Fate of First Nation's University in Ottawa's Hands

REGINA, March 24 /CNW Telbec/ - The government of Saskatchewan decision to restore funding to First Nations University of Canada yesterday means that the institutions survival hinges on the decision of the federal government.

"First Nations University has addressed its issues head-on and made the necessary changes to ensure accountability in the future," said Thomas Roussin, representative of the National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students. "The government of Saskatchewan has acknowledged its responsibility, we now wait for the federal government to join them."

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, the University of Regina, and the new First Nations University's board of directors reached an agreement on principles for a new funding mechanism that will address issues of governance and make the institution more accountable to lead to a restoration of funding from the provincial government. Despite the restoration of the $5.2 million from the Saskatchewan government, the institution will need $7.2 million of support from the federal government.

"The federal government has a responsibility to fulfill its treaty obligations and fund our university," added Roussin. "We must work together, at all levels, to allow First Nations University to continue to meet the needs of its students and our community."

First Nations University of Canada dates back to 1976 and is a symbol in Canada and internationally of leadership in Aboriginal education. After shutting down the Residential School system, First Nations University was designed to serve as a model for First Nations-controlled education.

Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation, uniting more that 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.

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

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