Harvey Yesno is speaking out against the federal government’s $1.9-billion investment in the First Nations Control of Education Act.
The Nishnawbe Aski Nation grand chief on Monday suggested the announcement, made Friday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, doesn’t go far enough.
“This investment is disappointing as it does not immediately address the chronic shortage in education funding in NAN First Nations, especially in the remote communities,” said Yesno on Monday after attending the announcement on Treaty 7 territory in Alberta.
“The severe underfunding of our education system is the single greatest impediment to the educational success in NAN First Nations and the only way to remedy this is an immediate and substantial investment in schools and education programming across NAN territory.”
Yesno went on to say in a release that his attendance at the meeting does not imply support for the Act.
He added he’s particularly concerned the funding doesn’t take effect this fiscal year and the money, $500 million spread over seven years and the entire country, fails to meet the 12-year backlog in school construction in NAN alone.
“Since 1999 we have negotiated in good faith on self-governance and education jurisdiction negotiations. We look forward to the Harper government to honour this process as the way forward,” said Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic.
Last November NAN’s chiefs-in-assembly declared its inherent and treaty right to control the future of education in NAN territory.
The release goes on to say NAN intends to continue negotiations with the federal government to secure control of their education jurisdiction.