AMC Statement RE: Government of Manitoba Launch of Indigenous Policy Framework
April 29, 2022
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
TREATY 1 TERRITORY, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) issues this statement in response to the Manitoba government’s announcement of Mamàhtawisiwin: The Wonder We Are Born With – An Indigenous Education Policy Framework.
This framework aims to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing in K-12 education. In addition to the new framework, Manitoba announced an additional $1.6 million investment in the Elders and Knowledge Keepers in Schools Initiative.
Acting Grand Chief Cornell Mclean said, “The AMC welcomes the introduction of a new education framework that puts First Nations knowledge into greater focus. Greater emphasis on First Nations culture and world views are critical in reforming education for First Nations students in Manitoba.”
First Nations students continue to struggle in this provincial education system. In 2020, 50.9 percent of Indigenous students graduated high school on time in contrast to 90.8 percent of non-Indigenous students. Increasing funding for Elders and Knowledge Keepers can provide First Nation students with a support system to help them navigate a Secondary School system that struggles to reflect the issues that First Nation students face on a regular basis.
However, Acting Grand Chief Mclean states that more work needs to be done with the province of Manitoba and its approach to Mamàhtawisiwin, concluding. “As with the previous reform initiative and reforms in other areas, we are disappointed that the current Conservative government continues to not consult First Nations in Manitoba and not involve the AMC. First Nations have a unique Treaty relationship with the Crown that involves the Treaty right to education. While the province has often touted its commitment to reconciliation, it has not put that into practice. I challenge Premier Heather Stephenson to give real meaning and effect to its approach to reconciliation with First Nations in Manitoba, and work with the AMC to develop a First Nations-specific approach to its pan-Indigenous education policy framework.”