AFN National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak Welcomes Dedicated Funding for First Nation Students with National School Food Program

Published: May 17, 2024Press Release

(May 17, 2024 – Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa, Ontario) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak issued the following statement alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to welcome the announcement of dedicated funding for First Nation students under the Government of Canada’s proposed National School Food Program:

“Dedicated funding for First Nations students in the new National School Food Program is an important step towards ensuring that all First Nations children have access to the nutritious food they need to thrive. I want to lift up the Prime Minister and his government for listening to our initial concerns and making this decision.

Food insecurity remains a significant issue within First Nations, with rates that exceed the national average. Many Nations across Turtle Island face unique challenges, such as high food costs, delivery to remote geographic locations and infrastructure challenges in schools, including the lack of kitchens, cafeterias, and suitable food preparation stations.

For students and families to start benefiting from these investments this fall, funding must be paired with community-specific solutions developed in partnership with First Nations. This includes culturally appropriate, holistic school food programs that provide every First Nations child access to healthy foods.

The program’s effectiveness will depend on the direct involvement of First Nations through its planning, implementation, and evaluation. Together, we can ensure that ensure no First Nations child goes to school hungry.

I look forward to working with the federal government on this national school food program and invite them to dedicate funding for First Nations from other significant budget priorities, including housing, policing, and infrastructure. This is the right approach for reconciliation.”  


The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. 

Contact information:

Kelly Reid
Senior Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
(613) 292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]