By Marci Becking
NIPISSING FN – Anishinabek Nation Deputy Grand Council Chief Glen Hare told participants at the Anishinabek Nation Education Symposium held April 23-24 at Nbisiing Secondary School that Anishinaabemowin – our language – needs to come before English and French.
“It’s so awesome to hear the little ones speak Anishinaabemowin around M’Chigeeng,” said Hare at the symposium which attracted representatives from 33 of the 39 Anishinabek First Nations. “There’s no one else in the country who can teach us our language. Only we can teach our kids our language.”
“Debenjiged kiimiingona dedbinwe wi naagdowendiwin,” said Hare in Anishinaabemowin.
Hare told the 175 educators, Chiefs and councillors that now, more than ever, support is needed from Chiefs and councils for the Anishinabek Education System.
“We have the responsibility to shape a good future for our communities and for our kids. I think we can achieve that when we talk about our own education system.”
The Deputy Grand Council Chief also said communities need to stand together against the proposed First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act.
“Education is ours. We have to own it. Now is the time. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Everything that you see in front of us has been done by the community,” said Hare. “What we have here is ours. Bill C-33 – The minister has the last say on your education. We need to control our own destiny and our own future. The Anishinabek Education System is good and we have to trust it. We have no other alternative.”
“Let’s open doors for our kids so they can change the world and have better job opportunities.”
Next steps for the ratification process of the Anishinabek Education Agreement, the Education Fiscal Transfer Agreement and the Framework for the Master Education Agreement with Ontario will all be discussed at the Grand Council Assembly June 3-5, 2014 in Long Lake #58 First Nation.