FSIN Growing Impatient Waiting for First Nations Education Promises to be Met

(Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatoon, SK) — The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations executive calls on the federal government to finally follow through on its promise to close the funding gap in First Nations education.

The Liberal Government campaigned on $2.6 billion for First Nations education and $500 million for education infrastructure with $50 million more per year for post-secondary education.

“An education is essential to the success and well-being of our children as they become the next generation of adults and continue on their paths of lifelong learning,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “We will continue to lobby for the funding our First Nations need so our children and communities can receive the education that they are entitled to. We have an inherent right to education, and a Treaty right. We are tired of waiting for government to work with us on education.”

What the Liberal Government announced in the 2016 budget was $2.6 billion over five years for education, $969.4 million over five years for education infrastructure. First Nation schools are still waiting for these promises to be met. Instead, an INAC report blames First Nations for not having structures in place and proposes a Canada-wide process to build these capacities without movement or support.

“We have been waiting for decades. The campaign promises were made and we were cautiously hopeful, so we waited. The budget was released and still we waited. We will still be discussing the funding gap in 20 years if there isn’t any movement from the bureaucrats at INAC,” said Chief Cameron. “The dollars that are required for much needed infrastructure and teacher salaries and resources in our schools are mired in bureaucracy by discriminatory reports that blame First Nations. Yes, there need to be structures of accountability — but that capacity needs to be built and you can’t do that without resources. Some regions and territories have all their structures in place and have worked tirelessly to get there with little or nothing.”

The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of the Treaties, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.