Opinion: Open Letter to Education Minister Bronwyn Eyre
- Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte | November 17, 2017
As Grand Chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC), I am compelled to respond when necessary to public officials such as yourself, when there is a disrespect towards the history and intent of Treaty agreements. It is this agreement that our ancestors have been able to live in a society that flourishes with the richness of its wildlife, resources and cultural diversity.
Although my colleagues have already responded to your public comments, I am asking you as a public official to take this opportunity to learn from this experience. We are all part of the journey towards Truth and Reconciliation when the Call for Action explicitly mandates Indigenization in Federal and Provincial political initiatives.
PAGC is also concerned with the disregard of the Transformation Committee’s proposed plan as agreed upon during the fall of 2016. The seven principles guiding the Indigenous Education Protocol between colleges and the Aboriginal people compromised with the devolution of NORTEP/NORPEC. At that time, you were Minister of Advanced Education and that arbitrary decision obviously had no bearing in your decision to dissolve NORTEP’s governance, structure and organizational plan into a college that did not submit a proposal; Northlands College.
Therefore, I invite you to respond on how you will facilitate the principles in the protocol that states, “…implement intellectual and cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples through curriculum and learning approaches relevant to learners and communities.” Under education, the report called, “the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to develop culturally appropriate early childhood education programs for Aboriginal families.” It is for this reason I call upon your government to adhere to the Indigenous Education Protocol in the wake of your recent comments.
This improved understanding of Treaties can be accommodated by the TRC’s recommendation’s Professional Development and Training for Public Servants: #57, “We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history, and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.”
Finally, as we prepare for the Nation-to-Nation discussions with the Crown regarding the future of First Nations education, what is the position of your office with protection of Treaty Right to Education? Does SK Ministry have proposed legislation in the Education Act to take over First Nations schools and lands situated on reserve? It will be your response towards this inquiry on First Nations education that will be the litmus test on the provincial government’s position on Treaty Rights. I shall look forward to your immediate response.
Prince Albert Grand Council
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