November 23, 2004 - from http://www.afn.ca/Media/2004/nov/november_23_04.htm
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Responds to Auditor General’s Recommendations on First Nations Education
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine responded to recommendations on First Nations education in the Auditor General of Canada’s report released today in Ottawa. The report includes recommendations related to First Nations primary and secondary education and post-secondary education, noting that “educational parity is still a long way off for First Nations”.
“The lack of progress on First Nations education is alarming,” said National Chief Fontaine. “In the last four years there has been literally no progress in closing the gap in graduation rates between First Nations and Canadian citizens. At the current rate, it will take 28 years for First Nations to catch-up to the non-Aboriginal population. If this is left unchecked it’s going to create a crisis in Canada’s economy.”
The National Chief noted that in 1996, the federal government capped funding increases for Indian Affairs’ core programs (which includes education) at 2% per year. This does not match inflation or population growth and follow-up studies have found that the gap in overall quality of life between First Nations and non-Aboriginal Canadians stopped closing at this point. At the same time, recent studies show that the number of Canadians withdrawing from the labour force will exceed those entering by 2015. At the same time, the First Nations population is young – more than half the First Nations population is under the age of 25.
“Education is a key determinant in the quality of life of Canadians and it will be a key determinant in the quality of life of the country,” said the National Chief. “Our population is young and will be driving the country’s economy in the coming years. If Canada is going to be a player in the world economy then the only solution is for the government to work with First Nations and support our efforts to ensure our citizens are equipped and educated so they can become the work force of tomorrow. It is a simple but important truth that, now more than ever, our future is Canada’s future.”
The report also examined the problems with the government’s administration of the $273 million annual Post-Secondary Student Support Program for First Nations. The Auditor General reports that, in administering the program, the government does not ensure that as many students as possible have equitable access to the program. The number of students has been declining in recent years. In 1998-99, participation rates of Registered Indians was at a high of 27,157 but dropped to 25,075 in 2002-03.
“We have 10,000 First Nations students on waiting lists, ready and willing to further their education and contribute to the economy, but they cannot access the resources they are rightfully entitled to,” said National Chief Fontaine. “Access to post-secondary education is critical to the improving the quality of life for First Nations individuals, families, and communities. Post-secondary education is also a fundamental building block of self-sufficiency and self-government. It is true that we need more resources dedicated to education, but we can also make better and more efficient use of the available resources. First nations are best-placed to identify where the needs are because they deal directly with their students. What’s really needed is more First Nations input and control over administering the program.”
The Assembly of First Nations commissioned a thorough national review of First Nations post-secondary education in 2000 and found that there are two fundamental problems with the funding of First Nations post-secondary education in Canada:
The second point above is confirmed by the Auditor General’s report released today. The problems with how the funding is managed begin right at the center of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada – allocations to regions are made in blocks, and so regional senior officials can move funding amounts between program areas at their discretion. When funding is transferred to First Nations to disburse to students, the terms and conditions under which the money flows do not ensure maximum impact or benefit.
The AFN intends to work closely with the Federal Government to ensure that changes are made to both the way post-secondary funds are managed within INAC and in relation to the terms and conditions attached to funds when they leave the department.
“It is the fundamental position of the AFN that education at all levels is an inherent Aboriginal and Treaty right as recognized in the Canadian Constitution and international law,” said National Chief Fontaine. “The AFN is ready to work with government and has put many ideas on the table already to ensure maximum benefit to students, families and communities from existing funding amounts, and to identify and increase student funding so that First Nations participation rates in post-secondary education get back on a positive increasing trend. This is good for First Nations and it is good for Canada.”
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
One product from last week's KO Telehealth conference in Sioux Lookout was a 2 minute video created by Cal Kenny, Blue Mason and Tina Kakepetum-Schultz. The video is available on-line from the KO Telehealth home page at http://telehealth.knet.ca.
Along with this video four additional videos providing additional information about telehealth services in remote First Nations are available from a new web page. The four other videos include:
Health - Better access to services and support
|High - Low|
Fort Hope, Ontario
February 17, 18, 19, 20 2005.
PeeWee 11 & 12 yrs old
Bantams 13 & 14 yrs old
Midgets 15 to 18 yrs old
$200.00 Entry Fee
Deadline February 1st 2005
First 6 out town teams (per division to) to confirm
- cash prizes - trophies - medallions
Friday & Saturday Night Dances
For more information contact:
Clara @ (h) 242-1431 or (w) 242-1573
Eva @ (h) 242-1297 or (w) 242-1515
We will soon have an email address and a MyKnet.org website to keep you updated
Northern Nishinawbe Education Council Post Secondary celebrates 25 years!!