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<e-notes> from fourarrows@rogers.

com 4 May 2014 Edition


Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends
As National Chief Makes An Honourable Resignation:
Will Valcourt Resign Over Bill C-33 Fiasco?
with information from Katie Hyslop, The Tyee.ca
Jorge Barrera jbarrera@aptn.ca @J orgeBarrera,APTN,
Open Parliament, Gloria Galloway, Globe and Mail,
and many others who have reported on Bill C-33 issues
For many months now, Indian Affairs Minister Bernard
Valcourt and even Prime Minister Stephen Harper
have been using Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Shawn Atleo as their shill and shield to advance their
education legislation, said to be a Harper legacy .
That game came to an end on May 2 when a deeply-
affected National Chief held a media conference, said he
would no longer be an obstacle or a lightning rod on the
Bill, and that he was resigning. He left the conference
without taking questions or making further comment.
The full story is not yet known, and may never be known.
There can be no doubt, however, that the government had
backed him into a corner where he must either support
their Bill virtually alone, or whether he would fulfill his
obligations to speak for the First Nations who had elected
him as National Chief, which would mean at a minimum
not supporting the Bill, and likely having to denounce it.
There also can be little doubt that Shawn Atleo chose the
honourable alternative. His support for First Nation
education cannot be questioned. Neither is there any doubt
that Shawn Atleo believed that what he was doing was in
the best interests of the First Nations. As he said in his
resignation speech, "I have said it is our time as
indigenous peoples, that we must smash the status quo,
and that my job is as an advocate to open doors for First
Nations to drive change,"
His meetings with Valcourt and the Prime Minister were
his effort to open doors. The problem was that the
doorways were narrow, and his entry was used to block
others from having their voices heard.
What is not known is what means the Prime Minister and
Bernard Valcourt used to cause him to remain all but
silent while they were holding him up as false proof that
the First Nations of Canada supported Bill C-33.
As the proposal moved through numerous dramatic
costume-changes after it was first proposed, it finally
emerged last month as Bill C-33, about to pass second
reading late afternoon of Monday, May 5. The Senate
Committee on Aboriginal Peoples is already holding
hearings on the subject matter of the Bill.
First, under the watch of Minister J ohn Duncan, there was
hoopla, then an engagement process which was later
renamed consultation. Opposition from First Nations
began to swell.
Then there was the so-called Crown-First Nations
Gathering which engendered both positive and negative
comments. When the Prime Minister didnt come through
with his promises about meetings to discuss Treaties, but
also said discussions were taking place with the National
Chief on the subject, a sense of uncomfortableness set in.
photo by Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press
Shawn Atleo and Friend January 2013
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-2-
an informative <e-note> by fourarrows@rogers.com 4 May 2014 Edition
Duncan resigned suddenly and unexpectedly over an
unrelated matter. Bernard Valcourt was appointed
Minister and attack dog to rescue the governments
proposal. as Mintook on the process, and at each step
along the way, the opposition grew to the governments
proposal. First Nation leaders across Canada began to zero
in on numerous defects they had noted.
Valcourt countered the clamour by saying the
Assembly of First Nations is backing the Bill.
National Chief Atleo gave sort-of, maybe, could be
statements. In December at an Assembly of Chiefs in
Gatineau, Quebec, the Chiefs decided to state their
position to the Minister and to Canada. Shawn Atleo
was not there he put values over politics and was
part of the Canadian delegation to the funeral of
Nelson Mandela.
After a series of passionate speeches defending
inherent rights and Treaty rights of First Nations to
control the education of their children and against
what they saw as the governments attempt to pass a
law to take over their rights, the Chiefs nearly
unanimously passed a resolution setting out five
stern conditions that the Government must meet
before moving further ahead on any legislation.
The resolution was firmly unequivocal. The Chiefs
buried the Bill the government was then proposing. (see
the full resolution below) They resolved to Reject the
October 22, 2013, draft Working Together for First
Nations Students: A Proposal for a Bill on First Nation
Education.
A principal problem had been, as CBCs J ames Cudmore
points out, that First Nations across Canada felt that
Valcourts negotiating a plan with the National Chief was
not the same as fulfilling its constitutional duty to consult
about infringements on First Nation rights and to negotiate
accommodation of their rights in the legislation.
The AFN, after all, is not a national government. Atleo is
not a prime minister. And no matter how easy it might be
for the feds to hold talks with just one chief, First Nations'
reject that as the basis of consultation, Cudmore writes..
The failure of the government to recognize this early on
and work to avoid the problem was the final set-up to
Atleo's downfall.
Indeed.
And Atleo became, in the view of critics, Harper's man
when he appeared alongside the prime minister to promote
the new deal at the Kainai High School on the Blood Tribe
reserve north of Cardston, Alta.Then came the sudden
command performance of Prime Minister Harper on the
Kanai Reserve in Treaty 7. All the conditions set out in
the resolution had been met, he said. The carefully-staged
optics of the meeting proved to be offensive to many who
saw the National Chief being summonsed for a command
performance on the Prime Ministers terms.
The Prime Minister also seemed to be sweetening the pot
to buy support. First we pass the Bill, he said. And then
starting in 2016 there will be $420-million of increased
funding for three years, and after that there would be a cap
of 4.5% increase annually. The deal was on only if the Bill
passed. No Bill, no money. The Bill, however, is
independent of the funding, and leadership said that if the
funds were so important, they should have been provided
regardless.
The National Chief was at Harpers side, but his words
were carefully chosen. "What we are hearing the govern-
ment commit to is a new way forward," Atleo said at the
time. When he was pressed on the new Bill, at the
Kanai event, he insisted, There is no new Bill, meaning
that he expected he would be involved in the drafting of
one, pursuant to the Chiefs conditions he said the
government had agreed to meet.
Then There Was Silence about the Bill
By now, the Bill had been in the works for almost a year
now, but neither the public nor First Nations knew what
was in it. It had been renamed and given birth amid much
Minister Bernard Valcourt, Prime Minister Stephen Harper
and AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo at Kanai Signing
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-3-
an informative <e-note> by fourarrows@rogers.com 4 May 2014 Edition
fanfare by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Assembly
of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo at Kanai,
but anticipation and worry grew waiting for it to be made
public.
In February at Kanai, the National Chief had denied there
was any such Bill, that it all was going to be developed
with participation of the AFN, one of five conditions he
said the Prime Minister had agreed to. Since then,
however, no one had heard anything about any "joint
drafting" or anything else about the Bill. The conclusion
was that the new Bill would be pretty much like the old
Bill which was almost universally denounced.
As the weeks went by, Indian Affairs Minister Bernard
Valcourt was saying new Bill met the conditions agreed to
by First Nation chiefs during an AFN assembly this past
December. But Chiefs and leaders were saying that if a
Bill has been prepared without any consultation with
them, a principal condition has already been broken.
And Then Bill C-33 Was Revealed & Tabled
No one who knows is talking about what happened after
Kanai and the day the Bill was tabled in the House of
Commons in the waning hours of the last day of sessions
before a two-week Easter break. That day, Finance
Minister J im Flaherty died. The House quickly shut down.
Bill C-33 was just left literally sitting on the table.
The National Chief responded to questions ambiguously,
sayingelements that First Nations asked for had been
included in the Bill. Now First Nations must have the
opportunity to fully review and fully engage on the next
steps. ..I encourage all First Nations to do the analysis."
He also vowed to stand with First Nations in support of
First Nations control over their own education.
Minister Valcourt told the media Shawn Atleo had
accepted the Bill and was backing it..
The New Bill Full of Concerns
It did not take long before the contents of the Bill were
read and analyzed, and it did not take much longer before
the opposition to it boiled over across Canada. First
Nations in region after region attacked it as a Bill to
increase the Ministers power, a Bill to take away our
inherent rights to control the education of our children, a
Bill to limit the governments liability for poor education.
A wave of negative reaction by First Nations across
Canada grew from a whisper to a whats this? to a
denunciation of the Bill. And the more Minister Valcourt
insisted it was backed by the AFN, the louder the clamour.
So What Is in the Bill?
The Bill comes with about $1.9 billion in new funding for
education. But it would be spread over three years, would
not begin until 2016, and then it would be capped at 4.5%.
And the promise is not contained in the Bill.
The federal answers to questions about the Bill often
appeared to be pure hype. Mr. Valcourt said, for instance,
that a J oint Council of Education Professionals would
have input on every decision the Minister makes. The
actual Bill, on the other hand, specifies exactly the matters
the minister will ask for advice, leaves other significant
matters unmentioned, and the minister can accept or
ignore the advice as he wishes. The advice given is a
private matter between the Council and the Minister.
As reported by J orge Barrera of APTN News, Mr.
Valcourt said the Council would play an oversight role
over the Ministers powers, but the Bill fails to provide the
Council with that power. In a media conference on
Parliament Hill, Valcourt said under the Bill the minister
cannot make a decision unilaterally without the advice of
the J oint Council and that ishow you ensure the point of
views of First Nations will always be considered. The
Bill fails to reveal how this happens.
According to the proposed bill, called the First Nation
Control over First Nation Education Act, the council will
have nine members. The federal cabinet will appoint four
members and the chair on the recommendation of the
Aboriginal affairs minister. Cabinet will appoint the other
four members on the recommendation of the Assembly of
First Nation.
Valcourt said he didnt know how much the education
council members will be paid. According to the bill, the
council is expected to meet at least three times a year.
However, the advice-giving assigned to the Council by the
Act indicates the Council would be sitting on almost a
full-time basis and would need considerable bureaucratic
support to handle the workload.
There would be, say, 70 educational authorities
applications to be considered. Deliberating even an hour
on each application would take two weeks. Giving advice
on revoking permission, a very serious matter assume
only 7 and thats another week to consider the evidence,
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-4-
an informative <e-note> by fourarrows@rogers.com 4 May 2014 Edition
reports, etc. Decision to require a special advisor: assume
21 annually another 3 days work for the Council.
Decision to appoint a third-party manager? Assume 14
annually. Due process. Right to be heard? Right of appeal?
Another weeks work for the Council. Applications to
remove temporary administrator. 14 annually. Two days.
Removal of temporary administrator after considering
report 14 annually) Two days. Considering revocations of
a designation as an authority 7 annually. 2 days. Advice
of Council on regulations. Say 12 applications a year.
Two days? There must be hearings! 5 weeks. Whatever,
this will not be a council meeting 3 times a year.
The National Chief Responds to Bill C-33
National Chief Shawn Atleo was quoted as saying the bill
met the need for stable and guaranteed funding for
education and would help maintain Indigenous languages.
However, Bill C-33 gives the Minister to set an annual cap
on the amount of money to be spent, notwithstanding any
provisions to provide provincial-level funding.
Atleo was also quoted as saying Bill C-33 would give First
Nation communities a say over how their children are
taught, but the Bill provides for communities only to
administer education, and that must be done in
conformity to a long list of regulations set unilaterally by
the Minister. .
First Nations must and will drive a way forward for the
development of their own education system, said Atleo.
We see a commitment of the principle of First Nation
control of education and working with First Nations. But
again the ambiguity: We will have to do a deeper review
of the Bill itself.
What Bill C-33 Contains
Bill C-33 allows First Nations to operate their own schools
or to group schools together under education authorities
which must be incorporated under federal or provincial
law. Both arrangements would be governed by the
Ministers regulations. Or, communities could enter into
agreements with provincial school boards. The Minister
may also pass a regulation that even schools operated by
First Nations must operate according to provincial law.
Under the bill, all students graduating from First Nation
schools will have recognized certificates or diplomas,
receive a minimum number of instructional hours and be
taught by certified teachers. The bill would also ensure all
children have access to elementary and secondary
education on reserves. These same matters are already
included in contribution agreements with the Minister
which First Nations must sign to receive funding.
Department officials said they did not know how many
schools currently fail to meet those standards. The correct
answer would be none, because the officials would cut
off funding if those conditions were not met.
Schools would also be required to appoint a school
inspector responsible for ensuring the school is meeting
all requirements under the Act, including the academic
performance of students at the institution. The inspector
does not report to the community, however, but rather
reports to the Minister, who also can appoint his own
investigators.
If a school fails to meet standards, it could be put under
co-management or under third party management by the
minister on the advice of the education council.
The bill would also force parents and guardians to ensure
children under 16 are enrolled in a school. The bill allows
First Nations to pass bylaws make it mandatory for
children under 18 to attend school. There are no
provisions for enforcement.
Much of the Ministers power will come from unknown
"regulations" which are written by the government without
oversight of Parliament. While Mr. Valcourt has said the
regulations will be developed in conjunction with First
Nation leaders, that is not in the Bill, and is another trust
me. .
Critics of the Bill say it will give more control to Ottawa
over First Nation education. The Bill also .comes at a time
when Indian Affairs is imposing third-party management
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on First Nations who refuse to sign contribution
agreements which contain what they consider to be
unacceptable conditions and controls.
Opposition Was Expressed Almost Immediately
Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Chief Gina Deer said
Kahnawake opposed the proposed legislation and the
creation of an education council. She said the bill appears
to give Ottawa more control over First Nation education.
Kahnawake is not happy at all, said Deer, whose
Mohawk community sits just south of Montreal. In
Kahnawake, nobody wants to see this government take
over education. We need more funding so students can go
to post-secondary education and university.
Six Nations Chief Ava Hill told APTN News the bill only
gives an illusion of giving First Nation control over First
Nation education.
If they are giving us control, why is it an Act of the
government? How is that control? said Hill. Its like an
oxymoron.
Hill and Deer, along with Tyendinaga Chief Donald
Meracle, found out that the National Chief had a press
conference on Parliament Hill right after their meeting
with NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. It seems that Mr. Atleo
had not inform regional chiefs during an executive
meeting the previous day that he planned to hold a press
conference after the tabling of the Bill.
Nova Scotia regional Chief Morley Googoo, who holds
the education portfolio with the AFN, said he knew little
about the proposed bill and was concerned about the
direction things were taking. I think clarification of the
whole process is a question from everyone, said Googoo.
I definitely want more information.
Quebec chiefs had already announced they were seeking a
Federal Court judicial review of the governments
decision to table a bill on education without having done
the proper consultation and accommodation which is a
constitutional right procedurally and substantively.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (Treaty 9) Opposed
Nishnawbe Aski Nation reiterated its rejection of the
federal governments legislation on First Nation education
after it saw Bill C-33.
We are opposed to any legislation regarding First Nation
education that does not reflect the unique circumstance of
our communities, address the needs of our people accord-
ing to our treaty rights, or honour our nation-to-nation
relationship with the Crown as represented by the govern-
ment of Canada, said Deputy Grand Chief Goyce
Kakegamic. Education is a sacred responsibility that our
chiefs have accepted, and NAN First Nations will not
accept unilateral encroachment of this sacred
responsibility.
The NAN Chiefs-in-Assembly also rejected Bill C-33
because it: gives the minister unilateral control over First
Nations education; will force First Nations to assume
ultimate liability over education while the government
retains authority; does not respect First Nations inherent
and treaty rights; does not respect or recognize First
Nations jurisdiction over education; does not include early
learning, adult education, or alternative education; and
unilaterally defines the terms upon which First Nations
will be educated.
We strongly agree that there need to be standards in
education, but this legislation does not support our vision
for the future of education in Nishnawbe Aski Nation,
Kakegamic said.
We have negotiated in good faith on self-governance and
education jurisdiction since 1999 and we look to this
government to honour this process as the way forward.
This legislation does not address the many challenges our
communities face in the delivery of education and is a
blatant attempt to redefine and limit our jurisdiction to
whatever the federal government dictates as appropriate.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation had earlier issued a Declaration
rejecting the October 2013 version of the Bill. We
categorically reject any legislation imposed on us by the
federal or provincial government as it is a direct violation
of the treaties, the declaration stated. We will take
action if the federal or provincial governments should
proceed with any such legislation.
Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Opposed
Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick
Madahbee also came out against the legislation. The
minister of Indian Affairs has all the power and authority
over First Nations education while taking on no legal
responsibility whatsoever, Madahbee said. Thats the
reality of the kind of control this government is talking
about.
Grand Chief Madahbee said First Nations had asked for an
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-6-
an informative <e-note> by fourarrows@rogers.com 4 May 2014 Edition
integration of language and culture, but the legislation
makes French and English mandatory with an option of
First Nation language, if the minister approves it and
under the Ministers regulations.
We asked for fair and equitable funding, so they
announce vague promises of increased funding after the
next federal election with no specifics on how it will be
allocated, Madahbee said.
Their idea of First Nation control of First Nation
education is to allow First Nations to be administrators of
legislation thats forced onto them. If a First Nation school
fails to meet provincial standards, regardless of being
vastly underfunded, the minister has the legal right to put
the school under third party management thats who has
real control of First Nation education.
Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy: Opposed
Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy said the federal
legislation doesnt address the conditions raised by the
Assembly of First Nations Chiefs-in-Assembly.
The AFN had five conditions set out in a chiefs
resolution and this announcement does not address them,
Beardy said. Bill C-33 continues to take a disciplinary
approach rather than a collaborative approach to
improving First Nations education. We have much more
innovative ideas on how a collaborative approach would
serve our students better but once again, we werent
involved in the direction of a bill that affects our future.
Grand Chief fBeardy also called for a new round of
consultation and collaboration for the new legislation.
We soundly rejected this proposal at the Chiefs of
Ontario November Assembly and at the AFN Assembly in
December, Beardy said. But now we have a new bill
with no input on its content.
And Two Weeks Later, Parliament Reconvened
For two weeks, the wave of opposition increased until
Parliament reconvened. Then Minister Valcourt and the
Conservative caucus went on the attack. Anyone against
the Bill was against educating First Nation children.
But most of all, they said over and over and over, The
National Chief supports the Bill. The National Chief
speaks for the AFN. Everyone else was a dissident. Of
course strong powers had been given to the Minister, it
was said, just as it was in the provinces to the
Superintendent of Education. Of course full immersion in
indigenous languages would not be permitted. This is
Canada, and the languages are English and French, the
Tories said.
The Minister Was Still Smiling
In the fact of all this strong criticism, Minister Valcourt
was still reciting the mantra on every possible occasion:
The National Chief supports the Bill. He speaks for the
responsible First Nations of Canada.
Valcourt also relied on platitudes about education to prop
up the bill. Our government knows that a good education
can change a life, Valcourt told the media, Thats why
I am so pleased that we have made reforming First Nations
education a priority and introduced the First Nations
Control of First Nations Education Act. This will help
First Nations access the skills they need to live healthy
and successful lives this is good for First Nations, for
Canadians and for our countrys future.
He also said that through Bill C-33, the federal will
provide First Nations students with the education
standards, supports and opportunities that most
Canadians take for granted.
The Media Takes the Bait
In the face of this confusing barrage, newspapers tended to
opt for safe ground. The Globe and Mail urged First
Nations to accept Conservative offer rather than urging
the government to amend the Bill.
Had not Shawn Atleo himself ran on a platform that
emphasized education as a priority? the Globe asked. In
his own words, that meant better graduation rates, better
schools, more posts-econdary students and, simply, more
opportunity for our young people to achieve their goals.
These goals are not controversial not even among First
Nations leaders, the Globe opined. Everyone recognizes
the bleakness of the status quo. Everyone agrees that
without fundamental change, Canada risks failing yet
another generation of native children. Everyone agrees
native communities must achieve better than a 60% high
school failure rate for students in on-reserve high schools,
a figure that hasnt shifted for more than 30 years.
The Globe went on to say, But when it comes to figuring
out how to undo this shameful status quo, the consensus
falls apart. The only legitimate goal improving the
educational outcomes of native children tends to get
upstaged by infighting among native leaders and with
Ottawa.
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-7-
an informative <e-note> by fourarrows@rogers.com 4 May 2014 Edition
In other words, the problem is native leaders, always
harping about the days of residential schools or
complaining about being shut out of consultations..
Why dont they just accept provincial schools? the Globe
asks. Canadas provincial governments with
experience and expertise administering nearly all of
Canadas primary and secondary schools stand on the
sidelines. They dont dare delve into this mess. Can you
blame them?
As a result of this infighting by native leaders, The
native education file has been a showcase of missed
opportunities, recriminations, dithering and dysfunction.
Who suffers? Native children.
The Globe described Bill C-33 as a narrow window of
opportunity for change. It was far from perfect. But,
the Globe editorialized, but it represents the best crack in
a generation at giving more native children a shot at
success in school, and, by extension, life.
In other words rather than criticizing the Harper
Government for making an unacceptable offer, it was the
native leaders criticized for not accepting what was
served on the plate.
It might as well have said, This is the best youre going to
get so rather than waiting for another generation to get
something better, take what youre offered.
Mr. Atleo had offered his cautious approval of the Bill,
the editorial said. He should be applauded for this.
Instead, hes getting blow-back from many native leaders
whose opposition threatens to derail the proposed Bill.
Lets hope Mr. Atleo recognizes this kind of criticism for
what it is: a tired regurgitation of excuses for inaction,
which, if given credence, would pave the road right back
to square one, the Globe opined.
It alleged there had been four years worth of of national
panels, engagement, reports, consultations, discussion,
blueprints for discussion, draft legislative proposal and
open letters, implying that Bill C-33 was the result of all
that effort on the governments part.
Without the First Nations Control of First Nations
Education Act, we are left with a vacuum, the Globe
fretted.
What should happen? Mr. Atleo was elected national
chief for good reasons. His commitment to education is
one of them. Its time for him to remind those who elected
him of his original mandate. Atleo is right, the Globe
said, to see Bill C-33 as a bridge. Accept it, and greater
control is sure to come. Without Bill C-33, another
generation of native children will be stranded on a bridge
to nowhere.
The Globes Readers Were In Near Unanimous Support
The children of Chinese or Indian immigrants are not
getting ahead in Canada by learning only Mandarin or
Hindi in Canada but they are getting ahead by going to
regular schools along with fellow Canadian children.
First Nation leadership are like dictators in Africa and
Asia where they have prevented spread of education and
education of their children.
One reader pointed to his ancestors who cleared some
farmland and built themselves little log cabins, they
organized school boards to set up and administer an
education system for their children, all by themselves
without handout from anyone. Think about it.
The native leaders opposing the plan were mercenaries
who are out to see funding increases with no restraint or
strings attached. They have no interest in education or the
greater good of their people. We are partly to blame
because we keep funding the dysfunction.
Derek Napinak is a joke. Every time an issue comes up,
he lays down the race card. Disrupt, undermine, and
grandstand: these are the foundations of Napinak's
platform. . . . you have to wonder if the guy EVER goes
anywhere or says anything while totally sober.
Growing up and being educated within their community
does put [First Nation children] at a disadvantage for
advancement in Canadian society.
The big problem is the predominant racist culture among
aboriginals, where they would not mingle with
non-aboriginal people, and kids stick to gangs instead of
being productive. That's a cultural thing that has to do
with their leaders attitude . . .
The April 28 Media Conference
On the morning of the same day that Parliamentarians and
officials came back to town Monday, April 28 there
was a media conference of Grand Chiefs Derek Nepinak
of Manitoba, Craig Makinaw of Treaty 6 and Gord Peters
of Ontario. Chief Wallace Fox from Onion Lake was there
as was Mike Delisle from Kahnawake, a member of the
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-8-
an informative <e-note> by fourarrows@rogers.com 4 May 2014 Edition
Quebec region.
When the conference ended, the clear writing was on the
wall in big letters. One by one, the Chiefs denounced the
Bill for unilaterally imposing standards without
guaranteeing the funds to meet the standards, giving
himself power through arbitrary regulations, and allowing
the Minister of Indian Affairs to intervene into a schools
management with a third-party manager. They also said
First Nations had been shut out of having any involvement
in the drafting of the Bill.
Grand Chief Gordon Peters said First Nations shouldn't
have to make threats to have their voices heard. While
actions could include a blockade on the Ambassador
Bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit if Bill C-33
becomes law, he added that he and other First Nations
leaders shouldn't have to make threats to be heard.
Stan Beardy, the regional chief for Ontario on the AFN
executive, says the legislation was crafted without
consultation and takes a disciplinary approach rather than
a collaborative approach to First Nations education.
Perry Bellegarde, the regional chief for Saskatchewan on
the AFN executive, said the bill needs much more
analysis. His initial statement fell short of condeming the
Bill, but before the week was over, he said he could no
longer support the Bill.
Donald Maracle, the Chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of
Quinte in southeastern Ontario, said the bill would transfer
unlimited liability to First Nations, without enough
funding to succeed.
Grand Chief Michael Delisle of the Mohawk Council of
Kahnawake said, We are planning, whether they be
deemed demonstrations, rallies ... to again get attention.
But I think (the) Canadian economy, eventually, will be
the target. Again, I can't give you specifics today, but
we're prepared to take whatever action (is) necessary to
ensure the control is not taken away from us."
Chief Delisle noted that Ghislain Picard, the AFN regional
chief for Quebec and Labrador had filed an application for
a judicial review of the government's plan. In an interview
with CBC News on Thursday, Picard said that after a
preliminary read, the proposed bill contains mostly
"cosmetic changes." Picard said he is particularly
concerned about the J oint Council of Education
Professionals which he thinks would still give the minister
too much control.
Vice-Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of
Saskatchewan Indian Nations said in a separate interview
that First Nations people have Treaty rights to education
as well as under international law neither can be
trumped by federal legislation. He adds that the federal
government failed to consult in any serious way with First
Nations and have ignored all concerns raised by native
organizations.
The panel of Chiefs was not shy about direct extensive
criticism at the AFN. They said they were the AFN it
was made up of its member First Nations but that the
Assembly had run off in its own direction.
An AFN analysis of the B didnt help matters any. It had
been produced by technicians, and not been ratified by
anyone. Ir said Bill C-33 was a constructive and
necessary step, supportive of goals expressed by First
Nations for control, respect for treaty and aboriginal
rights, recognition of language and culture and a clear
statutory guarantee for fair funding.
Leaders responded in a chorus asking where in the Bill
was there substantiation for the analysis, and under whose
authority had the analysis been released?
The Mantra and the Beat Goes On
But Indian Affairs Minister Valcourt continued the
mantra, repeating that Bill C-33 had met the five
conditions outlined by the Assembly of First Nations in
Gatineau, and had the approval of the National Chief.
Those conditions required the government to ensure
aboriginal communities retain control of education, that
there be a statutory funding guarantee, recognition of First
Nations languages and culture, shared oversight and
ongoing, meaningful engagement.
"The introduction of this legislation comes after years of
unprecedented dialogue and consultations with First
Nations all over the country and the Assembly of First
Nations, who identified a need for a better education
system for First Nation children," Valcourt's office said in
an emailed statement. As for the J oint Council, Valcourt
insisted that it would simply provide Ottawa with
information on how the schools are performing, not give
the federal government direct control. It would prevent
"unilateral oversight by the minister," Valcourt said.
The Chiefs took issue with the Ministers comments,
saying that not one of the conditions had been met. They
also took issue with the AFN negotiating with the federal
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government on behalf of First Nations.
A New Era of First Nation Leadership: Derek Nepinak
"This is a new day," Grand Chief Nepinak said. "This is a
new era in First Nations leadership where we don't accept
the crumbs that they are offering as enticements to allow
for our jurisdictions to be swept away under their
legislation." Pushing the legislation through without the
support of First Nations across the country would be an
act of discrimination and racism, he said.
"Oftentimes we get caught up in these dialogues where
we're talking about using force against force, and that to
me puts it in a tailspin and it gives Canadians the wrong
idea about who we are. We are a loving people. We are a
caring people. We are a hospitable people. And we want
what's best for our children, and that's the bottom line."
"I agree with the words of Shawn Atleo that the AFN is
not a rights-bearing entity. I agree with his words when he
says that," Nepinak said.
"The challenge we face is we come up against a minister
who says that the proponent for negotiating and consulting
on this bill is the AFN. So clearly when our national chief
sits with the minister, there is a clear misunderstanding
about who's doing what and who's saying what."
Meanwhile, Atleo was urging each First Nation to let
Ottawa know what they think of the bill. "AFN continues
to advocate as directed by chiefs from across the country,
to achieve fairness and equity in education respectful of
our languages and cultures," he said in a statement.
The Minister Was Not Listening
The problem was that Ottawa was not listening to First
Nations. The Minister said the National Chief had spoken.
There was nothing more to be said.
When asked whether he would push the bill through
Parliament without widespread support of the First
Nations, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt
pointed to the AFN endorsement. I am pleased that the
Assembly of First Nations has placed the needs of children
first and confirmed that Bill C-33 is a constructive and
necessary step forward, the minister said in an e-mail on
Friday.
"The introduction of this legislation comes after years of
unprecedented dialogue and consultations with First
Nations all over the country and the Assembly of First
Nations, who identified a need for a better education
system for First Nation children," Valcourt's office said in
an emailed statement.
However, Nepinak and the others take issue with the AFN
negotiating with the federal government on behalf of First
Nations. "I agree with the words of Shawn Atleo that the
AFN is not a rights-bearing entity. I agree with his words
when he says that," Nepinak said.
"The challenge we face is we come up against a minister
who says that the proponent for negotiating and consulting
on this bill is the AFN. So clearly when our national chief
sits with the minister, there is a clear misunderstanding
about who's doing what and who's saying what."
Meanwhile, Atleo is urging each First Nation to let Ottawa
know what they think of the bill.
"AFN continues to advocate as directed by chiefs from
across the country, to achieve fairness and equity in
education respectful of our languages and cultures," he
said in a statement Monday.
"This effort is built on a solid foundation of First Nations
control of First Nations education and continues to be
about the children our future educating them in their
home territories and supporting their dreams and
educational success anywhere they choose."
Mr. Atleo had earlier said the AFN is working under the
direction of chiefs from across the country and supports
widespread assessment of the legislation. But Mr. Nepinak
said at the time he does not believe Mr. Atleos support of
the bill has the blessing even of the majority of the
executive of the AFN.
Chief Nepinak said Mr. Valcourt should recognize that the
Bills impact will be felt at the community level, and
consultation must be done with individual First Nations,
not the AFN. I think what weve got to do is take a really
critical review of the AFNs role in this process, said Mr.
Nepinak. I think there has to be fallout from this.
And yes, there certainly was fall-out.
By the end of the week, the National Chief had resigned.
The Friday after the Monday
As the dissonance increased of the Minister telling
Canadians what the First Nations were saying about his
Bill and what the First Nations were actually saying, there
were rumbles about calling a meeting of the Confederacy
of Nations. In fact, several prominent First Nation leaders
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an informative <e-note> by fourarrows@rogers.com 4 May 2014 Edition
had asked the National Chief on May 2 to call such a
meeting. Talk of impeachment was starting to be heard.
Early on May 2, word got around that there would be a
4:30 p.m. conference call of the Executive Council the
ten regional vice-chiefs.
Later on May 2 came the sudden notice. Media
Conference. National Chief. What could it possibly be
about?
The media gathered. Ten minutes late, the Conference
opened by an official saying the National Chief would
make a statement. Then he would leave. There would be
no questions. Another official, Peter Dinsdale, AFNs
CEO as it turned out, would be available for questions.
Thus May 2 became the day the National Chief resigned.
He would no longer be an obstacle nor a lightning
rod, he said.
And obviously, no longer would he be used by the
Minister as his principle advocate.
Minutes after the resignation announcement, the Regional
vice-chiefs joined their pre-planned conference call. They
had just learned about the resignation at the same time as
everyone else.
Even before the surprise resignation, the call was out for a
Confederacy of Nations meeting on May 14. Ottawa. The
same day a massive manifestation will take place on
Parliament Hill. Idle No More organizers say they will be
there. The topic: Bill C-33.
It was now a very different game than it had been on
Monday. For all the players.
What Happened?
The more the Minister used Shawn Atleo as his shield, the
greater was the volume of dissent of First Nations who
wanted to be heard.
The National Chief did not join the debate nor did he
defend the Bill. Mostly he remained silent.
And then seeing no other honourable way out, he abruptly
announced he was resigning. And then he turned and left
the stage.
That leaves the author of the melodrama, the Minister. The
script has lost its principal actor, and has no happy ending.
If anything, it was the governments shameful continuing
insistence, day after day, that the National Chief spoke for
the First Nations of Canada, even though the near-
unanimous wave of criticism of Bill C-33 was well known
to it. His name was invoked over 30 times in the second
reading debate on the Bill.
Will the Minister resign?
A Different Kind of National Chief
Originally from Ahousaht, a community just north of
Tofino, the most populous First Nations on western
Vancouver Island, Atleo was first elected to the position
of national chief in 2009, running on a platform of
education reform. He was well-known in British
Columbia, a hereditary chief and regional vice-chief, but
little known on the national scene. Atleo won re-election
in 2012, but faced criticism during the election for being
too close to the federal government.
But even from among his supporters, many could not
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understand the National Chiefs acceptance of Bill C-33.
J ody Wilson-Raybould, regional Vice-Chief for British
Columbia, has been a close ally of Mr. Atleos on many
issues. As she told Gloria Galloway of the Globe and
Mail, she was disappointed with the loss of a respected
leader who articulated clear priorities and a positive
vision. But even she did not agree with his support of the
education act and used her Twitter account before his
resignation on Friday to say First Nations do not want a
nanny state in our classrooms.
As Tristen Hopper noted in the National Post, to
non-aboriginal Canadians, Atleo became the chief
spokesman of the view that healthy, well-educated First
Nations communities were not just a matter of principle,
but a matter of economic self-interest. The aboriginal
population is the most youthful, burgeoning population of
Canada, and that should be seen as a tremendous
human-resources potential we should be tapping into, he
told B.C. Business magazine in 2008.
But what would most characterize his tenure and
ultimately lead to his Friday downfall was Mr. Atleos
close collaboration with the Tories. A statement issued by
Prime Minister Stephen Harper after Mr. Atleos
resignation illustrated the relationship:
Together, we helped improve opportunities for
greater participation by First Nations in the economy
and standards of living and quality of life on reserve,
including through the Crown-First Nations Gathering
in 2012. We also shared a commitment to improving
First Nation education and ensuring that students on
reserve have the same education standards, supports
and opportunities that most Canadians take for
granted.
Although there was no criticism of the Tories on the
education bill, the National Chief had last year warned the
Tories that they faced collaboration or collision if they
failed to consult with First Nations on energy projects
but the tack was bound to be politically risky, Hopper
wrote.
Atleo had been first elected to the position of national
chief in 2009, running on a platform of education reform.
He was 37 years old. He won again in 2012, but faced
criticism at the time for being too close to the federal
government. There were mumblings even from people
who admired his commitment and energy that he did not
seem to understand what many First Nations saw as the
historic role of the National Chief or, really, the historic
role of the AFN. Was the Assembly of Chiefs just an
advocacy group?
He had been a different kind of National Chief. As Tristen
Hopper wrote in the National Post, He was young
enough to have dodged the residential school era, he was a
university chancellor with an Australian Masters degree
in education, a breakdancer who could moonwalk on
command and, in an organization composed largely of
Treaty peoples, Mr. Atleo came from the untreatied lands
of British Columbia.
Before roomfuls of Toronto suits, he had no qualms
declaring that First Nations were here to stay and were
looking for partners. Were open for business, as he had
told a gathering of the Toronto Board of Trade.
After the National Chiefs May 2 resigneation, the Nuu-
cha-nulth Tribal Council issued a statement ofshock and
sadness. It expressed its pride in the National Chief for
carring himself with dignity and honour, acting with
respect and caring, and noting his service, sacrifice and
commitment.
Katie Hyslop of The Tyee.ca wrote of the Atleo
resignation that Atleos support had been seen by the
federal government as its best bargaining chip in Bill C-
33's passage. That view was advanced by Nathan
Matthew, senior advisor and negotiator for the First
Nations Education Steering Committee in B.C.
But with Atleo's surprise resignation from the position,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has far less leverage in
convincing First Nations to accept the bill, Matthew said.
"Now that [Harper] doesn't have the national chief there,
he's going to face the full attention of the [Assembly]
executive, who will replace in the interim the national
chief," said Matthew. A lot of those regional chiefs in the
executive have voiced their opposition to this bill."
Instead, Matthew said the federal government "did not
allow co-development" of the system with First Nations in
drafting its bill. Other concerns include the positioning of
the minister of Indian Affairs as the ultimate authority in
First Nations education; mandatory instruction in English
or French; and no commitment to funding on par with
provincial funding in B.C.
Despite their opposing views on the education bill, the
relationship between Atleo and the committee was "very
respectful," said Nathan Matthew. "He was very
supportive of First Nations education; he's made it a
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priority. He certainly supported what we're doing in B.C."
The British Columbia First Nations Education Steering
Committee has also spoken out against the bill. The
organization acts as a de facto school board for the
majority of First Nations' on-reserve schools in British
Columbia. In J anuary 2012, it signed a tripartite agreement
with the provincial and federal governments to deliver
education on reserves, boosting annual funding for schools
to bring them on par with public schools in the province.
But the agreement expires in 2017, and the province's
on-reserve schools would then be subjected to the
proposed legislation, which Matthew described as too
prescriptive in terms of how a First Nations school should
be run.
"[The tripartite agreement] is not perfect, but it's
something that all of the First Nation schools negotiated,"
he said. "If the legislation recognized the continuation of
that tripartite agreement and been flexible and respected
regional diversity, then we probably would have been a lot
more easy on the legislation."
Matthew said the Bill did not respect the five conditions
the Assembly of First Nations and national chiefs outlined
at the Gatineau Assembly in December.
Despite their opposing views on the education bill, the
relationship between Atleo and the committee was "very
respectful," said Matthew. "He was very supportive of
First Nations education; he's made it a priority. He
certainly supported what we're doing here in B.C."
<<<<>>>>
So what happens next?
The Organs of Governance of the AFN
The principal governing organ is the Chiefs in
Assembly, with an annual general assembly: 2014
Halifax, 2015 Winnipeg. That is where, supposedly, the
Chiefs determine direction, policy, and give marching
orders to the National Chief.
The next national chief elections will take place during the
Assembly's 2015 Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg.
The Assembly of First Nations executive will take over
the position of chief in the interim.
The Charter stipulates that the Executive Committee steps
in to take over the role and function of the National Chief.
The Charter also stipulates that when the post of National
Chief becomes vacant, it is up to the Chiefs in Assembly
to make other arrangements.
This means it is the Executive Committee, acting in the
place of the National Chief, who would have to call a
special meeting of the Chiefs in Assembly. Likely in the
circumstances it would seek the concurrence of the
resurrected Confederacy of Nations at its meeting on May
14. By the time an Assembly of Chiefs could be arranged
for an proper notice given, it would be mid-J une, and the
annual General Assembly has already been called for
Halifax for the week of J uly 15. Chances are tthe
Executive Committee will govern until then.
At Halifax, several options of other arrangements are
open to the Assembly. They could decide to continue with
the Executive Committee in charge until the expiration of
the current term of office in J uly 2015, when there will be
a General Assembly and election in Winnipeg.
They could also decide to call an election to take place in
the interim. The election process of naming an electoral
officer, doing nominations, holding the election would
take a minimum of ten weeks, sometime after September
30. Since this is the first time in the 32 years of the
Assemblys existence that there has been a resignation of
National Chief, there is no precedent. Apparently an
autumn election could be to fill the unexpired term of
office, until J uly 2015, or a new three-year-term cycle
could be started.
The Return of the Confederacy of Nations
When the Assembly of First Nations was created in 1982
and its Charter adopted in 1985, one of the organs of
governance was a Confederacy of Nations to govern
between Assemblies. It consisted of one delegate from
each of the AFNs ten regions plus one delegate for every
10,000 First Nations membership. At that time, there were
about 40 delegates. It met quarterly, special meetings
could be called, and it was chaired by the National Chief.
Today, with population increases, the Confederacy would
have about 75 delegates, plus the ten members of the
Executive Committee composed of the regional vice-
chiefs. And one vacant chair which would have been
occupied by the National Chief.
In 2004 and years after, there were numerous special
assemblies, and the Confederacy just sort of stopped
meeting. There was no amendment to the Charter, there
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was no decision not to meet. It just drifted into silence,
and the obscurity, and now ten years later, there are many
in the AFN who did not really know of its existence.
Initially, the move of the Chiefs and organizations was to
revitalize the Confederacy to take control of what they
saw the Secretariat taking over the role of the Assembly of
Chiefs. They also say the possibility of the Confederacy
becoming the voice government would have to listen to,
and in that way, prevent the National Chiefs office from
being co-opted by the Minister.
Now, particularly until a new National Chief is chosen
perhaps as far away as late September or even J uly 2015,
the Confederacy of Nations becomes the de facto
governing body of an AFN without a National Chief..
The Charter calls for the Executive Committee to be just
that an executive board of directors essentially. The
AFNs governance is in the hands of the Confederacy
between Assemblies and provided with strong powers.
It interprets and implements resolutions, decisions and
directions of the Chiefs Assemblies .
The Confederacy oversees the National Chief and
Executive Committee to ensure they conform with the
mandates of the Chiefs-in-Assembly, taking
corrective or remedial disciplinary measures when
necessary.
The Confederacy approves, allocates, monitors and
controls the fiscal resources of the AFN. It develops
short- and long-term plans and establishes priorities
consistent with the directions of the Chiefs in
Assembly.
(See summary of Charter set out below)
But What About Bill C-33 in the Meantime?
All of this leaves the Assembly of First Nations extremely
vulnerable to machinations of the government regarding
Bill C-33. Very shortly, the government will make it
known how it intends to deal with this whole new
ballgame.
Will it keep on pushing hard for Bill C-33 to be passed in
the shortest possible time? The Governments timetable is
to have the Bill have Royal Assent the first week in J une
a month from now.
That would then be the prelude for the Prime Ministers
celebration of the J une 11 anniversary of the Apology on
Residential Schools. But if there is still anger and outrage
about the passage of Bill C-33, and no National Chief for
the Prime Minister to hold up as a friendly voice, would
that be rain on the Apology parade?
May 14 on Parliament Hill will be a telling and
th
crystalizing event. Not only will there by the rally, but the
Confederacy of Nations will also be taking a position,
officially speaking for the Assembly of First Nations for
the first time since the National Chiefs resignation. It will
then be clear to Canadians and Mr. Valcourt what the
position is of the AFN on Bill C-33.
Among the strategies being considered are demonstrations
that could last for multiple days, blockades of resource
industries, constitutional challenges, and an appeal to the
international community through the United Nations.
But it could also be the opening curtain on an election
campaign to fill the vacancy, one candidate attempting to
outdo another. That would leave it for the government to
come up through the middle and just pass the Bill. The
Confederacy of Nations could consider a Compact of
leadership and potential candidates to declare a
moratorium on election activity, to delay any
announcements of candidacy, any electioneering at
least until Parliament has prorogued for the summer.
In the meantime, the Standing House Committee on
Aboriginal Affairs will get the Bill in the evening of
Monday, May 5. It will likely open hearings the next day.
The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples is
already into hearings on the subject matter of the Bill, a
government move which opens the door for the
government to push the Bill through the Senate like
greased lightning.
Both Committees are being deluged with requests to
appear to present views on the Bill. Some opposition
members are moving to have regional hearings on the Bill,
but the government is likely to want the Bill passed before
the summer recess.
Of the AFNs ten regions, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan,
Ontario and Quebec are firmly opposed. Alberta is
consulting on it and is also likely to be opposed. The
NWT, Yukon, and Nova Scotia are yet to be heard from.
That leaves Roger Augustine from New Brunswick/PEI
alone on a limb as the only regional chief offering support
at this moment. .
It is not known if the Executive Committee or the
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an informative <e-note> by fourarrows@rogers.com 4 May 2014 Edition
Confederacy of
Nations will also
seek to appear
before the
Committees to
put their
respective
official view on
record.
It is also not
known what
they or other
First Nation
leadership will
have to say
about Minister
Bernard
Valcourts role
in his ambition
to get Bill C-33
passed through Parliament at any costs.
Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba
Chiefs was critical of Valcourt, understanding of Atleo.
He praised the National Chief for doing the right thing by
stepping down. He said Atleo had been put in a difficult
position.
"Shawn Atleo came into leadership in a very difficult
time," Nepinak told CBC News in an interview. "He came
into leadership at a time when we knew that the
Conservative government was going to be pressing us
from many different directions. He came at a time when a
lot of people are starting to wake up to the recognition of
self-determination."
Grand Chief Nepinak blamed the federal government for
"cornering" Atleo. The federal government has
disrespected our national leader."
"It's put him in a place where he had very little choice but
to make the decision that he did. His integrity was called
into question. I think he brought back some integrity today
in the decision that he made.
When Bill C-33 was tabled and seen for the first time,
Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said the Bill was
an attempt to create the illusion of First Nations control
over education. He said it was an illusion: because the
government was enticing support by selling the Bill as
First Nations control, while in reality maintained the
unfettered discretion of the minister, granting him or her
with sweeping power and control over a variety of
educational matters. At the same time, he said, it was
perpetuating the denial and the existence of inherent and
treaty rights of indigenous peoples and their jurisdiction
over the education of their children."
"I'm just as
shocked and
surprised as
you all are,"
said FSIN
Chief Perry
Bellegarde
after
hearing of
Atleos
resignation.
Bellegarde,
who ran
against
Atleo in the
most recent
AFN
leadership contest, said his differences with Atleo were
never personal.
"Anytime you see a leader resign it's a sad day, because
it's a difficult job," he said.
As far as Bill C-33 was concerned. Chief Bellegarde
wanted to be counted with those who opposed it. "It's a
flawed bill," Bellegarde insisted Friday. "It needs to be
withdrawn and a proper consultation process with all First
Nations leaders across Canada needs to be undertaken
pretty quick."
photo by Angela J ohnston, CBC News
Grand Chief Derek Nepinak,
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde
Video of the National Chiefs Resignation:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/shawn-atleo-the-p
ragmatist-couldn-t-reconcile-opposing-first-nation
s-styles-1.2630621
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an informative <e-note> by fourarrows@rogers.com 4 May 2014 Edition
WHEREAS:
A. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Article 14
recognizes the right of First Nations to develop our
own education institutions and systems, reflecting
our languages, cultures and identities, including
language immersion initiatives and institutions, and
requires state governments to seek the free, prior
and informed consent of First Nations
governments prior to enacting measures which
impact our rights.
B. First Nations education is a key foundation for
strengthening our cultural identity, ensuring the
transmission of our languages, and ultimately
strengthening our families, our clans, our
communities, and our nations.
C. First Nations are united in advancing education
that is child-centred, respecting the diversity across
regions but coming together always in
understanding that all initiatives, approaches, and
potential agreements in education must place the
child at the centre.
D. The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has a
Chiefs Committee on Education (CCOE),
supported by the National Indian Council on
Education, which has regional representation and
continues to provide advice and recommendations
to the AFN National Executive.
E. First Nations Control of First Nations Education
2010, which incorporates the original Indian
Control of Indian Education 1972 paper, is the
official education policy for the Assembly of First
Nations.
F. On October 22 2013 the Federal government
released: Working Together for First Nation
Students: a Proposal for a Bill on First Nation
Education. First Nations across all regions have
reviewed this proposal and reached consensus
that the current proposal is unacceptable and has
been rejected. Resolutions from Nations and
regions set out the following as essential for
achieving success for First Nations students and
schools:
a. Any proposal must respect inherent and
Treaty rights and contain First Nation
jurisdiction of First Nation education as the
overriding, paramount principle and not be
imposed unilaterally by the Aboriginal and
Northern Affairs bureaucracy.
b. Canada must recognize its obligation and
provide a statutory guarantee for funding of
First Nations education that is sustainable
and reflects actual costs.
c. First Nation education systems must be
enabled, supported and funded in a way
that supports full immersion and grounding
of all education in Indigenous languages
and cultures.
d. First Nations are diverse, and this
diversity must be fully respected and
enabled in the variety of ways in which First
Nations choose to advance First Nations
Control of First Nations Education.
G. First Nations have affirmed that there must be
an agreed-to process that fully respects and
reflects partnership, consistent with Treaty
relationships, and the United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to support
implementation and achievement of First Nations
jurisdiction over education.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Chiefs-in-
Assembly:
1. Reject the October 22, 2013 draft Working
Together for First Nations Students: A Proposal for
a Bill on First Nation Education as is.
2. Call upon Canada to negotiate to advance First
Nations Control of First Nations Education,
Assembly of First Nations policy framework 2010.
3. Are resolute and determined to achieve justice,
fairness and equity for First Nations children,
through strong, culturally-grounded education, and
committed to working together and providing child-
centred solutions.
4. Guided by points 1, 2 and 3 above, direct the
National Chief, National Executive, and First
Nations to take all necessary steps to press
Special Chiefs Assembly, Gatineau, Quebec
December 9, 2013
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Canada to respond to the conditions required to
achieve success for First Nations children
including:
a. Respect and recognize inherent rights and
title, Treaty rights, and First Nation Control of
First Nation Education jurisdiction. First Nations
must retain all options to advance their
education and all such agreements must be
fully respected, enabled and supported.
b. Provide a statutory guarantee for funding of
First Nations education as a precondition that is
sustainable and reflects needs-based costs
consistent with Canadas obligation.
c. Enable and support systems to provide full
immersion and grounding of all education in
Indigenous languages and cultures.
d. Develop mechanisms to oversee, evaluate,
and for reciprocal accountability and to ensure
there not be unilateral federal oversight and
authority.
e. Ensure a meaningfully supported process to
address these conditions through a
commitment to working together through co-
development, fully reflective of First Nations
rights and jurisdiction.
5. Direct the National Chief and National
Executive to advocate urgently and strongly for
Canada to commit immediate investments in
Budget 2014 to address the current funding gap,
and advance a statutory guarantee for the future of
First Nations education systems.
The Last Word: Shawn Atleos Resignation Speech
I have stated clear priority on the recognition of Treaty, of Indigenous rights and title, on the safety and security of our
most vulnerable, and I have also made my priority on education for our kids plainly clear.
I have said it is OUR TIME as Indigenous peoples, that we must smash the status quo and that my job is as an advocate
to open doors for First Nations to drive change.
It is on this basis that we have worked very hard to achieve a new conversation between Canada and First Nations a
conversation grounded in recognition, respect and ultimately reconciliation, and to reach a realization that stronger First
Nations are vital for a stronger Canada.
I have had the great honour and privilege to visit over one hundred First Nation schools in every region. It is the time
spent with kids, their dedicated teachers the parents and the grandparents that has both inspired me and created a steely
resolve and determination. I think of the late Shannen Koostachin, young boys and girls in remote northern communities
like young J ayden youve heard me reference so many times before.
It is the spark in their eyes and the knowledge that as leaders as the adults we must get this right right now.
The work before us is absolutely challenging if it were easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Todays
conversation began over 40 years ago with the remarkable leadership of the late George Manuel and many others. Indian
control of Indian education in 1972 a policy statement crafted by our own educators including Verna Kirkness remains
a powerful affirmation of our resilience and our determination to achieve change and justice for our children through
education.
Smashing the status quo means ending the glacial pace of change for our people and providing full support for growth
and success. Smashing the status quo means new approaches grounded in recognition and in reconciliation.
The current discussion and diverse views remind us within the Assembly of First Nations that we too have much work
ahead. The inspiration behind the creation of the Assembly of First Nations was to serve as an advocacy body bringing
together the Nations and supporting one another. I have encouraged reflection on our processes and approach within the
Assembly to reflect a sense of re-building our Nations.
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-17-
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Smashing the status quo means that everyone has a role to play. The status quo should NOT be acceptable to any
political party the NDP, the Liberals or the Conservatives. This status quo should also never be acceptable to our
Chiefs and leaders.
This work is a challenge for all Parliamentarians and it is a challenge for our Nations. Everyone knows the recent history
here of an open letter and of a clear resolution and five conditions.
Throughout and, with that mandate of Chiefs, I and many others with me have done everything possible to achieve this
change.
I am very proud of the work accomplished very proud of our collective efforts to overcome the status quo on this issue
and others.
Weve been through important and sincere efforts before in constitutional negotiation, a Royal Commission, and other
more recent important efforts such as Kelowna taken forward by former Prime Minister Paul Martin. The current
proposal on education is the latest attempt and a sincere, constructive effort on the part of Prime Minister Stephen
Harper to take a step forward.
This work must be understood in that context as a challenge, not for me, or any one individual but a challenge and a
call to action for the entire country.
I have fought for this work and to achieve this mandate. This work is too important and I am not prepared to be an
obstacle to it or a lightening rod distracting from the kids and their potential. I am therefore, today resigning as National
Chief.
I have carried out my actions based on principle and integrity. Personally, I believe this work must happen. It can and
should happen in parallel to other efforts addressing fundamental questions of how we do this work. Now the work
started so many years ago must continue. It must continue in every community and it must continue within Parliament. I
challenge every party and every First Nation to carry forward this work. Failure is simply not an option. Fighting for the
status quo is simply not acceptable.
Today I express my deepest gratitude for the support, the generosity and the respect afforded to me by First Nations and
increasing multitudes of Canadians across this country. I have been deeply honoured to serve.
I will, as I have all of my life, continue this struggle in other ways. I want to thank all of those who have quietly worked
for education and for our kids. While people do not hear or see them today YOU will emerge as the heroes of this
work in the future.
Shawn A-in-Chut Atleo
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-18-
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Charter of the Assembly of First Nations
(Excerpts Relating to the Confederacy of Nations)
. . .
PRINCIPLES
ARTICLE 2
. . . The purpose, authority, responsibilities and jurisdiction of the Assembly of First Nations shall be derivative
in nature and scope. All actions or initiatives in excess of the delegation from First Nations shall be null and void
and of no force or effect.
All delegated power, mandates or responsibility derive from the sovereignty of First Nations; and the persons or
institutions entrusted to exercise such delegation have a sacred trust and duty, in performance, to comply strictly
with the nature and quality of the delegation.
Any decision or direction on a subject matter of a fundamental nature that may affect the jurisdiction, rights and
survival of First Nations, may be undertaken as a national or international matter provided the First
Nations-in-Assembly have reached a consensus to grant delegated power, mandate or responsibility to the
Assembly of First Nations. . .
ROLE AND FUNCTION
ARTICLE 3
The role and function of the Assembly of First Nations is:
. . . c) To be a national delegated forum for the purpose of advancing the aspirations of First Nations and to
remain subordinate in strength power and resources to the First Nations jurisdiction for which it is established
to serve.

d) To perform and adhere strictly, as a sacred trust and duty, to the nature, scope and extent of the delegation
granted from time to time by First Nations.
. . .
ORGANS
ARTICLE 5
1. There are established as principal organs of the Assembly of First Nations:
First Nations-in-Assembly; The Council of Elders;
The Confederacy of Nations; The Council of Women; and
The Executive Committee; The National Youth Council
The Secretariat (also known as the National Indian Brotherhood;
. . .
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-19-
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THE CONFEDERACY OF NATIONS
COMPOSITION
ARTICLE 11
The Confederacy of Nations shall be composed of First Nations representatives of each region on the basis of
one representative for each region plus one representative for each 10,000 First Nations citizens of that region.

For the purposes of representatives and quorum, the Executive Committee shall maintain a record of the First
Nations populations of each region which shall be British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba,
Ontario, Quebec and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island,
Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory.
FUNCTIONS AND POWERS
ARTICLE 12
1. The Confederacy of Nations exists and functions as the governing body between assemblies of the First
Nations-in-Assembly, with authority:
a) To review and enforce decisions and directions of the First Nations-in-Assembly.

b) To interpret resolutions, decisions and directions of the First Nations-in-Assembly in cases where
ambiguity or conflict arises in the interpretation of resolutions, decisions.

c) To ensure that the Secretariat and Executive Committee (including the National Chief) conform to, and
implement, the decisions and directions of the First Nations-in-Assembly.

d) To take corrective and remedial disciplinary measures in respect of any member of the Secretariat or
Executive Committee (including the National Chief) in instances of willful breach of a national mandate.

e) To receive, consider, make decisions and take appropriate action on any matter raised by an individual
First Nation or collectively of First Nations between meetings of the First Nations-in-Assembly provided
that the response and action undertaken is within the scope of existing delegated mandates of the First
Nations-in-Assembly, and provided resources that may be required are available and within the budget of
the organization, and further provided that the matter dealt with does not have a detrimental effect on the
rights and interests of all First Nations.

f) To address any emergency in matters of a fundamental nature affecting one or more First Nations. The
Confederacy of Nations shall consider, first, whether that matter is of a fundamental , second, whether an
emergency exists before any decision or action is taken on that matter. Any decision made shall be referred
to the First Nations-in-Assembly at the earliest opportunity for ratification.

g) To approve, allocate, monitor and control the fiscal resources of the Assembly of First Nations.

h) To develop short-term and long-term plans and establish priorities consistent with the directions and
decisions of the First Nations-in-Assembly.

i) To ensure that quarterly written reports are submitted directly to the Chiefs of the First Nations.
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ACCOUNTABILITY
ARTICLE 13
The Confederacy of Nations shall be accountable to, shall report to and take direction from the First
Nations-in-Assembly.
The Confederacy of Nations representatives may be elected or appointed and removed by the Chiefs of each
region at a meeting convened for that purpose.
MEETINGS
ARTICLE 14
The Confederacy of Nations shall meet in regular quarterly sessions and in such special sessions as occasion
may require. Special sessions may be convened by the National Chief on his (or her) own initiative, or at the
request of a quorum for the duly selected members of the Confederacy of Nations or at the request of the
Executive Committee.
QUORUM
ARTICLE 15
Fifty percent of participating representatives and fifty percent of the participating regions shall constitute a
quorum for any meeting of the Confederacy of Nations.
PROCEDURE
ARTICLE 16
The Confederacy of Nations shall adopt its own Rules of Procedure.
THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
. . .
FUNCTIONS AND POWERS
ARTICLE 18
. . .
The Executive Committee shall bring to the attention of First Nations, the First Nations-in-Assembly and the
Confederacy of Nation any matters which, in their opinion may jeopardise the security, survival, rights,
aspirations and jurisdiction of First Nations.
The Executive Committee shall develop the budget requirements of the Assembly of First Nations and obtain
the approval of the budgets by the Confederacy of Nations.
In implementing the decisions of the First Nations-in-Assembly and the Confederacy of Nations, the
Executive Committee shall comply in all cases with the true spirit and intent of the delegation granted from
time to time.
In performing their duties or responsibilities, the Executive Committee may establish portfolios and deploy
resources as deemed necessary, subject to the approval of the Confederacy of Nations and to the nature of the
delegation granted by the First Nations-in-Assembly.
Members of the Executive Committee may participate in Confederacy of Nations meetings with voting
privileges.
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-21-
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ACCOUNTABILITY
ARTICLE 19
The Executive Committee shall be accountable to, shall report to and take direction from the Confederacy of
Nations and the First Nations-in-Assembly.
NATIONAL CHIEF
ROLE AND FUNCTION
ARTICLE 20
. . .
The National Chief shall take direction from the Executive Committee as a unit, and, with the Executive
Committee, is responsible to the Confederacy of Nations and ultimately to the First Nations-in-Assembly.
The National Chief shall make regular political and financial reports to his (or her) colleagues in the Executive
Committee, to the Confederacy of Nations and to the First Nations-in-Assembly.
. . .
The National Chief shall maintain and direct the Secretariat in accordance with the directions set by the
Executive Committee, the Confederacy of Nations and the First Nations-in-Assembly.
The National Chief shall preside over Executive Committee and Confederacy of Nations meetings.
. . .
The National Chief shall operate the Secretariat within the Budget approved each fiscal year by the
Confederacy of Nations.
AUTHORITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
ARTICLE 21
The National Chief shall have no inherent political authority.
Any authority the National Chief may have shall derive exclusively and entirely from authority granted from
time to time by the First Nations-in-Assembly.
As a leader who exercises delegated mandates, authority, responsibilities and duties, the National Chief has a
sacred political trust to comply in every respect with the direction given by the First Nations-in-Assembly, the
Confederacy of Nations and the Executive Committee.
. . .
ELECTION AND TERM
ARTICLE 22
. . .
The National Chief shall be elected for a three-year term and be eligible for re-election but may be removed by
a majority of 60% of the registered representatives of First Nations at a Special Assembly. convened by the
Confederacy of Nations for that purpose.
<e-notes> Valcourts Tired Game of Using Shawn Atleo Shield Ends As National Chief Makes Honourable Resignation :-22-
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ROLE AND FUNCTION
COUNCIL OF ELDERS
ARTICLE 24
The Council of Elders may discuss any question or any matter within the scope of the present Charter or
relating to the powers and functions of any organs provided for in the present Charter, and, may make
recommendations to the Executive Committee, the Confederacy of Nations, the First Nations-in-Assembly or
to any subsidiary organ on any such question or matter.
Any Elder may participate in meetings of the First Nation-in-Assembly or of the Confederacy of Nations or of
any subsidiary organ The Chairperson of the Council of Elders may participate in meetings of the Executive
Committee in an advisory capacity.
COUNCIL OF WOMEN
ARTICLE 24.A
The Council of Women may discuss any question or any matter within the scope of the present Charter or
relating to the powers and functions of any organs provided for in the present Charter, and make
recommendations to the Executive Committee, the Confederacy of Nations, the First Nations-in-Assembly or
to any subsidiary organ on any such question or matter.
Any member of the Council of Women may participate fully in meetings of the First Nations-in-Assembly or
of the Confederacy of Nations or of any subsidiary organ.
NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL
ARTICLE 24.B
At least two representative of the National Youth Council (chosen by consensus by members of the Council)
shall participate in all Annual General Assemblies and Confederacy of Nations meetings.
THE AFN SECRETARIAT (NATIONAL INDIAN BROTHERHOOD)
. . .
FUNCTIONS
ARTICLE 26
The Secretariat (NIB) shall function in accordance with its By-laws but so as to ensure
the implementation of the decisions of the First Nations-in-Assembly and those of the
Confederacy of Nations consistent with the decisions of the First
Nations-in-Assembly.
The Secretariat shall provide administrative, technical and support services to the
Assembly of First Nations.
The Secretariat shall receive, administer and distribute monies and transact business
and engage in such activities as are ancillary to, or necessary for, the realization of the
decisions of the First Nations-in-Assembly, the Confederacy of Nations and the
Executive Committee.