSIN is urging all Saskatchewan First Nations to create their own education legislation before the end of the summer.

This is in response to news that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) will be creating a National Education Act by the fall of 2014.

The FSIN plans to send out education act templates to all Saskatchewan reserves.

"As Treaty Indian leaders of Saskatchewan and Canada, we try to be proactive, rather than reactive," said FSIN Vice Chief Bobby Cameron.

Cameron emphasized this move will ensure each First Nation has legislation in place before the federal government comes out with a national education act.

"We're getting prepared to say, 'This is where we're at, this is our total authority at the band level, you cannot come here and force something on us that we already have something on.'"

The FSIN said many of the outcomes AANDC is expecting from future legislation are already in place on Saskatchewan First Nations including attendance and structure requirements similar to the province, recognized high school diplomas and education support services.

He said implementing their own education legislation is a way of defending the treaty right to education and sending a message to the federal government.

"(We're asking) our chief and councils, our band members, our elders and our youth to incorporate their own education act that we're sending out, revise it to suit their own needs and then hand them to AANDC and say, 'We have our own act. We don't abide by or hearby listen to the act that you're bringing to us unless comparable funding is addressed."

Cameron said there is a huge gap in education funding between on-reserve schools and provincial schools that needs to be addressed as on-reserve schools get $6,500 per student and provincial school students get $10,500 a student.

Cameron said once comparable funding issues are addressed, they will be more cooperative and there will be improvements in First Nations education.

-With files from News Talk Radio's David Kirton

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