First Nations schools suffer as they wait for federal funds

First Nations leaders appreciate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise to boost education funding but are growing impatient.

'Get it done. None of this red tape,' says FSIN chief

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said First Nations have waited long enough for promised education funds. (Jason Warick/CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continued to talk this week about boosting First Nations education funding, but chiefs are growing impatient.

We've waited long enough.- Bobby Cameron, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations chief 

​Trudeau pledged the new money back in March. None of it has reached struggling First Nations schools.

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron met with chiefs, Trudeau and others in Ottawa this week. He said the delays are harming students.

He wants Trudeau and federal Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett to get things moving immediately. 

"We've waited long enough," he said. "You know, really strongly encouraging Minister Bennett to direct her staff and the bureaucrats to just do it. Get it done. None of this red tape."

First Nations schools on reserves are federally funded. For years, they've received thousands of dollars less per student than other schools.

Many can't afford language programs, computer labs or even sports uniforms. They can't pay teachers competitive salaries, so the turnover rate is high.

Parents, teachers and others wonder how First Nations will address high dropout rates and other problems when their schools are starved for funding.