Friday, 16 May 2014

WILL They??

AFN, executive, regionals, PTO's and Confederacy must force the govts to deal with each nation. AANDC has regional offices that can develop capacity agreements to deal with administering respective nations/communities/freedom schools /home schoolers own education acts/regulations/curriculum. Of course, we already have the resources in our communities to deliver education to our students inside as well as outside the current education system. Lack of money and resources isnt so much the problem as the lack of will, coordination and faith that we can develop our own systems while incorporating conventional methods.

Change The Game By Not Playing At All

We cant keep fighting colonial government for something we can and should be doing ourselves.
Resurgence of our traditions, return to use of the land by taking only what you need for sustenance, medicines, prayers and teaching.
All of these laws, policies and politics won't mean a damn thing when they come to lay pipe, build wells, steal water and remove people. Its going to come down to on the land protection.
Setting up camps, freedom schools &  mapping where the sacred sites and traditional use areas are, so we prove we are actually USING the lands. We will have the basis of ongoing use of the land once we get out there.
The chiefs, Confederacy,  PTOs can still be relevant by directing their resources to local communities for things such as survival training,  traditional land use, mapping, freedom schools and direct action TRAINING - so we can be prepared to minimize the possibility of arrests, "injunctions" by knowing and exercising our rights based on court cases, international law, and most importantly inherent.
Rather than react to government and colonial structures of AFN, why not draft declarations that we are returning to the land, that we are inherently free, that we are responsible to the land, water and people.
Can they stop you from being free? Hell no. Change the game by not playing at all.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Education Trumps Politics

Focus on strategy while establishing nationhood should be the priority of our actions rather than depending on AFN Executive to speak for the Nations.  We should not be under the illusion that a new National Chief is the answer or even that AFN is the answer.

But as it the chiefs, regional, PTO's, and AFN executive not realize how much potential and leverage they have to show the government of canada that we have the potential to cripple the education system off reserve?

Pulling our children from the system to being under the First Nations jurisdiction, even just for a short time, would be very effective in changing policy. 

Take a look at Saskatchewan for example;  There are approximately 4000 First Nations funded students that attend provincial schools and depending on tuition agreements that number could be approximately $40 million.  Thats $40 million that we can rightfully hold from the provinces.  Thats 4000 students that can learn in an environment that respects their culture, language and land.

We all know that AFN as it is today and prior to Atleos resignation, cannot serve its the purpose because of the many diverse communities. Why is the executive not listening to Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy when he asks that the confederacy of nations be revived?  POWER AND STATURE is the reason. The ones in control do not wish to relinquish it.  They are clinging onto their  chiefdom and 'job' rather than duties.

So while it is still here, we should use the AFN and PTO's as a tool by accessing and using their capacity to meet, coordinate, implement and force the government to meet with the First Nations or territories directly.  Force the AFN executive and the structure as it is now to empower nations and provide resources to meet and formulate nation building.

The AFN executive must hear the voice of their people prior to the May 15th and May 27th meetings.  They cannot rely on their technicians to guide their hearts.   After such, the AFN executive and PTO's must listen to the grassroots and assist in Nationhood building which could include providing templates for our own respective Nations education acts and assist in making the transition as easy as possible.   While many Chiefs of First Nations are busy running local band administration, politics and the front line, regional chiefs have the capacity to forum with members to see where they go from here and provide recommendations.

Until there is a body that can effectively force the government and industry to deal with the nations, we must use the resources of the AFN and PTO's while maintaing autonomy.   The AFN and executive are not rights holders, rather the AFN executive should be forcing the government to deal with our nations and territories directly.  

If there is to be an advocating body it it to be a grassroots membership directing the path.  Since there is no such body, the Confederacy of Nations would be the most inclusive of what is presently out there.  As I said above, I do not see the executive taking a chance on invoking such a logical and powerful structure. 
If the AFN executive fails to hear the voices they will prove they are irrelevant and redundant.
"The role of the National Chief and the AFN is to advocate on behalf of First Nations as directed by Chiefs-in-Assembly.  This includes facilitation and coordination of national and regional discussions and dialogue, advocacy efforts and campaigns, legal and policy analysis, communicating with governments, including facilitating relationship building between First Nations and the Crown as well as public and private sectors and general public.

The only solutions I feel is effective is local jurisdiction and responsibility.

We need not to beg the government to recognize our inherent right to educating our children.  We do not need them to give us permission to do everything necessary for our future generations.

We must establish curriculum based on our traditions, worldview and also include conventional education then implement it.

We have the solutions in our communities and the resources are on the front lines.  The educators, the parents, the elders, knowledge keepers and most importantly the youth are these resources and they should not be underestimated or ignored.

The present Education system does not meet the needs of our cultural identity, language, learning styles, the consideration of family dynamics, ceremony, and history.  So rather than forcing our children to accommodate the needs of an an education system that doesn't respect their needs, we should be forcing the education to accommodate our children's needs.  An action such as this would force the government to consult with First Nations or Territories directly.

An action like this is NOT idealistic or radical.  Its pride, faith and inherent knowledge that makes it possible.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Proof is in the pudding

We are being put to the test and now is the time to show what we are capable of.

From my perspective, I feel we as grassroots people should approach PTO's, Band councils, Tribal councils and FN urban service providers and begin strategy on a national call to action.  What would this would look like:

Pull students from the schools for the most part of June.  Call it National Cultural Resurgence & Education Month, if you may. 

Return to community building and empowerment.  Freedom schools can be set up concentrating on language revitalization, cultural teachings & storytelling, land based education in medicines, botany, hunting, tracking and survival skills.

Call a strike for all on reserve teachers & administrators to walk out of colonial structures and constraints and onto the land for the survival of our people by providing your knowledge.

We have the resources, intelligence, capabilities and the heart to accomplish this.  There is no barriers to such an action.  Working together to send a message not only the government but more importantly to our youth - "WE WILL TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN".  "Youth are our future leaders and we should support them", lets prove this to them by taking ACTION.  

This is a call to all Chiefs, Councilors, educators, service providers to meet with the grassroots people and come up with a plan to PROVE we will exercise our jurisdiction of our children's education.

A couple examples that it IS possible and CAN be done:
The Akwesasne Freedom School (AFS) was founded in 1979 by Mohawk parents concerned with the lack of cultural and linguistic services available in local public schools.  As an independent elementary school, AFS has existed on a shoestring budget for over 25 years. In 1985, the parents who administer the school made a historic decision to adopt a total Mohawk immersion curriculum. It was a historic decision. AFS was the first to implement this curriculum and did so without approval or funding from state, federal or provincial governments. By focusing on our young people, we reverse the assimilation process and ensure that the Mohawk people do not lose their language, culture and identity.The school continues to immerse its students in levels Pre-K to 8 in the Kanienkéha (Mohawk) language and culture. All instruction, as well as recess periods, outdoor activities, field trips, meals and extracurricular activities are conducted in the Mohawk language.
In the winter of 2005 - Rontewennanónhnha – Ganienkeh’s first total immersion school became a reality. Experienced Kanien’kehà:ka language teachers and program developers were recruited for this one-of-a-kind opportunity to develop Kanien’kehà:ka language programs at Ganienkeh. Programs are being developed and implemented that will work and are not tainted by the bureaucratic constraints of “Indian Country” schools still dependent on funding from US and or Canadian sources. Our education is truly in our control and this was mandated and insisted upon by our youth who truly appreciate one of our greatest resources – our language, our direct link to the natural world around us.
Mother Earths Childrens Charter School
Canadas first and only Indigenous Charter school
Our Vision
Rediscovering the gifts and potential given to them by the Creator, our children will achieve personal excellence and fulfillment.
Our Mission
To wholistically nurture, guide and challenge each child’s spiritual, intellectual, physical and emotional self through traditional Indigenous teachings.
Anishinaabek Gardens Homeschool Academy is a private homeschool located in Michigan but available online for all families across the world. This is an umbrella school for families that need private school enrollment with little interference over their educational activities. Families may purchase their own curriculum of their choice or we can plan a curriculum specifically for their needs. You may request assistance with transcripts, graduation activities, and homeschool advising. 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Knowledge is Free

Autonomous education is what I prefer rather than having our children herded into a system and curriculum based on colonial constructs.  
The free will to choose what is best for our children rather than a one size fits all model. We are built of many nations and to think that legislation, even if we were the ones writing the regulations - the rich diversity of our culture would be sacrificed to some extent.
The ability to choose, what parents and their children feel necessary to learn,  is true freedom.  Working with like minded people to develop their own curriculum,  support and share  knowledge is liberation.  
Developing Freedom schools, home-schools, charter schools and co-ops is what I would love to see. Something like this takes coordination, commitment and resources.  
If there was a fight I am willing to put all my dedication into it would be gathering these resources and pressuring the government to also provide. Regardless of what the government does or doesn't do, I believe we can still do what is necessary for our childrens future. 
Once we begin to establish nationhood and modelling holistic education, governance, protection; others will follow suit.  Indigenous as well as those not originally from Turtle Island will see these models as a concept that works to not only protect humanity but Mother Earth as well.
We will provide cultural teachings, language and land based education to our children as priority while incorporating math, science and other subjects given in conventional education systems. 
Shifting the worldview that success isn't based on western concepts of materialism and financial wealth to the worldview that what we as Indigneous people know - success based on the wellbeng, health and comfort of our families and Mother Earth.

If there is to be any mobilization against government it should be done as an act of resurgence rather than reaction.There is a great opportunity now to pressure the government by exercising our jurisdiction of education.  It is my belief that if a mass mobilization of parents, educators, traditional knowledge keepers and Elders liberated their children from schools, even for just a short time, as we establish more secure means of teaching our own, we can send a message to the government, school boards and provincial regulators.  They will see and feel the potential results that we are a force to be reckoned with.  They will see that they must heed our warning and provide the resources necessary to make Indigenous peoples education a priority.   With all the technology available, the possibilities for reaching many is endless. Satellite schools can be set up in homes, halls, band offices and even in parks on the land.  Free universities that provide every bit of relevant concepts that conventional institutions teach can be a reality.  Knowledge is free, degrees are not.  It is the ability to exercise our responsibilities that we are fighting for.