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NEW YORK, April 25 – Chief Conrad Polson of Timiskaming yesterday submitted a text to the United Nations’ Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Speaking on behalf of the chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), he delivered a message about the precarious funding conditions of First Nations education in Canada. Year after year, the Canadian government continues to close its eyes on the recommendations of more than 35 years of studies, consultations and various working groups, most of which it has contributed to. In refusing to consider these recommendations, the Canadian government keeps First Nations institutions in a highly precarious position.
Our schools and post-secondary establishments are underfunded. A number of our students cannot undertake their post-secondary studies because of a lack of finance. In its latest budget, the Canadian government completely ignores this aspect.
“It is urgent to act and mount a strong opposition, because if nothing happens to put an end to the plans of the Canadian government, our language and cultures are more threatened than ever. This is a question of considering these actions as nothing less than a crime against the importance for humanity and the right for our peoples to cultural diversity. This is why, on behalf of the Chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, I regard it as my duty to denounce this situation loudly and clearly” stated Chief Polson.
“It was important for us to call on the United Nations so that all can be done to put an end to this situation. We must ensure that the wrongs we have suffered do not worsen so we reach the point of no return,” declared Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.
A large delegation of Quebec First Nations is taking part in the seventh session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues being held in New York from April 21 to May 2, 2008, in order to denounce the colonialist attitude of the Canadian government.
The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the regional organization regrouping the chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador.
To obtain more information or a copy of Chief Polson’s text, please visit the website created for the First Nations education awareness campaign by the First Nations Education Council at www.avenir-future.com.
For further information: Alain Garon, Information and Communication Officer, AFNQL, Cell phone: (418) 956-5720, www.apnql-afnql.com
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