(Coast Salish Territory / Vancouver – April 21, 2011) The BC Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Summit and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs are united in their call for the federal government to adequately fund First Nations education in BC, including support for language, culture and technology.

Six years of funding negotiations left the government and BC’s First Nations Education Steering Committee just over $4 million apart – with the main shortfall being funding for languages and culture – but an unexpected federal move has now left those First Nations seeking jurisdiction over their schools facing a choice between less money than they now receive, or losing control of their schools in return for an inadequate increase.

“We need to invest in our future. We need to invest in our people. Education is a key pillar for all First Nations in BC. It is an essential component to our Nation building efforts and to improving the quality of lives of our people which includes practicing and thriving languages and cultures,” said Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould. “Our communities need adequate education funding to ensure that our children and youth develop to their full potential and that the future of our distinct cultures and languages are assured.