AIAI supports Nation-based, Nation-developed, and Nation-delivered life-long learning programs that are based on holistic learning and strong connections to our families and communities.
First Nations have always and will always possess the inherent right to self-determination. This inherent right comes with the responsibility to govern our education as we see fit to ensure the survival as a people and as Nations. Our survival depends on our words, our ways, and our views of the world around us; and our education system is the vehicle to ensure all learners have the skills and knowledge required to become leaders of our Nations.
As an outcome of the Early Learning summit hosted by AIAI in November 2011, we developed an Early Learning Report which outlined a strategy for early learning for our Member Nations. This strategy included a vision, principles and identification of potential partnerships.
In January 2014, representatives from our Member Nations had the opportunity to participate in a First Nations Early Learning Asset Mapping exercise to assess and develop an Early Learning strategic plan for their communities. This initiative resulted from a partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Chiefs of Ontario. AIAI continues to assist the Chiefs of Ontario through their Early Learning Working Group on program challenges and underfunding.
Today, our systems are being subject to federal interference through legislation known as, Bill C-33: First Nations Control of First Nation Education Act. This bill was further tied to a national funding commitment of $1.9 billion over three years to begin in 2016 once the bill is passed.
Member Nations of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians continue to reject the bill as it has not met the five conditions regarding treaty rights, jurisdiction, language and culture, funding and meaningful consultation. Regrettably, Bill C-33 is now in its second reading in the House of Commons but is currently on hold.
This is a major priority for AIAI and has resulted in the following activities:
- AIAI position paper and presentation to the Senate Committee
- Rejecting the National Panel report due to lack of meaningful consultation and not addressing lifelong learning
- Participating in the development of the Chiefs of Ontario’s parallel “Our Children, Our Future, Our Vision” report that supports lifelong learning, First Nation jurisdiction and addressing education underfunding issue
- Submitting a position paper to the United Nations rapporteur regarding lack of consultation on the proposed legislation
- Various rejection letters to the Prime Minister and the Assembly of First Nations on the legislation and its process
- Leading the Ontario Action Committee to unified strategies in rejecting the legislation
- Planning and participating in various protest rallies, such as, Victoria Park, Toronto, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, flash mobs in London
- Meeting with the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada on the Association position in rejecting the legislation
- Continued public awareness presentations, briefing notes and email communication memos on the progress of the proposed legislation to AIAI Chief Council, AIAI Education Committee and member communities
In place of rejecting the bill, the Association is moved forward in the development on our vision for a First Nations education system. This strategy includes:
- Drafting an AIAI Education Law Framework toolkit consisting of a collective AIAI Education vision, lifelong standards and education laws
- Provided law and policy development training for Member Nations
- Collaborating with the Chiefs of Ontario on options for a proposed high level Ontario Support Organization
Since 2011, the federal government has attacked the Post Secondary program through its audit report, its proposed transfer of a third party, its imposed data collection system and the Post Secondary Summative evaluation proposed recommendations. All of these imposed federal initiatives have and will continue to have impacts on the Association’s Post Secondary positions on maintaining First Nation jurisdiction and accountability.
In response to the federal government’s position, AIAI has been actively involved in the following activities:
- An AIAI discussion paper on indicating First Nation jurisdiction, a “Free Tuition” option and to address consultation on the accountability modifications
- Planning and participation in the Chiefs of Ontario activities at the Post Secondary summit and the drafting of an Ontario Post Secondary position paper on jurisdiction and delivery structure, to address the funding issues, to improve access, accountability and student success. This report is still in draft
At this time, the federal government has placed Post Secondary on the back burner but this remains a major priority for the Association.
Other education political and advocacy activities include:
- Collaboration with federal and provincial on partnership initiatives. E.g. Education Partnership program, Student Achievement initiatives, curriculum reviews.
- Community direct capacity building initiatives. E.g. negotiation skills, law and policy training
- Community development initiatives. E.g. Math and Science Camp, Youth Employment opportunity, AIAI Education Scholarship
- Involvement with First Nation political organizations by providing member Nation’s directives for a collective Ontario positions. E.g. legislation, Tuition Agreement, Special Education and the Education Coordination Unit.
Events & Programs
- Pushing forward: a reflection on 2014 | December 19, 2014 (AIAI)
- Aboriginal Affairs department uses infrastructure funds to keep social and education programs afloat but still underfunded | November 13, 2014 (AIAI)
- Batchewana First Nation Responds to Bill C-33 Rejection | May 30, 2014 (Batchewana First Nation)
- Critical dialogue needed with respect to a First Nation Education Act | May 26, 2014 (AIAI)
- Letter to Minister Valcourt – First Nations Education | May 16, 2014 (AIAI)
- Stay the Course — Protect Our Children | May 2, 2014 (AIAI)
- An open letter to the Prime Minister on Bill C-33 | April 29, 2014 (AIAI)
- Bill C-33: First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act
- Chiefs of Ontario: Education
- Assembly of First Nations: Education
- 2015 AIAI Health Scholarship Application(Due April 15, 2015)
- 2015 AIAI Education Scholarship Application (Due April 15, 2015)
- AIAI Education Position Paper
- AIAI Post Secondary Discussion Paper
- AIAI Early Learning Report
- AIAI Education Scholarship