Gloria Galloway, Globe & Mail, May 5, 2014– The federal Conservative government has shelved the centrepiece of its aboriginal policy after proposals for improving on-reserve education were widely rejected by native leaders, and prompted the resignation of the national chief who had supported them.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt put a hold Monday on the legislation known as the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, three days after Shawn Atleo stepped down as leader of the Assembly of First Nations, saying his endorsement of the bill was becoming a distraction.
Mr. Valcourt had relied on the support of the AFN and its leader to justify passage of the bill – which would have boosted spending by $1.9-billion over multiple years – over the objection of other chiefs. So, when Mr. Atleo resigned, he backed down. “Given the recent resignation of the national chief,” his spokeswoman said in a statement on Monday, “following today’s second reading vote, any further consideration of this legislation will be put on hold until the AFN clarifies its position.”
The decision was greeted with relief by those chiefs who had spoken out against it, particularly provisions that would have tied new funding to standards set and monitored by Ottawa. But even those opponents said efforts to reform a system that is failing so many young indigenous people must continue.
“There is no time to kick and scream for joy here because we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Isadore Day, the chief of the Serpent River First Nation in Northern Ontario, who was one of the more outspoken critics.
“I think we achieved what we needed to,” Mr. Day said of the news that the legislation would not be moving forward, at least in the short term. “Now the work begins to refine the position – from being reactionary and on the defence to putting forward what the plan ought to be for First Nations education.”
Read More: Globe & Mail
Posted in BC Education, Equity, First Nations Education, Government, Idle No More, Indigeneity, K-12 issues, Student Movement, Students, Teachers
Tagged BC education, Equity, First Nations, Idle No More, Students, Teachers
Blue dots becoming symbol for First Nations Education Act resistance
Meme meant to represent those not included or considered in current FNEA legislation
Angela Sterritt, CBC News, February 12, 2014– A “blue dot” movement has taken the Twittersphere and Facebook by storm. Photographs of Indigenous people with a blue dot on their chest are being posted on social media.
It follows what happened at a joint announcement on the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act (FNEA).
The proposed legislation was announced in the Kainai First Nation on the Blood Tribe Reserve in Alberta. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt held a ceremony in the community to “seal the deal.”
Reda More: CBC News
Posted in BC Education, Equity, Ethics, First Nations Education, Government, Idle No More, Indigeneity, K-12 issues, Protests, Student Movement, Student Speech, Students, Teachers
Tagged BC education, Government, Idle No More, K-12 issues, Students, Teachers
Teaching for Change, Shelly Wen– Teaching for Change adviser Enid Lee described her recent experience in an elementary school classroom with Cree and Ojibwe First Nations students in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was asked to address controversial issues, and selected the contemporary Canadian-based grassroots movement Idle No More that “calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water.” Founded in 2012, Idle No More directly responds to centuries of treaty violations and has spread from Canada to California, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and beyond.
Enid soon realized that the students “had no idea what I was talking about. I learned a lot from their response. When I asked them what Idle No More meant, they asked me if I meant American Idol… I had to stop and think about it, the word ‘Idle,’ is not used if you’re 12 years old… So we can name things, we can do things, and it can completely go over the heads of young people.”
From this conversation with the students, Lee “learned how language needs to be broken down and broken up, and also how creating audiences for students is important.”
Lee left them with an assignment to be “members of a worldwide research team” on Idle No More. When she came back in two weeks, the students had taken the task to heart. Not only did they conduct interviews with elders, but they also found ways to share what they learned through power point presentations. While Lee introduced Idle No More to the students, they became her teachers about the movement when she returned.
Lee concludes, “It’s those daily surprises that hit me [and remind me] of the potential that we have in our work [to] broaden communities. The hope that I have for young people is just unlimited.”
Listen to Enid Lee
Read More: Teaching for Change
Posted in Equity, Idle No More, K-12 issues, Organizing, Student Movement, Student Speech, Students, Teachers
Tagged Critical Education, Equity, Idle No More, Students