INAC Report Recommends Continuation of Aboriginal Student Underfunding

OTTAWA, Dec. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - A report released by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) falls far short of addressing Aboriginal students' needs. The report recommended maintaining current levels of federal funding for Aboriginal post-secondary education and to shut Aboriginal communities out of the decision-making process.

"Willing, ready, and qualified Aboriginal people are prevented from attending university and college due to a lack of government funding," said Jaden Keitlah, Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students. "The Federal government's policy on Aboriginal student funding is outdated."

The report entitled The Post-Secondary Student Support Program: An Examination of Alternative Delivery Mechanisms was prepared by the United States-based Educational Policy Institute. The report not only made unsubstantiated claims that Aboriginal governments are not accountable, but also ignored the fact that the federal government has failed to live up to its treaty obligations.

Between 1996 and 2006 the Aboriginal population in Canada grew 45%. Federal funding increases have not kept pace with this growth having been capped at 2% since 1996. More than 15,000 Aboriginal people have been shut out of college and university over this period of time. As well, the Federal government currently funds status First Nations and Inuit peoples only, leaving non-status and Métis peoples without dedicated support. The National Aboriginal Caucus recently presented its concerns to the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology admonishing the federal government for failing to uphold its moral and legal responsibilities to provide access to post-secondary education for Canada's Aboriginal peoples.

"Funding Aboriginal students to pursue post-secondary education will create economically-self sufficient, healthy and stable communities," added Keitlah. "The Government of Canada must fulfill its treaty obligations and stop underfunding Aboriginal students."

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: Jaden Keitlah, National Aboriginal Caucus Chairperson, (613) 232-7394

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