Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and FSIN Chief Guy
Lonechild Say a New First Nations University Deserves a New Deal

SASKATOON, March 24 /CNW Telbec/ - FSIN Chief Guy Lonechild and AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo today stated that there is now an opportunity for the federal government to be part of a new First Nations University of Canada that will support First Nations students today and into the future. They pointed to a Memorandum of Understanding signed yesterday between the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), the Province of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina.

"We encourage Minister Strahl to view the Memorandum of Understanding as a very significant commitment on the part of all four provincial partners. The MOU reflects openness, transparency and accountability. I made that commitment to our First Nations University students earlier this year. We made that commitment to our partners and we and our partners have lived up to that commitment through this MOU that is supported by the Government of Saskatchewan through the Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour. FSIN is ready to meet with Minister Strahl at any time to discuss how this process can be concluded in a manner that focuses on the needs of our students and the sustained existence of the First Nations University," said FSIN Chief Guy Lonechild.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the four parties will see provincial dollars for First Nations university flow as conditions are met. With this partnership agreement in place, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations is urging a similar commitment from the Government of Canada that focuses on the long-term sustained support of the First Nations University and its students.

"It has become increasingly clear over the last weeks and months that there is a tremendous commitment to the First Nations University of Canada from the First Nations leadership, the Province and a clear, strong and vocal commitment from the students themselves," said National Chief Shawn Atleo. "Everyone agrees that this institution is too important to see its doors close.

"Students have demonstrated in strong words and actions that this is their school, that there is no other institution like it in Canada, and that all parties must work together to make it succeed.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: For further information: Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer at (613) 314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca; Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer at (613) 292-0857, agaron@afn.ca; Dwight Percy, FSIN Communications Officer, (306) 222-1361


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