We call on the AFN National Chief, Shaun Atleo to denounce the actions of the Conservative Government and the Department of Indians Affairs, now known as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). In light of the following disturbing circumstances, we also respectfully ask National Chief Shaun Atleo to decline the acceptance of his impending Indspire Award for Education which he is scheduled to accept on Friday February 15, 2013 in Saskatoon.
February 8th, 2013 (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan): A meeting was scheduled by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (“AANDC”) at the TCU Center in Saskatoon for ‘consultations’ on Education. These ‘consultations’ stem from a joint Canada-Assembly of First Nations Action Plan on Education. The development for federal legislation on First Nations Education originates in a report entitled “National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education” supported by the AFN. During the meeting, no one from the AFN objected to this process despite much opposition from the grassroots people. This meeting is one of several ‘consultations’ that will take place across the country for the development of proposed federal legislation on education.
The creation of a First Nations Education Act will directly impact the Treaty term and promise to education as understood during the time of Treaty making, made by our Forefathers. The consultation process that was utilized is contrary to its own statement of “open and meaningful dialogue” and further, it contradicts the jurisprudence on the Duty to Consult.
The morning meeting was open to the public and was closed in the afternoon, which left many people confused. No reason for closed doors were given beyond, “it was a closed meeting for the afternoon”. Many grassroots people felt excluded from a process that directly impacts them, their children and future generations.
Grassroots people who wanted to attend the afternoon session were met with hostility and were refused entry at the door, as they were pushed and shoved by security guards refusing to allow them into the meeting.
Idle No More declares the process illegal and contrary to the international standard of free and prior consent as set forth, which Canada is a signatory, in the “United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP)”.
Furthermore, Idle No More declares the Treaties and Inherent Rights breached and/or infringed by the British Crown’s successor state, Canada as their was intentional physical exclusion of the grassroots people who are directly and detrimentally impacted by this proposed “consultation process”.
Dion Tootoosis (306) 221-9844
Sylvia McAdam (306) 281-8158