Aboriginal leaders hope to raise attention on education issues facing First Nations and alter the current bill before Parliament.
Ottawa (10 Dec. 2013) – On this the International Day for Human Rights, Idle No More activists and supporters are marching on Parliament Hill to protest the federal government's unilateral approach to First Nations' education.
Protesters will start on Victoria Island with speeches and march to Parliament Hill
The protest will take place during the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Special Chiefs Assembly which is taking place in Ottawa.
The Assembly will discuss major issues facing First Nations including claims reform, treaty implementation, energy and education reform.
The education bill which was first introduced in October 2013 is silent on funding and gives the minister power to impose third party management on under-performing schools, as well as to remove First Nations school boards. It also lays out three options for governance of schools.
The AFN is reminding the federal government that First Nations people need to have the freedom to self-govern, oganize and choose the best options for their communities. After years of control, unilateral decision-making and abuses, aboriginal leaders are not willing to give the federal government "the benefit of the doubt."
Investment in First Nation education
The AFN is asking the federal government to invest $1.9 billion in education over the next three years:
- $510 million in basic funding to keep schools operational
- $1.2 billion in curriculum and language service funding
- $266 million in infrastructure money
The meeting also coincides with Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike protest from 2012 which galvenized the Idle No More movement and prompted an important meeting between the Prime Minister and aboriginal leaders.
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