This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
2nd Floor – 275 Portage Avenue • Winnipeg, Manitoba • R3B 2B3 • Telephone: (204) 956-0610 • Fax: (204) 956-2109
March 11, 2013 Mr Stephen Gagnon Via e-mail at Engagement-Education@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca Director General, Education Branch Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Terrasses de la Chaudière 10 Wellington, North Tower Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H4 Dear Mr. Gagnon: RE: EDUCATION ENGAGEMENT
Please accept this letter as a rejection of your invitation to your consultation process on Federal legislation for First Nations education scheduled to be held in Winnipeg on March 12 & 13, 2013. The basis for a relationship with Canadian governments on Education planning for our young people is a Treaty-based discussion which this current federal government does not acknowledge. In your effort to carry out the policy decisions of the federal government, you are participating in a degradation of the treaty relationship which is not only an affront to the foundations of the Canadian nation state, it is unconstitutional for a popular government of the day to attempt to make decisions that will derogate or abrogate treaty matters. A federal legislative exercise on education was overwhelmingly rejected by the Chiefs in Assembly at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in October 2012 and again December 2012. The AFN position was affirmed by the Chiefs of Manitoba in December 2012. The federal governments efforts to bypass the decision-making mechanisms of Chiefs from across Canada and here in Manitoba is very disrespectful and any manufactured consent from this coercive exercise will be considered invalid to many Treaty people who hold some hopes for a relationship based in Treaty. If Canada had historically lived up to its commitments under treaty, and the education provisions of our treaties, this discussion would be moot. The fact that successive generations of indigenous people have either been educated in the residential school system or in an underfunded education program onreserve, demonstrates the failures of Canada to live up to commitments made. In Manitoba, dedicated First Nations professionals have persisted in their efforts to create and promote First Nations education for First Nations people. This may lead to an education law of our own to bring to the leaders of Manitoba for consideration and implementation. The starting point for a treaty-based discussion with First Nations people is to gain the respect and the trust of the people. The current Harper government has not done that. As such, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs will not accept your consultation process. Sincerely, ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA CHIEFS
Derek J. Nepinak, LLB, B.A.(Hons.) Grand Chief, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
HEAD OFFICE: Swan Lake First Nation • Unit 9-4820 Portage Avenue • Headingley, Manitoba • R4H 1C8