REGINA, Feb. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Students, faculty and supporting communities are gathering at Saskatchewan's legislative building today to support the rebuilding of the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv).
"First Nations University plays a critical role in both First Nations and non-First Nations education," said Thomas Roussin, representative of the National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students. "The government needs to participate in the restructuring of First Nations University, not abandon the institution and the need for Aboriginal control of Aboriginal education."
In the wake of the government of Saskatchewan cancelling funding and following several years of governance issues, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations implemented the recommendations of the 2005 All-Chiefs Task Force and dissolved the Board of Governors of FNUniv. Students, faculty, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers applauded the decision only to see the federal government pull its funding four days later.
"This institution creates leaders and opportunities for First Nations peoples to participate in the economy," said Cadmus Delorme, President of the First Nations University of Canada Students' Association. "We share the land - that was the agreement, the treaty - the government has an obligation to fund this institution and that is why we are gathering today."
First Nations University of Canada has a strong history stretching back to 1976 and is a modern symbol in Canada and internationally of Aboriginal education leadership. After shutting down the Canadian Residential School system, First Nations University was established as a model for First Nations-controlled education.
"The recent actions of the federal government are inconsistent with the vision set forth in the Federal government's apology to Residential School survivors just last year," added Roussin. "The government must reverse its decision to end funding so that the institution, students, and First Nations communities can move forward."
Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation, uniting more than one-half million students from ten provinces. The National Aboriginal Caucus is the voice for Aboriginal students in Canada with members on campuses from St. John's to Victoria.
First Nations University of Canada Students' Association was founded in 1994 and represents all students at FNUniv.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students
For further information: For further information: Thomas Roussin, National Aboriginal Caucus representative, (306) 596-6716; Cadmus Delorme, President, First Nations University of Canada Students' Association, (306) 526-6998