On National Aboriginal Day, sign on to Shannen’s Dream and help make quality education a reality in Aboriginal communities

June 17, 2011
Ottawa…..The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) invites teachers and students to highlight National Aboriginal Day by signing on to Shannen’s Dream, a national campaign which advocates for the provision of healthy schools and quality education for First Nations children in Canada.  http://www.fncfcs.com/shannensdream/sign-up

“A vital step in building economies, reducing poverty and creating futures is the development of a quality public education system that works as well for First Nations children as it works for other children in Canada,” says CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly.

“Our Aboriginal population has the greatest number of young people under the age of 25 in Canada. These youth have so much potential in our society, yet, in order to reach their full potential, the correct measures and supports must be in place within the education system. The first barrier is inadequate federal funding,” she notes, referring to a report by the Assembly of First Nations showing that federal funding in education for Aboriginal students in First Nations communities is $2,000 to $3,000 less per pupil than what provincial and territorial governments are spending on other Canadian pupils.

“Although the Shannen’s Dream campaign was launched to mobilize support for a school in a remote northern Ontario community, it epitomizes the current state of chronic federal underfunding of Aboriginal education throughout the country,” adds Donnelly.

“We are cautiously optimistic with the federal government’s recent announcement regarding the construction of a school in Attawapiskat by 2013, and we hope that children in that community will be able to benefit from a safe and clean educational environment,” concludes Donnelly.

The Shannen’s Dream campaign was named after Shannen Koostachin from Attawapiskat First Nation, who led a group of students from her James Bay community to Ottawa to ask why the government had broken its promise to build a new school in Attawapiskat. For more information on the campaign: http://www.fncfcs.com/shannensdream.

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation speaks for nearly 200,000 teachers in Canada as their national voice on education and related social issues.  CTF is also a member of the international body of teachers, Education International.

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Spokesperson: Mary-Lou Donnelly, CTF President
Media contact: Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-688-4314 or 613-899-4247 (cell)