Members of the Prince Albert Grand Council are not happy with the Harper government’s new First Nations education act, so they are taking things into their own hands.
Member bands are currently drafting their own education acts which they plan on sending to Ottawa by the middle of next month when Parliament reconvenes.
At a press conference Thursday morning, PAGC Chief Ron Michel says the organization has broad support in challenging the federal legislation and is not worried funding will be cut for this open defiance.
“We’re getting the support from the United Nations on Indigenous issues,” he says. “So we’re getting a lot of support from those and we’re also getting support from not only our communities but the surrounding communities – non-First Nations communities.”
Michel adds overall the Harper government’s First Nation Education Act disrespects the inherent treaty right of Indigenous communities to run their own schools.
The PAGC also says the new federal act is redundant as its 12 First Nations already have a recognized Grade 12 diploma, educational support services and accountability.
A number of Saskatchewan First Nations are currently in a battle with Ottawa over its education legislation which they say has been drafted without proper consultation.
PAGC has sent a letter on the issue to United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues James Anaya and plans to meet with him when he comes to Canada next month.