Safe, Equitable, and Culturally-Based Education for First Nations Students
As settlers and prospective Social Service Workers, we bear witness to the oppression of Canada’s First Nations people through inequitable access to education. We believe that First Nations students should not have to fight for equitable educational opportunities; however, we pledge to be allies as long as this fight persists- please join us!
- Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
- Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
The Honourable Bernard Valcourt
We are writing to demand that you seriously consider the right of First Nations children to a good education. We are asking for high-quality, culturally relevant education that is delivered in well maintained buildings that are safe and accessible, and are asking for equitable funding for First Nations education.
It is unacceptable that in Canada , First Nations children cannot attend a safe and healthy school. It is unacceptable that in Canada, First Nations education is influenced by outdated laws, policies and funding practices that do not support basic standards and we are urging you to make a conscious effort to respect the lives of First Nations people as you do non-native members of society.
While we commend the acknowledgement of the destructive effects of the Indian Residential School System, a verbal apology is meaningless when the Government continues to perpetuate systemic racial discrimination and cultural genocide by disregarding the right of First Nations children and youth to a good education. According to the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child, a child is entitled to an education that promotes their culture and enables them, on the basis of equal opportunity, to develop their abilities, their individual judgement, and sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society. First Nations children are not being granted this right to education.
We feel the need to speak up about this issue because it is a severe human rights violation that has both short and long term affects. If First Nations children and youth were given equitable funding for their education they would have more cultural opportunities, and with more cultural opportunities, they would build more confidence, self-esteem and a better understanding of who they are and the rich history of their families which is important for people to succeed in life.
We are writing to you today to demand an end to paternalistic policies that perpetuate colonialism and force Canada’s First People to live as second class citizens. We insist that you recognize and adhere to the earliest agreements between The Crown and First Nations and begin working towards a nation to nation relationship, as opposed to the current relationship that is defined in the Indian Act.
We bear witness to the oppression of Canada’s First Nations people and are committed to challenging any individual, group, or structure that impedes the well-being of Canada’s Indigenous population.
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