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Nipissing chief let down by First Nation Education Act

The chief of the Nipissing First Nation says she's disappointed with the federal government’s First Nation Education Act.
The chief of the Nipissing First Nation says the federal government's First Nation education act is bureaucratic. And Marianna Couchie says overall, she's disappointed with what is being put forward. (CBC)

The chief of the Nipissing First Nation says she's disappointed with the federal government’s First Nation education act.

Last week, the federal government tabled the bill, which includes an increase in funding for First Nations students who live on reserves and ensures that teachers are properly certified.

But Chief Marianna Couchie said she finds the act full of bureaucracy.

"We want to be able to say, 'Yes, we're in control of our education. We're capable of managing our education.' But we're underfunded. That's the main problem, is the underfunding,” she said.

The bill says it will provide more funding, starting in 2016, and create a joint council of education professionals. But Couchie said it doesn't give enough control to First Nations.

"Because right now, it's the minister of education's control of First Nation education, it's not First Nation control,” Couchie said.

“They're prescribing too much in terms of 'Ok, we'll let you operate your schools, but we're not going to let you manage them.'"

Couchie said  she will be attending a regional chiefs meeting where she plans to discuss the bill with other First Nations leaders.

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