A Few Things I Heard about Education at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly

mobile menu

A Few Things I Heard about Education at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly

I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about First Nations politics, specifically the workings of the Assembly of First Nations. Yet, since I work in the field of First Nations education (with MFNERC) I was interested to attend the AFN’s Special Chiefs Assembly Dec. 9-11, 2014, so I could hear what was said about the draft resolution – Federal Act for Funding First Nations Education.

I will also admit that I went to the assembly feeling somewhat cynical. I have read a lot of mainstream and indigenous-based media (plus many tweets) that have emphatically stated that the AFN must be either abolished or restructured. That it isn’t relevant. That it is too accommodating to the federal government. That it is disconnected from the communities it serves etc. I wasn’t sure what to expect, or if I would hear anything different or relevant. Well, I was actually surprised.

The Sacred Fire outside the Convention Centre in Winnipeg

The Sacred Fire outside the Convention Centre in Winnipeg

When First Nations education was being discussed, specifically the draft resolution, in my opinion the overall feelings were frustration, concern and a true desire for change. Most of the Chiefs supported the resolution, some opposed, but I was surprised by how insightful and impassioned their comments were. Like I said, I don’t know a lot. This was my first time at such an event. I was there to learn and observe. But at a time when many people are scrutinizing Chiefs and the way they are leading and using funds, I found myself hoping that action would be taken on the many ideas they were presenting. Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen. Yet, here are some statements I heard about First Nations education, (I must apologize that I did not get all the names of the Chiefs who spoke, it was sometimes hard to hear on the recording, and some of them didn’t state their name.):

Chief Walter Naveau, Mattagami First Nation: “When I was thinking about this resolution I gave it a great deal of thought. I thought back to 1969 when Jean Chretien was Minister of Indian Affairs and action took place from the federal government at the time to do away with aboriginal rights, to do away with the Indian Act, to force First Nations into mainstream society. Prior to that, our organizations across the country would not agree to anything. A young man from Alberta started a counter activity, what he loosely called the “Red Paper” and there were sessions across the country that globalized our people and a counter action took place and we all got on board. We raised the idea that we wanted to retain our aboriginal rights, treaty rights and how we view ourselves. This morning I thought back that far to look at a document that calls for the same kind commitment. Right now what’s needed from the Chiefs is support for an activity and an idea that is a starting block, this is what it’s about. I move this motion with those thoughts in mind.”

Chiefs waiting to speak on the education resolution

Chiefs waiting to speak on the education resolution

Chief Beardy, Muskrat Dam First Nation: “The way the federal government does what they propose, they will gradually put it in their own terms, not under our terms. So I would like to oppose this resolution. I’m not against education, but it will be like going back to the era of residential schools and we will be controlled in due time. And we will lose control of our First Nations education systems. So I urge you to think about this resolution and not go forward with it just because of the money. Vote against it. Let us come up with another alternative.”

Suggested amendment by a Chief: “The draft resolution has 6 main points. The 6th one states,  ‘THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Chiefs-in-Assembly understand that implementation of this resolution is contingent upon a favourable response from the Government of Canada and their provision of sufficient funding to undertake activities as outlined in the aforementioned documents.’ I strongly recommend, that we add: ‘implementation of this resolution is contingent upon full removal of bill C-33 from the legislative process.’ Until that is removed we cannot and should not engage in any discussion with the federal government.”

Chief of Dakota-Tipi First Nation: “This morning I would like to say that I support the document, but once again I find our Chiefs are not together. We all seem to be opting out or opting in of this or that. We should all be together on this. We’re falling right into the hands of the government, giving everything – the power over our education – to the province. …I mentioned at the last [AFN] meeting that our system is not being at one with our native culture. We have to have an economy on the reserves. Our education systems have to follow that. Our schools should go right into our own high schools and community colleges on reserves. This is where we have to start looking. The government of Canada, all the money they give us for welfare, put that into economic development. Then we can have jobs for our young people. Instead we’re forcing our young kids into the urban areas. The money that the government is offering [for education] is $2 million. We’re asking for $4 billion. What are we going to do with that money?”

Chief from Ontario: “We can look at this document and pick it apart but the question is, when are we going to move forward? When are we going to place some trust in the people who are experts in the field and have lived in that field all their lives. I could find flaws in this resolution, but I don’t think that goes towards what we want to do. I think that we should learn from our mistakes. I think that we have to address a process that is open, accountable and transparent to all First Nations in Canada, regardless of which treaty or aboriginal or pre-Confederation area you come from. It has to enable and empower communities to move forward on their plans for nation building. I believe that the process should be inclusionary. The spirit of the resolution is what we need to embrace. Let’s not let our children down. Let’s hold them up and build them up. Will we make mistakes along the way? Yes. But will we learn from the mistakes? That is the most important thing. I support this resolution.”

Our booth at the Trade Show

Our booth at the Trade Show

Other things I took note of that were said by various Chiefs:
“I’m afraid we’re only going for money.”
“Stop bickering and finger pointing. Close the circle and put our children in the middle.”
“I don’t think just passing a law and allocating new money is going to change statistics. We need to address the root causes of why children are dropping out and not going to school. Perhaps an alternative learning program needs to be developed so that children stay in school.”
“You know who’s failing? People who jump when there’s money.”
“Transparency and accountability are what matter.”
“The federal government treats us only as a ‘policy’. This has to change.”
“This resolution is the beginning stages of giving our children a safe place to learn. I support this. This is what our children need.”

This is just a small snapshot of the many things that were said. I came away thinking that there is so much more that needs to be debated and decided upon. In the end, the resolution passed, with some amendments. But I am even more curious, even hopeful, about what the future holds for First Nations education. The ideas are there, but will the actions follow through?

For what I believe is a pretty good summary about the recent history of the Assembly of First Nations and the job ahead for new National Chief Perry Bellegarde here’s a recent editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press:
Bellegarde, Canada Come Out on Top.”

This entry was posted in Blog, Education, First Nations, News & Issues. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. Posted February 17, 2019 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    If you are going for most excellent contents like I do, only pay a visit this web page all the time as it offers
    feature contents, thanks

  2. Posted February 18, 2019 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Provera 5mg Discount Best Website Cod Only Xenical Vrai Acheter cialis for sale Atorvastatin

  3. Posted March 6, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say
    that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  4. Posted March 6, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Very good article. I am facing a few of these issues as

  5. Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Buy Diflucan Online Australia Bordeaux Kamagra In Linea generic 5mg cialis best price Free Viagra Sample Sinusitus Zpac Vs Amoxicillin

  6. Posted March 8, 2019 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    My brother suggested I may like this web site. He was totally right.
    This publish actually made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info!
    Thank you!
    Kamagra usa
    [url=http://kamagrainus.com/]kamagra pills[/url]

  7. Posted March 10, 2019 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    What’s up Dear, are you genuinely visiting this web page regularly, if so after that you will definitely
    get good knowledge.
    erectile dysfunction pills (Mia)

  8. Posted March 20, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    lady viagra http://www.viagrakr.com/ what does a viagra pill look like

  9. Posted March 21, 2019 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    effoche best writing services review http://www.buyessayxus.com/ – essay writing

  10. Posted March 21, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    viagra par internet cialis 20mg generic cialis levaquin inhaler cialis pills cialis

  11. Posted March 21, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    custom powerpoint presentation http://buyessayxus.com/ admissions help

  12. Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  13. Posted March 21, 2019 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    AtopyGob cialis pharmacy discount http://www.cialisnorxs.com/ – online cialis generic cialis overnight delivery effoche

  14. Posted March 21, 2019 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    In Canada, an Indian reserve (French: … Indian reserves play a very important role in public policy stakeholder consultations, particularly when reserves are located in areas that have valuable natural resources with potential for economic development. Beginning in the 1970s, First Nations gained

  15. Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:37 am | Permalink
  16. Posted March 27, 2019 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    What’s up, just wanted to tell you, I liked this article.
    It was practical. Keep on posting!

  17. Posted April 10, 2019 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Thank you for another informative website. Where else may just I
    get that kind of information written in such a perfect method?
    I have a project that I am just now operating on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such information.

  18. Posted April 10, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    What’s up, I would like to subscribe for this website to obtain most up-to-date updates, thus where
    can i do it please help out.

  19. Posted April 11, 2019 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    It’s appropriate time to make a few plans for the long run and it
    is time to be happy. I have learn this publish and if I may I desire to counsel you some attention-grabbing
    issues or suggestions. Maybe you can write next articles relating to this article.
    I want to read more issues about it!

  20. Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Highly descriptive article, I enjoyed that a lot. Will there be a part

  21. Posted April 17, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I just couldn’t leave your website before suggesting that
    I extremely loved the usual info an individual provide in your guests?

    Is going to be back regularly to inspect new posts

  22. Posted April 17, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the issues.
    It was truly informative. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Posted April 18, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Amoxicillin 250mg Ml Prix Du Levitra En Hausse Clomid Effets Secondaires Duphaston dapoxetine en suisse Medsforless Biz Cialis Scheda Tecnica

  24. Posted April 19, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you
    can be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog
    and may come back down the road. I want to encourage that
    you continue your great work, have a nice morning!

  25. Posted April 21, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Very soon this site will be famous amid all blogging and site-building users, due to it’s fastidious content

  26. Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after browsing through many of the posts I
    realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly pleased I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking
    back often!

  27. Posted April 24, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    There’s definately a great deal to learn about this issue.
    I really like all of the points you’ve made.

  28. Posted April 25, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?

    I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. Nevertheless think of if you added some great graphics or video
    clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your
    content is excellent but with images and clips, this
    website could definitely be one of the most beneficial in its field.
    Awesome blog!

  29. Posted May 1, 2019 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    No matter if some one searches for his necessary thing,
    so he/she needs to be available that in detail, thus that
    thing is maintained over here.

  30. Posted May 1, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    After going over a number of the blog articles on your web site, I honestly appreciate your way of writing a
    blog. I book-marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site
    as well and let me know what you think.

  31. Posted May 1, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Hey there! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up for the excellent information you have got right here on this post.
    I am coming back to your site for more soon.

  32. Posted May 6, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Pharmacocinetique De La Ciprofloxacine Prix Du Cialis 20 online cialis Can I Purchase Tab Secure Ordering Provera Shipped Ups Cialis E Anemia Propecia Precios

  33. Posted May 9, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Periactin Canada Pharmacies That Ship To The Us viagra Cialis Rezeptfrei Vergleich

  34. Posted May 11, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Levitra Ricetta Medica Cialis Place Monge cialis overnight shipping from usa Itchy Amoxicillin Rash Cialis Da 20

  35. Posted May 16, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Hi, I desire to subscribe for this web site
    to obtain hottest updates, therefore where can i do it please assist.

  36. Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    I every time used to read paragraph in news papers but
    now as I am a user of web so from now I am using net for articles,
    thanks to web.

  37. Posted May 17, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little homework on this.
    And he actually ordered me dinner due to the fact that I discovered it for
    him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this issue here on your internet site.

  38. Posted May 17, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    What’s up, everything is going well here and ofcourse
    every one is sharing information, that’s actually fine,
    keep up writing.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  • Product Categories

  • Your Cart

  • Shop LeftHand Side Info


    Unit 2 -1100 Waverley St
    Winnipeg, MB R3T 3X9
    Phone: 204-594-1290 ext. 2243
    Fax: 204-942-2490

    MFNERC provides certain resources free of charge to First Nations educators working in Manitoba. Please contact us at shop@mfnerc.com for approval.

    For information or inquires regarding the publishing process please contact publishing@mfnerc.com