By Rick Garrick
RED ROCK INDIAN BAND—Red Rock Indian Band Chief Edward Wawia says control over education and assistance for post-secondary students are key reasons to sign on with the Anishinabek Education System (AES).
“One of the biggest benefits is that we would have control over education funding,” Wawia says. “We could start setting up our own education system.”
Wawia says the community’s elementary and secondary school students are currently bused off to schools in a neighbouring community.
“At the present time, we are not looking at putting a school on Red Rock Band,” Wawia says. “But we are looking at getting a daycare system started, so the extra money would help us get into the daycare system.”
Wawia says the AES would enable the community to provide more assistance for post-secondary students. There is currently limited funding available for post-secondary students.
“This way we would give everybody a chance to get into post-secondary school,” Wawia says.
“There’s a lot of them that started their families early and their children are off into school. Now is their chance to get back into schooling. I think it would be a very big benefit,” continued Wawia.
Wawia congratulated Tracy O’Donnell, a Red Rock Indian Band citizen, for putting “her heart and soul” into the development of the AES.
“She did a good job, her and all of her colleagues,” Wawia says. “I hope it is a success.”
Wawia says there has been a good response to the Say Yes to AES campaign in his community.
“Most of the people like it,” Wawia says. “I hope we get a big enough turnout to pass it.”
Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee 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 Nov. 28 to Dec. 2.
“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 online.
The benefits of ratifying the AES 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 AES 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. Eight other benefits are also listed on the Say Yes to AES website.