Publications, opinions, and speeches
Improving Education on Reserves: A First Nations Education Authority Act
Published on 03/07/2008
A decade ago, the 1996 Census found that approximately 60 percent of First Nation on-reserve residents aged 20 to 24 had not completed high school. The 2006 Census results are unchanged: approximately 60 percent of First Nation on-reserve residents aged 20 to 24 still have not completed high school. The explanations for the lack of educational progress are several, ranging from the history of colonialism and forced assimilation through residential schools to the prevalence of poverty. On reserve, these factors are often compounded by an inadequate school system. The current on-reserve school system resembles village schools with none of the supports offered by modern school boards and provincial departments of education. Financing is unrelated to educational needs.
This paper recommends a new legal framework to encourage for First Nations the equivalent of the school consolidation movement that swept rural Canada many years ago. It describes a new federal statute which would enable reserves to join together to form First Nations Educational Authorities and establish regional First Nations equivalents of education departments under First Nations control, while setting out the mutual responsibilities for education of both First Nations and the federal government.
ISBN – 1-55382-281-1