sayyessidetileBy Rick Garrick

MOOSE DEER POINT FIRST NATION—Moose Deer Point Chief Barron King says signing on with the Anishinabek Education System (AES) will be an advantage for future generations in his community.

“The biggest [benefit] is taking control of our education,” King says. “And having the ability to make decisions for our children.”

King says children in his community currently attend public school board elementary and secondary schools outside of the community.

“We don’t currently have the opportunity to control or change the curriculum,” King says. “I think there could be improvements and that opportunity isn’t there currently for First Nations. With this [AES] agreement, [it gives us] the ability to take more control of the education for our children and influencing and having control over what the curriculum is for our children.”

King says that having more Anishinabek language and culture in the curriculum at public schools would not only benefit students from his community, it would also benefit students from neighbouring communities that attend those public schools.

“That opportunity could bring more culture to educating the public too, which is a positive,” King says. “I’m hoping that once [the AES] is passed, we will be able to influence the public [school] boards and have curriculums changed.”

King says his band has been working to provide information about AES to community members.

“[We’re] trying to educate them so that they have the details on what they are voting for,” King says.

Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee also encourages community members to learn more about the Say Yes to AES campaign and to get out and vote during the Ratification Vote, which takes place from November 28 to December 2, 2016.

“This means more per-student funding,” Madahbee says. “This is for our children.”

The Anishinabek Nation has been running a Say Yes to AES campaign since November 2015.

Information about the proposed agreement with Canada, fiscal arrangements and the Anishinabek Education System can be found at the Say Yes to AES website.

The benefits of ratifying the Education Agreement for communities without schools include the development of a new relationship with provincial school boards to enhance student success and well-being and the opportunity to develop and implement curriculum changes in the provincial education system. Eight other benefits are also listed on the Say Yes to AES website.

The benefits of ratifying the Education Agreement for communities with schools include having full control over all aspects of education from JK to Grade 12 and the opportunity to develop and implement Anishinabek curriculum and education standards.