FNMI Summit Blog: Paul Martin's speech



by Shawna Snache

There have always been Changemakers in our midst.

As the Right Honourable Paul Martin so eloquently phrased it on the morning of day 2 of the summit, "you could feel the electricity in the air". He meant the atmosphere over breakfast with the award winners of the Ashoka Canada Changemakers Competition: Inspiring Approaches to First Nation, Metis and Inuit Learning. It's hard not to be inspired and excited about the future of Aboriginal education in Canada while in the presence of so many changmakers from funders to award winners to the elders and champions of education present at the Summit.  

"Putting our minds together to see what kind of life we can bring to our children" seems to be the common theme that guides our work and networking over the three day summit.

There is a greater willingness to share our collective history in order to move forward as we look for new partnerships that will change the future of aboriginal education in Canada. As we share our stories and learn from each other our minds grow stronger together and our common desire for a future that includes quality and equally funded education for First Nation, Metis and Inuit children and learners, although this blogger would be so bold as to suggest that we aspire to go beyond just equal funding and look to develop a brand new and innovative model that the mainstream can eventually look towards as they face their own challenges with funding cuts and expectations of doing more with less. We've already agreed at this conference that the status quo will no longer be acceptable in Canada.

As a people, we are slowly learning of the willing partnerships and philanthropic foundations willing to support FNMI learning by working with us and allowing us our self determination and autonomy.