You may have wondered why a story I did recently on the vague federal proposal for aboriginal education legislation wasn’t more comprehensive.
Surely, you reckon, I could have talked to more people than Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak and U of W Prof. Jacqueline Romanow.
You can read the story at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/tory-ministers-native-education-proposal-blasted-236680231.html.
The story sat for weeks while I tried unsuccessfully to interview Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo.
First, Atleo’s staff wanted to know what questions I would ask.
And they wanted to know whom else I would interview.
At one point, after being uncertain if Atleo would have any time to talk to me, they said I could have a face-to-face interview if I went to a conference in Saskatoon.
But no, I couldn’t use that slot in Atleo’s schedule to talk to him by phone. And nothing since then appears to have opened up in Atleo’s schedule, because I’ve stopped hearing from his staff.
Meanwhile, as Nepinak told me, the Manitoba First Nations Educations Resource Centre is surveying Manitoba First Nations on what they think of the proposed legislation.
However, MFNERC executive director Lorne Keeper emailed me to say that he can’t give interviews until — maybe we should say ‘or if’ — Ottawa passes legislation and it has become practice in reserve schools.
And three leading aboriginal educators in Manitoba simply did not respond to interview requests.