London, Ontario March 16th, 2022 – In 2017 The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians signed a Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Education with the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada. We are pleased to announce that the current MOU has been extended for another five years. The extension of the MOU comes in part due to the resounding success of language and traditional teaching-based events, such as the Language Gathering Program and the Youth Development Camp both of which have had immense positive results and feedback in the form of increased beneficial knowledge of language and traditional teachings. What may be most pleasing is the continued use of the benefits gained through the Language Champion programs that have seen students continue to engage through the language with other community members to the enjoyment of many.
Grand Chief Joel Abram, who signed the memorandum as a representative of AIAI, says “This memorandum asserts the right of Indigenous Peoples to educate our people and work together to ensure culturally appropriate standards for our communities. The extension of this memorandum will help to establish an important connection between Nations but also an important step forward to preserve, recognize and revitalize the cultural teachings within our communities.”
Deputy Grand Chief Stacia Loft says “The fact this memorandum was formed is a historic moment in itself but more-so it’s extension demonstrates that meaningful partnerships can be formed for the rights and future of our K-12 First Nation students. Languages require preservation, cultural practices need to be recognized, and this MOU will ensure that we will have the resources to move ahead.”
The Honorable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services says “First Nations students deserve high-quality and culturally appropriate education to help them succeed. This five-year extension of the Memorandum of Understanding will give the partners valuable time to continue developing supports for students transitioning from First Nation schools to provincial schools, strengthening connections between First Nations and provincial educators, and developing community-based language strategies. I look forward to seeing this partnership with the Association of Iroquois & Allied Indians and the Ontario Ministry of Education drive increased First Nations control of First Nations education.”
Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce says “I am pleased this tripartite Memorandum of Understanding has been extended to provide culturally relevant education to First Nation students.” Lecce goes on to say “Through it, our government is reaffirming our commitment to promote Indigenous student academic success and to continue to build positive relationships with First Nation partners and communities in Ontario.”
Ontario Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford says “Ontario is committed to reconciliation, which includes recognizing and respecting the unique educational needs and priorities of Indigenous Peoples. Initiatives such as this Memorandum of Understanding help ensure culturally appropriate education continues to be available for First Nation students in Ontario.”
The original MOU between AIAI, the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada was signed on Feb 27th, 2017. Representatives in signing the extension are Assistant Deputy Minister of Education and Social Development Programs and Partnerships David Peckham and the Assistant Deputy Minister in Indigenous Education and Well-Being Division Denise Dwyer.