TYENDINAGA, ON, June 28 /CNW Telbec/ - "The Government of Ontario values
an Aboriginal post-secondary student at FNTI at one-fifth of a student
attending other colleges and universities. We cannot wait another 22 years to
address this inequity," stated Karihwakeron Tim Thompson, President and CAO of
FNTI (First Nations Technical Institute).
FNTI is an Aboriginal controlled post-secondary institution which came
into existence in 1985 as a result of an innovative partnership between the
FNTI Board of Directors, and the federal and provincial governments. FNTI has
graduated over 2000 people from its certificate, diploma and degree programs
and boasts a 90% graduation rate. It offers unique programs which reflect
Indigenous knowledge, responding to Aboriginal socio-economic needs, and
developing community human resource capacity to enhance self-government and
self-determination. FNTI is making significant contributions to reduce the
post-secondary education attainment gap which exists between Aboriginal
peoples and the Canadian population.
The federal government believes support for Aboriginal institutions is a
matter for the provinces and has said so as recently as June 2007 in a report
tabled with a Parliamentary Committee. Ontario offers a program which provides
support for program development and delivery in Aboriginal institutions,
however, at funding levels of $1677 per student this is approximately 20% of
per student allocations to support colleges and universities in Ontario.
"FNTI faces an annual struggle to survive, due to the fact that both
levels of government engage in short-term programs and half-measures. FNTI is
a success story yet we find ourselves being tossed around in an annual game of
jurisdictional volleyball which constantly threatens our very existence," said
William J. Brant, Chair of the FNTI Board of Directors.
"The lack of urgent action by both governments is inexcusable," FNTI
President Thompson added. "I had hoped the age of institutional assimilation
had passed. It is time for Ontario to demonstrate leadership and make room for
FNTI in a truly inclusive post-secondary system. I call upon the Minister of
Training, Colleges and Universities to work with FNTI to remove the system
barriers which undermine our operations.
We are seeking fairness, equity, and justice. Surely these are values
with which Ontario agrees."
For further information:
For further information: Karihwakeron Tim Thompson, FNTI President and
CAO, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, (613) 396-2122 ext. 133