041211 SCA Education Presentation

National Panel on First Nations
Elementary/Secondary Education
Special Chiefs Assembly
April 12-13-14, 2011
• The National Panel is considered an independent
body, created to lead an engagement process to
explore and advise on the development of options,
including legislation and potential features of
legislation, to improve elementary and secondary
education outcomes for First Nation children who
live on reserve.
• As confirmed at AFN SCA 2009 by Chiefs and
Youth standing together and again in an AFN
AGA 12-2010 resolution First Nation education
has been illuminated as a clear national priority.
• With this direction the National Chief met with the
Prime Minister in October 2010 and an interest in
advancing a priority effort on First Nation
education was confirmed.
Background cont’d
• A follow-up conversation with the Minister of INAC
indicated a willingness to enter into a joint national
process to examine First Nation education. It was
agreed that the process:
result in a report submission;
be time-limited and focused;
build on previous studies;
directly engage the regions;
directly engage Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE);
use direct and varied ways to engage First Nations;
and ensure that panelists be educators with practical and relevant
The Report
• Following the mandate the report will advise
on the development of options, including
legislation and potential features of
legislation, to improve elementary and
secondary education outcomes for First
Nation children who live on reserve.
• The report will be submitted to both the
National Chief and the INAC Minister with
non-binding recommendations for
The Report cont’d
• The Terms of Reference state that the
engagement work of the National Panel will in no
– negatively affect treaty or Aboriginal rights;
– prejudice negotiations or settlements;
– prejudice negotiations for self-government, or existing selfgovernment agreements;
– or prejudice negotiations for education tripartite
agreements, or existing education tripartite agreements.
Time Limited & Focused
• First Nations have called for a short, focused
process resulting in a report for the AGA in
July, or a Special Assembly as required.
• It must be noted that the current election process imposes
a delay on reporting into the Fall of 2011.
• The Panel will focus on the systems needed
to enable education success with a primary
focus on legislation.
Build on Previous Studies
• The report of the panel will build on, not
duplicate, previous studies.
• The Panel has already been given an
extensive list of documents to review before
embarking on the regional sessions.
Regional Engagement
• The National Panel will conduct one national roundtable
session and eight regional sessions.
• The Regional Sessions are to be designed by each region to
express unique local challenges.
• They will hear from First Nation leaders, parents, students,
elders, teachers, provinces and other interested parties.
Engagement may include:
parallel engagement and outreach activities;
possible key meetings and/or site visits;
web-enabled dialogue;
submission of written reports and statements; and
previous studies and recommendations.
Regional Engagement cont’d
• Noteworthy elements of regional engagement
• Invitation list to be jointly drafted by INAC
regional leads and First Nation regions
• The reference to “provinces” and “interested
parties” indicates that it will not only be First
Nations that are invited to participate.
Role of CCOE
• CCOE members are to take a lead role in
organizing / hosting each Regional session.
• CCOE provides input on the process as it
unfolds through regular conference calls and
face-to-face meetings as required.
• CCOE Chair and Co-Chair are appointed to
the AFN-INAC Senior Officials Engagement
The Panel
Panelists are required to be educators, have practical experience
and proven results in education innovation and success.
March 18, 2011 panelists are announced.
• Chair, David Hughes
– President and CEO of Pathways to Education Canada
– extensive experience in leading and chairing
• George Lafond
– Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatchewan
– strong builder and supporter of community partnerships
• Caroline Krause
– Faculty Associate, Education, University of British Columbia
– locally, provincially and nationally recognized Aboriginal educator
• In an effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of
panel interpretation of information the AFN
contracted Dr. Rose-Alma (Dolly) McDonald,
Mohawk, Turtle Clan, as rapporteur.
• 30 years experience as a professional
consultant, technical writer, researcher, facilitator
and social reformer
What makes this different from previous
• This process has a cabinet mandate which secures the
involvement of the Prime Minister’s Office and increases
the potential of influencing the federal budget.
• The non-binding report will be provided to both the
National Chief and the Minister. Previous reports have
gone to either one or the other.
• This process is viewed as the first phase of what could
lead to multiple stages of engagement possibly leading
to new legislation which enables FN's control of FN's
education, and a guarantee of funding required
to adequately support our schools and systems.
• To move beyond the ‘status quo’ of the INAC
Education Reform agenda of FNSSP, EPP
and EIS that does not meet the standard of
FN’s control of FN’s education envisioned in:
– the treaties;
– our policy work;
– and affirmed in the UNDRIP.
General Concerns
• The AFN was minimally involved and the CCOE had no
involvement in the selection of the panel.
There are some concerns about the capability of the panel to fully
understand and accurately represent the needs of First Nations.
• Communication among the parties involved has lacked clarity.
• Federal behavior consistently fails to address the issue of the
government’s obligations to consult on legislative proposals
explicitly and clearly, based on the principle of free, prior and
informed consent as outlined in the UNDRIP.
Limitations of Participation
• Successive federal governments have consistently failed to
provide the necessary support to fully implement
comprehensive First Nations learning environments.
• Are there avenues other than legislation that should be
explored prior to committing to this process?
• The Terms of Reference do not adequately reflect the
demands of the CCOE
To incorporate a list of non-negotiables submitted by Ontario, Quebec and
Saskatchewan representatives.
To ensure funding comparability and culture and language are
addressed by the panel.
Limitations of Participation cont’d
• Aboriginal and Treaty rights to education have
been marginalized in the Terms of Reference as
non-derogation clauses.
• There are differences between the way Canada
and First Nations organizations describe the
primary focus of the National Panel’s work:
• Federal documents emphasize the need to improve First
Nations education “outcomes”
• First Nations documents emphasize the need to address
the longstanding, and well-documented underfunding of
First Nations education on-reserve
Risks of Participation
• There is divided support for this process across the regions in
Canada, therefore a unified voice is at risk.
• First Nations participation could be construed as ‘consultation’
towards legislation, as has occurred in the past.
• We have not yet explored the value of addressing the identified
needs of education for First Nations in Ontario through
Potential Benefits of Participation
• The process will proceed with or without
participation from the First Nations in Ontario.
• Participation will allow input into the process and
may provide enough clarity to increase the
comfort level with the process.
• Participation will enable First Nations in Ontario to
be involved in negotiating a set of proposed joint
principles to guide action following submission of
the National Panel Final Report.
Limitations of Non-Participation
• National agreement on the Panel process is not
• However, National unity on the issue remains a possibility.
• The ‘voice’ of First Nations in Ontario will not be
captured in the Nation Panel report.
• Will still be captured in the report to the National Chief and
the INAC Minister.
Risks of Non-Participation
• As the ability of First Nations to unify
decreases the risk of unilateral education
reform by INAC increases.
• First Nations in Ontario will lose the
opportunity to influence the National Panel
process and obtain clarity on objectives.
Potential Benefits of NonParticipation
• Demonstrates a positive contribution to the process of
developing options to improve elementary and
secondary education outcomes for First Nation
children who live on reserve.
• Provides an opportunity and incentive to engage in
regional sessions internally and develop a strong and
united direction for First Nations education in Ontario.
• Provides an opportunity for First Nations in Ontario to
define First Nations control of First Nations education
in a regional context and express that definition to the
National Chief and the INAC Minister.
Potential Benefits of NonParticipation cont’d
• Allows Ontario region to include other elements of
lifelong learning not included in the mandate of the
National Panel.
• Early Learning
• Post Secondary Education
• Maintains the prerogative of individual First
Nations to engage in the National Panel process if
they so desire.
Next Steps of Non – Participation
• First Nations in Ontario engage in a parallel process to
develop a report to be submitted to the National Chief
and the INAC Minister.
• Request INAC to direct resources to Ontario for this
• Request that the Rapporteur be made available to
provide the same services as those provided to the
National Panel process.
• Possible liaison with other regions not engaging in the
National Panel process.
• Require Chiefs in Assembly to decide whether or
not First Nations in Ontario wish to continue
participation in this National Panel process or
engage in a parallel process that results in a
report submission to the National Chief and the
INAC Minister.
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