Students Support First Nations Day of Reconciliation

    OTTAWA, June 10 /CNW Telbec/ - On Thursday, June 11, university and
college students will be participating in the First Nations Day of
Reconciliation that marks the one-year anniversary of the government's
historic apology for the residential school system. Students will be marching
in solidarity with Aboriginal organizations that are calling on the federal
government to address the many injustices still facing Aboriginal peoples
across the country.
    "Last year, the federal government took an important step towards
reconciliation by apologizing to residential school survivors," said Thomas
Roussin, Aboriginal students' spokesperson for the Canadian Federation of
Students (CFS). "Now is the time to turn words into action. The federal
government must address the poverty afflicting Aboriginal communities through
meaningful investments in areas such as post-secondary education."
    Since 1996, annual increases to funding for the Post-Secondary Student
Support Program, which provides financial support for First Nations and Inuit
students, have been capped at two percent. When accounting for inflation and
population growth, the value of the federal government's contribution to
Aboriginal post-secondary education has declined significantly. Over 2,500
Aboriginal students are denied funding each year as a result.
    At the May 2009 general meeting of the CFS National Aboriginal Caucus,
Aboriginal student representatives from across the country resolved to support
the Day of Reconciliation spearheaded by the Assembly of First Nations.
    "Aboriginal peoples and communities are facing a number of challenges",
said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation
of Students. "It is critical that the federal government build upon its
apology through meaningful, immediate, and tangible action for Canada's
Aboriginal peoples."

    The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student
organisation, representing over one half million college and university
students at more than 80 campus students' unions across Canada. The
Federation's National Aboriginal Caucus unites Aboriginal students on campuses
across Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Thomas Roussin, Aboriginal Students'
Representative, (306) 596-6716 (cell); Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National
Chairperson, (613) 261-7528 (cell)

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