Plans between Ottawa and the First Nations to overhaul the Native education system have fallen apart.
The federal government and First Nations leaders were discussing plans for legislation that would create schoolboard-type systems, giving Native governments more control over their education systems.
However, the plans were rejected and discussions halted on October 4 after three days of meetings. Many Native leaders were unhappy with the proposed legislation, believing too many closed-door decisions were being made by Ottawa and that the educational reforms would not be beneficial to all communities.
AFN National Chief Shawn Alteo has recommend that Native leaders continue consulting options with their communities as discussions will continue in December.
The high-school graduation rate for some Native communities is under 50%. Still, many leaders believe the proposed legislation would not solve this problem.
“A prescriptive, regulated system is not the solution in our communities,” said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. “We’re not going to let Canada make everybody think that the solution to low graduation levels is resolved by a legislated solution.”
Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan said the government will continue pushing the legislation forward and is willing to continue negotiations with communities on a one-on-one basis.