COO press release
December 14, 2010
Ottawa, ON - Today on Parliament Hill, Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse presented to the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples to discuss First Nations education challenges and opportunities. The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples is currently undertaking a nation-wide study to examine potential strategies to reform primary and secondary education so that it can better support and improve the education outcomes of First Nations learners.
In his opening remarks to the Committee, Regional Chief Toulouse indicated that the First Nations in Ontario are encouraged by the federal governments’ recent endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) stating that it is, “an ideal springboard for bringing national and international attention to the fundamental treaty right that First Nation young people have to an equitable, quality education”. The Regional Chief stressed the importance of putting the principles of the UNDRIP into action and that improving the education of First Nations children and youth is an ideal place to start.
Regional Chief Toulouse also expressed support for the recent introduction of Bill C-599 by the Bloc Quebecois in the House of Commons, which calls for the development and implementation of a First Nations education funding plan to replace the outdated formula currently used to fund First Nations schools across Canada. He further pointed to the December 9th announcement by the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations on the creation of a panel of experts to lead engagement on First Nation elementary and secondary education as a positive development. The Regional Chief emphasized that the focus needs to be on developing a concrete plan with clear steps forward and not simply another set of recommendations that are not acted upon.
“We must replace an antiquated system of isolated and under resourced schools with a systematic approach that links support, ensures capacity including the ability to plan and effectively manage this essential service – this basic right of our children to a good education” stated Regional Chief Toulouse. “The way forward must be centered on our students, must respect our rights, and must confirm a First Nation education system. Both of these elements are critical to achieving progress and to guarantee results for our students”.
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Chiefs of Ontario