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FSIN questions need for ‘paternalistic’ federal Education Act

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations says federal Education Act blueprint fails to address underfunding.
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations says federal Education Act blueprint fails to address underfunding. Supplied / FSIN

SASKATOON – Calling it “paternalistic,” the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) says the federal education act blueprint fails to address what they say is chronic underfunding.

According to the FSIN, First Nations schools receive approximately 60 per cent of what provincial schools receive in funding.

“We are frustrated that the federal government continues to put First Nation Education Legislation as the cure for the education issues that face First Nations,” said FSIN Vice-Chief Bobby Cameron in a release.

“The education blueprint ignores countless studies and reports which clearly indicate that the underfunding of First Nation education systems is the number one concern in First Nations education.”

Cameron made his comments after the federal government released its blueprint to develop a First Nations Education Act.

The blueprint proposes First Nations would be enabled to design and implement their own education system while meeting or exceeding minimum standards.

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The government is asking for feedback from First Nations on the blueprint.

Instead, Cameron is calling on First Nations to take control by developing their own education acts and to ignore any federal legislation that is enacted.

“This government continues to show that they can’t be trusted to keep their word when they make agreements, like they did with our relatives in the east,” said Cameron.

“They made education promises to them in an agreement and now today they fail to fulfill those obligations.”

The government is looking to introduce the legislation this fall with an implementation date of Sept. 2014.