Anishinaabe - Cree - Dakota - Nakota Nations

Official Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau to Restoring Jurisdiction of Treaty-Based Education

September 7, 2019

Boozshoo Prime Minister Trudeau;

RE: First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory: Restoring Jurisdiction of Education – TreatyBased

Through the Treaty, our ancestors understood that they would learn the “cunning of the white man” meaning they would be provided with the education to adapt to the ways of the Settlers while keeping our ancestral identity alive and well. In making the Treaty, our ancestors held the understanding to enable them to be an active participant in the new economy, in addition to maintaining our Inherent education practices so that we would continue to nurture, teach and provide for our future generations.

As you know, the Crown, your ancestors, didn’t fulfil obligations from the outset by choosing to provide limited educational services not as a treaty right, but as a colonization and assimilation tool through its unilateral settler law, the Indian Act. In fact, as you also know, Canada directly attacked our ancestral way of being and learning through the enforcement of the colonial education to “kill the Indian in the child” through education specifically.

We have taken many roads in order to survive colonial education while secretly hanging on to our ancestral ways of being way back in the bush so we wouldn’t be found and persecuted. Directly due to the lack of respect and resources to support our ancestral lifelong learning system to sustain our ancestral knowledge, culture and language our people have been and continue to be dramatically impacted. These impacts are highly visible in the high rates of early death, suicide, violence, trauma, incarceration, child custody, missing and murdered women and girls, on and on. The intergenerational transferring of those impacts continues directly because of the lack of having the opportunity to live and learn as the way our ancestors understood would happen after the Treaty process. More recently, the ripple effects are reflected in the loss of our young people to the meth epidemic in our Nations; if they had opportunity to learn their true identity alongside in equitable standards of the colonial education, they would be healthy.

Last modified: September 7, 2019

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