Home > Federal > Attawapiskat School Situation Shows Folly In Current First Nations Governance System

Attawapiskat School Situation Shows Folly In Current First Nations Governance System

August 7, 2008

I’m sure by now, thanks to Peterborough Politics, most know about the struggle of the First Nations community of Attawapiskat in Northern Ontario to get a proper school building.

I believe that this is yet another example of the folly that is the First Nations governance system here in Canada.

Constitutionally, education is, for the most part, a provincial responsibility. However, First Nation affairs are a federal responsibility; therefore the education (and other things) of First Nations is a federal responsibility. This results in the ridiculous situation in which an order of government (federal, in this case) that doesn’t have much institutional experience in being responsible for education, being responsible in delivering it.

And what of the local First Nation government in all of this? Well, as it stands right now, they have a minimum of power and resources to control their own destinies. For the most part, the big decision-maker is Ottawa, and Ottawa tends to be far removed, in more ways than one, from the reserves and their realities.

What really needs to happen is the creation of an aboriginal (not provincial or federal) order of government, with powers similar to that of an municipality and school board (with other adjustments and additional powers as needed). Unfortunately, it will be hard to transfer the mindset of band administrations from one form of governance structure to another. Not that should stop any attempts at change.

First Nations need to have the power, like the rest of us, to control their own destinies.

Categories: Federal
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