Update on things happening in Rotary and indigenous communities, including current events – Rotary luncheons with guest speakers, open community and cultural gatherings, etc.

 

 

 

 

NESKANTAGA EDUCATION CENTRE

PO BOX 106

LANSDOWNE HOUSE, ONTARIO

P0T-1Z0

PH.807-479-2565 FAX.807-479-1178

October 31, 2014

Rachel Ward

Manager, Stakeholder Relations, OLPC Canada

215 Spadina Avenue Suite 160

Toronto, ON M5T 2C7

On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, and students of the Neskantaga Education Centre, I wish to express sincere gratitude to your organization, One Laptop per Child Canada and our sponsor, the Rotary Club of Toronto, for the generous donation of twenty tablets and eight computers to our students.

We are indeed grateful to the organizations for their wonderful support. The students are heavily engaged in using the devices, and have been observed lying on the carpet or sitting at their desk watching educational videos, being engaged in science experiments, learning their times tables, or simply chatting with each other using the computers. They also like to read the many books that are available to choose from, take pictures, and learn to play the piano/guitar while singing the musical scale.

The use of the machines not only seem to promote autonomous learning among our students from JK-Grade 8, but the children are enthused that they have a device that can stimulate their natural curiosity and learn a variety of educational information using their ingenuity. Certainly, they have made a huge difference in the lives of our students here at NEC.

Thank you once again and we do look forward to future support for our students.

Sincerely,

Noverene Taylor
NEC-Principal

 

 

First Nations want fair share of any pipeline profits, says Atlantic chief

FREDERICTON • The Atlantic regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations says aboriginal communities in New Brunswick will demand a fair share of any natural
resource developments that involve their territories – including pipeline projects.

Roger Augustine reacted Wednesday to comments earlier in the week by former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna who said he is optimistic the proposed Energy East pipeline proposal will succeed, partly because there are fewer First Nations issues to impede the project.

McKenna was referring to the fact that First Nations people in the province have signed treaties while in other parts of Canada, court battles over aboriginal title
could derail major pipeline projects, such as the Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C..

Augustine said the Peace and Friendship Treaties of the 18th century did not cede to the Crown the territory that would become the Maritimes. Instead, the treaties
established co-jurisdiction over the land.

He said First Nations chiefs, councillors and communities in New Brunswick are looking at the Energy East pipeline as a business opportunity.

"If they are going to pipe this black gold through our territories, we want part of that gold," he said.

"We are not asking anyone to give us anything – we continue to press the claim that it is not Crown land, this is the unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet
nations. The thing I am concerned about is that we are not being heard. We want to be partners. We have resources now. We are not going into this deal with hat in
hand. We are prepared to pay our way in and become equal partners and share the wealth that is going to be flowing through our territories."

Read more...

Published on: November 4, 2014Last Updated: November 4, 2014 7:43 PM EST

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Ghislain Picard hopes to sit down to talks with the federal government on aboriginal school funding.

Sean Kilpatrick / CPShareAdjustCommentPrint

Canada's aboriginal leaders are calling on the federal government to withdraw its controversial First Nations education reform bill and meet with them to discuss a "new approach" to the issue.

Their request comes six months after Prime Minister Stephen Harper's governing Conservatives put its proposed legislative reforms on ice and halted plans to invest new funds in the First Nations school system.

At the time, the government took the action after the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) formally declared its opposition to Bill C-33.

Since then, the issue — which the Tories once identified as a priority to improve the lives of indigenous people — has been deadlocked.

But AFN chiefs say they want their school system improved and they are urging the government to sit down for talks on how to do it.

"We are trying to get the government to understand that in order for the process to be successful, there needs to be engagement under the right conditions," AFN national chief Ghislain Picard said in an interview Tuesday.

"And to us, to be imposing legislation — which was definitely the case — is not the proper way to go."

Picard said the government should enter such talks with a genuine recognition that any reforms to First Nations education must ensure control of the system by First Nations themselves. As well, he said the under-funded system should get extra resources immediately.

"Let's start from a solid ground. It certainly would invite government and ourselves to put our minds together and say, 'How much do we agree on?'"

Picard said the chiefs and government should aim to get a reformed system in place by September 2015.

"Obviously that represents a challenge, but I think that if we both believe that the issue of education for First Nations children is important enough, we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work."

On Tuesday, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt's office released a statement saying the government is "extremely disappointed" that the AFN "did not honour its agreement" on the bill.

"As we have said all along, this legislation will not proceed without the support of AFN, and we have been clear that we will not invest new money in an education system that does not serve the best interests of First Nations children; funding will only follow real education reforms."

The government said it will continue to "invest" in school programs that currently exist.

The chiefs deny that the AFN's executive ever reached an agreement to support the bill.

In April, the government introduced Bill C-33, which proposes to hand control of on-reserve education to First Nations, while also setting standards. The government promised to provide $1.9 billion in new funds.

Valcourt had said improving education could have a "transformational" effect on First Nations and could reduce incarceration rates, suicide rates and violence against aboriginal women.

Sixty per cent of First Nations youths in their early 20s do not have a high school diploma, compared to 10 per cent among non-aboriginals.

But a political firestorm erupted. Shawn Atleo, who was then national chief of the AFN, faced a revolt from some aboriginal leaders who felt he had gone too far in supporting Harper's plan.

Some chiefs said the bill fell short of providing sufficient funds for schools on reserves and actually gave the federal government control of the system.

In early May, Atleo stepped aside and several weeks later the AFN chiefs rejected Bill C-33.

Picard said that the AFN has sent letters to Harper and Valcourt but "no substantial replies have come back."

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Aboriginal chiefs seek progress on education reform

OTTAWA CITIZEN – Mark Kennedy Published on: November 4, 2014Last Updated: November 4, 2014 7:43 PM EST

Canada's aboriginal leaders are calling on the federal government to withdraw its controversial First Nations education reform bill and meet with them to discuss a
"new approach" to the issue.

Their request comes six months after Prime Minister Stephen Harper's governing Conservatives put its proposed legislative reforms on ice and halted plans to invest
new funds in the First Nations school system.

At the time, the government took the action after the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) formally declared its opposition to Bill C-33.

Since then, the issue — which the Tories once identified as a priority to improve the lives of indigenous people — has been deadlocked.

But AFN chiefs say they want their school system improved and they are urging the government to sit down for talks on how to do it.

"We are trying to get the government to understand that in order for the process to be successful, there needs to be engagement under the right conditions," AFN
national chief Ghislain Picard said in an interview Tuesday.

"And to us, to be imposing legislation — which was definitely the case — is not the proper way to go."

Picard said the government should enter such talks with a genuine recognition that any reforms to First Nations education must ensure control of the system by First
Nations themselves. As well, he said the under-funded system should get extra resources immediately.

"Let's start from a solid ground. It certainly would invite government and ourselves to put our minds together and say, 'How much do we agree on?'"

Picard said the chiefs and government should aim to get a reformed system in place by September 2015.

"Obviously that represents a challenge, but I think that if we both believe that the issue of education for First Nations children is important enough, we need to roll
up our sleeves and get to work."

Read more...

Time to transform First Nations education for success

Our children and their education continue to be a critical priority.

By AFN NATIONAL CHIEF GHISLAIN PICARD
<http://www.hilltimes.com/author/AFN%20National%20Chief%20Ghislain%20Picard> |
Published: Monday, 11/03/2014 12:00 am EST
Last Updated: Monday, 11/03/2014 12:21 am EST

http://www.hilltimes.com/opinion-piece/politics/2014/11/03/time-to-transform-first-nations-education-for-success/40119

MONTREAL—In the coming days, First Nations leaders and experts will be taking a message to Parliamentarians to let them know that our children and their education
continue to be a critical priority. The messages are simple: ensuring success for our children requires First Nations control of First Nations education; First
Nations reject federal legislation Bill C-33 because it is not about First Nations control of education; and First Nations continue to advance their plans to take
responsibility for education and we call on the government to work with us.

First Nations have the right and responsibility to educate our children. This right was confirmed in treaties and articulated in national policy statements like Indian
Control of Indian Education in 1972 and First Nations Control of First Nations Education in 2010.

We hold firm to this position because it works. Where we see First Nations control we see success. The Mi'kmaw school system in Nova Scotia—Mi'kmaq Kina'matnewey— boasts a secondary school graduation rate near 90 per cent, exceeding provincial and national averages, fostering students fluent in mainstream curriculum and their own language and culture. There are others, like the Cree School Board in James Bay and the Kahnawake Mohawk Nation.

First Nations education is a right, and it is the right approach.

This is why First Nations reject Bill C-33. Its name aside, it does not provide for First Nations control.

First Nations set out five key components essential for genuine First Nations control of First Nations education. We have been very public in sharing these
principles, yet Bill C-33 fails to address them.

Read more...