National Panel on First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education Special Chiefs Assembly April 12-13-14, 2011 Mandate • 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. Background • 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 experience. 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 consideration. The Report cont’d • The Terms of Reference state that the engagement work of the National Panel will in no way: – 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 include: • 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 Committee. 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 Rapporteur • 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 studies? • 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. Opportunity • 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 legislation? 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 attained. • 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 purpose. • 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. Decision • 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.