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AFN National Chief Issues “Back to School” Statement to First Nations Students and Families

by NationTalk on September 8, 20091005 Views


OTTAWA, Sept. 8 – Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo today issued the following statement:

“Today marks the day when many students across the country are returning to school. And for some, it will be their first day of school, the start of a new journey.I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the First Nations students who are going to school today. Our Elders tell us that learning is a life-long process and a way to empower ourselves and our nations. I am a strong believer in the importance of education for all our people, regardless of their age or ambition.

I want to acknowledge the parents, friends and families of all our First Nations students. We need our students to stay in school and your support, encouragement, advice and assistance is a vital part of this effort. I must also acknowledge the strong voices of First Nations leaders who are working to ensure our students have access to quality education and safe schools.

All Canadians should understand that First Nations learners are the key to the ongoing success and prosperity of this country. We are the youngest and fastest growing segment of the population. It is our energy and ideas that will shape the country and drive it forward now and in the future. Our students need support from the educators, the school workers and the political leadership of this land. By supporting our students, we are supporting our families, our communities and our nations.

This is our time to use education as our tool to retain and maintain the strength of First Nations languages, history, teachings and values while facilitating better understanding between First Nations and the rest of Canadian society.

I wish all those students who are heading to school the best of luck in their studies and academic endeavours.”

National Chief Shawn Atleo
Assembly of First Nations

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

For further information: Media inquiries should be directed to

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