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Four arrows Newsletter on FNEA

Four arrows Newsletter on FNEA

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Published by Russell Diabo
A newsletter about Indigenous Issues.
A newsletter about Indigenous Issues.

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Published by: Russell Diabo on Feb 13, 2014
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06/16/2014

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 e-notes> from  fourarrows@rogers.com 13 February 2014 Edition
 
 A “Tweaked” Education Act Readied for Passage;
 High-Level Government Attempts to Co-opt Suppor
Canada’s Federal Budget 2014and the New First Nations Education Act
Thanks to APTN National News for information
news@aptn.ca @APTNNews
Ottawa, 11 February 2014 –
Federal Finance Minister JimFlaherty began his 2014 Budget message with a tribute tothe settlers, “the men and women who carved this greatcountry of the wilderness” nearly 150 years ago. As for First Nations, there is no new funding for educationor anything else for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.But the message prominently promised that if Parliament passes a bill called
 First Nations Control of First Nation Education Act
there is a promise of money in 2016. Deciding if that package is stick or if it is carrot is noteasy. Apparently if First Nation chiefs do not support proposed legislation governing the operation of on-reserveschools. No Act, no money.
Federal officials said the $1.25-billion has already beenset aside in the “fiscal framework,” but it won’t bereleased until after the legislation passes.
As the message put it, “We have invested in apprentice-ship programs and measures to increase the numbers of  people with disabilities, young people and AboriginalCanadians in the workforce by helping them find the jobtraining they need. But there is more we can and will do ...that is why the Prime Minister announced more than $1.9 billion in new funding to implement the
 First NationsControl of First Nations Education Act.
And that was the beginning and end of any mention of “aboriginal people” in the budget. The budget offered no new details on the educationagreement announced Friday – thus far only spoken about but with neither the government nor the AFN releasing acopy of the Agreement. The biggest chunk of new money, $1.25-billion for coreeducation funding over three years, will only beginflowing in 2016 after the next federal election.If the legislation is passed, First Nations will get themoney in addition to the roughly $1.5-billion Ottawaalready spends yearly on core education funding,according to federal officials speaking on background.The additional money will amount to roughly $417-million per year for three years. In addition, a 4.5%escalator will apply to the total amount after the first year,federal officials said. The funding will also be enshrined in the legislation, providing “stable and predictable statutory funding.”Critics point that even those numbers will still not providefunding for First Nation students equal to what the samestudents would be provided for in the provincial systems. Federal officials said existing education program fundingfrom sources like the New Paths for Education, First Nation Student Success Program and EducationPartnership Program, will be rolled into an overall corefunding stream.The budget is silent on when the new legislation isexpected to surface for tabling. Previously, thegovernment had said it wanted the Bill whisked throughHouse committees and debate, then Senate committeesand debate, all before March 31 so it would apply with theopening of the school year in September. The federal budget also repeated Friday’s announcementof a $500-million over seven years “First NationsEducation Infrastructure Fund” Ottawa is promising for the building and upkeep of schools beginning next year. The infrastructure funding is a continuation of the $175-million over three years announced in last year’s budget.The infrastructure dollars still fall far short of estimatesthat range a little over $2-billion a year to get reserve
 
<e-notes> PM Harper Calls Weird Lightning Meeting at Kainai To Announce “Agreement” With AFN on Education -2-an informative <e-note> by  fourarrows@rogers.com 13 February 2014 Edition
schools up to acceptable standards, according to aParliamentary Budget Office report from 2009.As previously announced, Ottawa will also provide $160-million over four years beginning in 2015 for an“Enhanced Education Fund” – transitional funding toimplement the proposed legislation.Part of that money will be used to create “First NationsEducation Authorities.” The creation of these authoritieshas created concern. The First Nations Education Council,which includes 22 Quebec First Nations as members,called these authorities “federal agencies” and said the proposed bill would not really give First Nations controlover their education.The proposed bill still carries some of the main aims of its previous incarnation, known as the
 First Nations Education Act 
 which was strenuously opposed by manychiefs, including the creation of minimum educationstandards consistent with provincial standards and establishing roles for First Nation educationadministrators while requiring annual reporting onoutcomes and performance.First Nations already agree to meet provincial standards inexisting financial contribution agreements with IndianAffairs.Federal officials said the fine details of the proposed neweducation bill still need to be worked out throughdiscussions between the Assembly of First Nations and Indian Affairs.AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo, however, said Fridaythat he believes that the agreement that gave birth to therenamed bill signals a turning point in the relationship between First Nations and the Crown.Ottawa sees it in a similar vein. “For this young and fast-growing population, this is a game-changer,” said the budget document.The federal government is also pledging to invest $323million to improve and construct water and waste-water infrastructure on reserves over the next two years.Ottawa will also be investing $40 million over five years beginning in 2015 to improve disaster management and mitigation on reserves. The budget also includes resourcesfor broadband connectivity in rural and northerncommunities, the First Nations Commercial FisheriesInitiatives, a two-year renewal of the Aboriginal JusticeStrategy and resources aimed at ending violence includingviolence against Indigenous women and girls.
The AFN Take on the Budget 
An AFN media release after the budget messagewelcomed “the announcement of new, significant and secured funding for First Nations education as afoundation for building stronger First Nations citizens,communities and governments.“National Chief Atleo stands with all First Nations incontinuing the press for investments in other priority areasthat will achieve success for First Nations and allCanadians based on fairness and opportunity.”He called the February 7 Kainai announcement coupled with the budget as “the beginning of a new era in First Nations education.”"First Nations have rejected unilateral control by thegovernment and are ready to articulate their vision of First Nations control of First Nations education," said the National Chief. <<<<>>>>
Thanks to Jorge Barrera, APTN National News Rosemary Barton, CBC Power and Politics Bill Graveland,, Canadian Press; Mark Kennedy, Postmedia Karina Roman, CBC NewsOlesia Palaki, iPoliticsand many others
<e-notes>
 is published as a service of FourArrows/Las Cuatro Flechas, providingcommunications among First Nations of theAmericas since 1968. Names may be added tothe distribution list on requests; names willbe removed on request. Four Arrowsreceives no funding to provide this service.Readers are invited to send material forpublication in
<e-notes>.
 
 
<e-notes> PM Harper Calls Weird Lightning Meeting at Kainai To Announce “Agreement” With AFN on Education -3-an informative <e-note> by  fourarrows@rogers.com 13 February 2014 Edition
There was a lot of whistling in the dark at Kainai HighSchool on the Blood Reserve in Treaty 7 Territory onFebruary 7. Prime Minister Stephen Harper chose a Friday location inan out-of-the way location to set out what he called “agreat day for Canada.” The occasion was “historic”.For his part, AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo said, “Today is about … fairness, opportunity and hope for First Nations children, youth and students,” said Atleo.“The beginning of a new era for First Nation’s children!” “Today is a victory!” Hooray! Horray! Horray! The details were far less shiny. There would be noincrease in funding until 2016. Then there would be threeyears of $417-million each. And the money seems to be connected with passage of a
 First Nation Control of First Nation Education
 whichlooks pretty much like the almost universally rejected draft proposal tabled by Minister Bernard Valcourt lastOctober. The gloss, glamour and glitter seemed not to have fooled the public, nor First Nations nor television media, whichseemed aggressive and caustic in questioning thestatements of the three proponents. Print media, on the other hand, generally reprinted thegovernment’s media release without reading further to seeif the contents were the same as what was on the label. The event took place at a high school on the Blood reservein southern Alberta, a two-hour drive south of Calgary. Watching the pageantry were some 300 federal officials, police, media and invited guests. The invitations bore thenames of Prime Minister Harper, National Chief Atleo,and Minister Bernard Valcourt. The government’s announcement claimed it had unveiled a retooled education plan for First Nations which it saysrecognizes aboriginal control over schooling.The plan calls for reserve schools to have minimumstandards consistent with provincial standards off-reserve.It also says students will have to meet attendancerequirements and teachers will have to be properlycertified. There was no mention about what will happen tostudents who play hookey, but the Act will provide that isa school doesn’t meet the standards set by the Minister, hecan send in a third-party manager to take over theeducation system until there is compliance.Ottawa is to provide funding for core education, whichincludes language and cultural instruction, of $1.25-billionsplit over three years – and not starting until 2016. There’sa provision for a cap of a 4.5% annual increase in place of the 2% cap imposed in 1996.Another $500-million divided up over seven years is to gotoward infrastructure and $160-million over four years isset aside for implementation. The first problem with analyzing these numbers is“compared to what?” How much is being spent now on“core education”? There are 518 schools with 120,000students to divvy up the money, a third of it for eachyear.That would be $3,475 per student, on average.As for the infrastructure, the money would provide$138,000 on average for each of the seven years for eachschool, $600 a year per student. Atleo called the deal the beginning of a new era for First Nations children.“Today is a victory for First Nations leaders and citizenswho have for decades, indeed since the first generation of residential school survivors, called for First Nationscontrol of First Nations education.”"Today is about ... fairness, opportunity and hope for First Nations children, youth and students," said Atleo.Outside the school Friday, nine protesters carried signsfrom the Idle No More movement. Inside, one woman briefly interrupted a ceremonial paddle-signing by Harper and the national chief.Shannon Houle said she represented people of Alberta'sSaddle Lake Cree Nation and of Treaty 6.
 photo by Enn Collins, CBC
 Prime Minister Stephen Harper & Friends at Kainai High School 
 

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