Fact and Reconciliation progress on schooling calls to motion
By Cory Bilyea
Reporter for the local journalism initiative
Many indigenous peoples in Canada who grew up on a reservation have not received the adequate education necessary to obtain and maintain employment in majority society and have been condemned by many for doing so.
This condemnation, caused by the misleading and often untrue doctrines taught in mainstream schools and spoken at kitchen tables, is part of the legacy of the boarding school system and the Indian Act.
One of the many misconceptions about indigenous peoples is that they receive “free secondary education”. That is not true.
Many indigenous peoples lost their rights, indigenous identity, among other things, when they left the reservation and went to university, like an indigenous woman marrying a white man.
In 1887, Canada’s First Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, said, “The great aim of our legislation was to abolish the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the rest of the Dominion as quickly as they are adaptable.”
Indian law states: “Authorization of any First Nation Admitted to a University (Amendment 1880) 99. (1) Any Indian who may be admitted to a Doctor of Medicine or other degree from a University of Science, or who are licensed in any province of the Dominion to exercise the right either as a lawyer or as a barrister or counselor or as a solicitor or attorney or notary public, or who may enter the Holy Order or be licensed by another The denomination of Christians as ministers of the Gospel, upon request to the General Superintendent, ipso facto, may be authorized in accordance with the provisions of this law; and the superintendent general may give him an appropriate allotment of land from the land belonging to the gang of which he is a member. “
Accords between the Crown and Native Americans existed prior to the Confederation and the British North America (BNA) Act.
Aspects of the agreements are recorded in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and in the Treaties.
The BNA law stated that the federal government was responsible for “Indians and lands reserved for Indians”. Inuit or Metis were not specifically mentioned in the BNA law, however, as Canada’s territory was much smaller at the time and included neither the west nor the north.
As Canada grew after the Confederation, relations between the Crown and the First Nations, Inuit and Metis were negotiated and governed by treaties, the Indian Act of 1876, land claims, and other laws and guidelines. But until the 1982 Constitutional Act, there was no national constitutional recognition of Aboriginal rights and contractual rights.
The 94 calls to action include seven calls specifically for indigenous education. Number six was so long that it was covered by itself in a previous article in the Wingham Advance Times of August 19. We pick up where we left off:
- We call on the federal government to work with Native American groups to develop a joint strategy to address the educational and employment gaps between Native and non-Aboriginal people in Canada.
The Indigenous Watchdog reported that on April 1, 2019, Indigenous Services Canada (ICS) began implementing their new approach to funding indigenous elementary and post-secondary education using formula-based regional models comparable to provincial funding models. The distinction-based approach is designed to address the unique needs of each indigenous group in order to narrow the gaps in education and, ultimately, employment.
The government response also describes the newly revised (and renamed) Aboriginal training and employment program.
In response to the call for action number seven, the Government of Canada has provided the following information:
“The 2016 budget put new investments in primary and secondary education on reserve, totaling US $ 2.6 billion over five years. This includes means to meet the immediate pressure and to keep pace with rising costs in the medium term, as well as additional investments in literacy and arithmetic programs as well as in special needs education.
“Building on this investment, Indigenous Services Canada began implementing a new approach to First Nations elementary and secondary education on April 1, 2019, developed with First Nations education leaders and experts from across the country. This approach includes new formula-based regional models for First Nations education that ensure that students attending First Nations schools are supported with predictable and sustainable core funding that is more directly comparable to what students in provincial systems receive. In addition to this core funding, this new approach will provide additional funds for schools in reserve for language and cultural programs and all-day kindergartens for children between the ages of 4 and 5.
“The 2016 budget invested $ 969.4 million over five years in building, repairing, and maintaining First Nations educational facilities.
As for post-secondary education, the 2016 budget added 1.53 billion over five years. The 2016 budget also announced that funding for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program would no longer qualify for the Canada Student Loan’s non-refundable grants and loan support Program would affect. As a result, Indigenous students can access both student funding programs as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. This move will increase the non-refundable Canadian student grants and Canadian student loans that Indigenous students can receive.
“The 2017 budget provides:
$ 90 million over two years, beginning 2017 through 2018, for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program.
$ 100 million for First Nations and Inuit Skills Link and Summer Work Experience programs for youth employment strategy.
$ 5 million per year for five years beginning in fiscal 2017 through 2018 for Indspire, an indigenous-run, registered charity that invests in indigenous peoples education, on condition that Indspire makes $ 3 million per year sector raises appropriate funds from the private sector.
“The Canadian government has worked with Indigenous partners to conduct a comprehensive and collaborative review of all current federal programs that support Indigenous students seeking post-secondary education. The purpose of the review is to ensure that these programs provide Indigenous students with the resources and support they need to attend and complete post-secondary education.
Building on this commitment, Budget 2019 announced $ 815 million over a ten-year period, beginning in fiscal 2019 through 2020, and $ 61.8 million in support of indigenous post-secondary education.
– $ 327.5 million over five years to support First Nations post-secondary students and develop regional education strategies.
– $ 125.5 million over ten years and $ 21.8 million ongoing in support of an Inuit-led post-secondary strategy.
– $ 362.0 million over ten years and $ 40 million ongoing in support of a Metis Nation strategy.
“The 2016 and 2017 budgets committed to renewing and expanding the Aboriginal skills and employment training strategy beyond March 31, 2018. In the 2018 budget, $ 2 billion will replace the Aboriginal skills and employment training strategy. The extensive collaboration with indigenous partners took place in 2016 and 2017 to develop a proposal for future labor market programming. In addition, the Government of Canada has consulted with and heard from indigenous partners about the importance of a discernment-based approach that recognizes the unique needs of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Nation. To this end, the new program offers:
– $ 1.1 billion over five years and $ 235.7 million per year for a First Nations stream.
– $ 325 million over five years and $ 67 million per year for a Metis Nation stream.
– $ 161.2 million over five years and $ 32.6 million per year for an Inuit stream.
– $ 213.4 million over five years and $ 45.2 million per year for an urban or disconnected stream.
“Work with First Nations, Inuit and Metis organizations and service providers to ensure that all indigenous peoples have access to the skills development and job training they need to fully participate in Canada’s economy.”
We call on the federal government to address the discrepancy in federal education funding for First Nations children educated on reservations and First Nations children educated off-reservations.
Indigenous Watchdog: Three updates dating back to March 2018 still fail to mention funding for out-of-reserve education. January 21st. On January 21, 2019, the Government of Canada and the Association of First Nations adopted a new political and financial approach to First Nations kindergartens through 12th grade.
Government of Canada: To fill the education gap, the Government of Canada has substantial investments totaling 2.6 billion, including funds to meet immediate needs and to keep pace with cost growth in the medium term, as well as investments in language and cultural programs , Reading and numeracy skills.
The Canadian government has worked closely with various First Nations partners to ensure an inclusive and comprehensive participation process for the First Nations kindergarten through to the 12th First Nations organizations leading the operations. They provided an opportunity for community members to share their views on how to improve the success of First Nations students.
On January 21, 2019, a new jointly developed policy and improved funding approach were announced to better serve the needs of First Nations students on the reservation. The new funding approach will apply from April 1st, 2019:
– Replaces outdated application-based programs with improved access to predictable core funding.
– Ensures that core funding is comparable to provincial systems across the country while working towards additional funding arrangements based on the need to better take into account factors such as remoteness, school size, language and socio-economic conditions.
– Provides US $ 1,500 per student per year to First Nations schools to support language and cultural programs.
– Provides new resources to support full-time kindergarten in every First Nations school for children ages 4 and 5, and
– ensures that special needs education can be planned more easily, with fewer application-related requirements.
The Truth and Reconciliation series continues with the rest of the education calls to action in a subsequent article.
Cory Bilyea is a reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative and works for the WINGHAM ADVANCE TIMES. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Canadian government.
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