The education mandate of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) is to provide lobbying and policy analysis services to its Member Nations in supporting and strengthening their education management and governance capacity to;
- Ensure Indian & Northern Affairs Canada(INAC) are fulfilling their roles and treaty responsibilities and adhering to the Member Nations directives on “First Nation control of First Nation Education” and lifelong learning. Education policy initiatives include;
- Elementary– funding for Band Operated reserve schools, school facilities, early learning initiatives, special education, transportation, provincial tuition and program development initiatives,
- Secondary– tuition agreement support services,
- Post Secondary– funding for tuition and student bursaries and/or scholarships.
- Maintain a formal relationship with the Provincial Ministry of Education in addressing tuition agreements, post secondary issues, opportunities and policy development.
- Ensure the duty to consult with First Nations is consistently followed and coordinated with and between federal and provincial governments.
- Establish an effective communication and networking process with the Member Nations on education issues and initiatives.
- Provide capacity building to the Member Nations to empower them in their self determination in building a brighter education future for their Nations.
Issues & Initiatives
The federal government is examining alternative delivery options to the Post Secondary Education program. AIAI Member Nations affirm the position of maintaining First Nation control and the need to address inadequate Post Secondary funding. AIAI activities include; lobbying, hosting and participating in First Nations education rallies and developing a Post Secondary position paper.
Elementary – Funding Renewals
INAC has been mandated to improve their accountability, examine education partnerships and to develop legislation on First Nation education. AIAI Member Nations’ position is to maintain First Nation control of their education systems and the need to have funding comparable to the Ontario provincial system. AIAI activities include lobbying, hosting and participating with the Shannen's Dream public awareness campaign, education rallies, developing an AIAI Education data system and a funding comparability report.
Elementary – Special Education
The current Special Education funding and formula provided by the federal government does not provide our most vulnerable students with the programs and services to meet their needs. Under these restrictions, AIAI has worked with the Chiefs of Ontario in developing an equitable formula for Ontario First Nations along with supporting a Member Nation’s Human rights complaint.
The Ontario Ministry of Education has recently implemented a full-time Kindergarten program. Member Nations do not have the funding required to offer a similar program in First Nations schools and/or day cares. Capacity-building has been provided to Member Nations on the integration of health, social, and education support services to assist in the development of a full-time Kindergarten program. AIAI Social and Education departments will be working together to host an AIAI Early Learning summit for an AIAI Early Learning vision.
Member Nations, federal and provincial governments agencies are working together to develop partnership relationships for improving student success and ensuring Member Nations mandate on First Nation control and life-long learning. AIAI continues to work in partnership with the Chiefs of Ontario–First Nation Education Coordination Unit, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, INAC and the Indigenous Education Coalition. Some initiatives are; a First Nations Student Achievement Strategy, Tuition Agreement Resource Guide, Special Education funding formula and curriculum reviews.