Protecting the Home of Treaty Education: First Nations University of Canada Live-In

Students, staff and faculty to occupy First Nations University of Canada starting March 23, 2010.

By Alley Katz. This story appeared on the The Media Co-Op, a project of The Dominion News Coorperative.

The Student’s Association of the First Nations University of Canada have announced that they are calling for a Live-In at the First Nations University of Canada campus. Students, staff and faculty at the Regina and the Prince Albert campuses will move in to the First Nations University of Canada (FNUIC) commencing the afternoon of March 23, 2010. The announcement was made during a rally held March 22, 2010 on the steps of the Saskatchewan Legislatative Building.

The Student Association and their supporters insist that the federal government restore the $7 million in annual funding that it contributes to the institution, and they are also calling for the provincial government to restore its $5 million in annual funding. Both levels of government have stated that FNUIC university funding, which runs out March 31 2010, will not be restored due to concerns with past governance and financial management of the university. Incredibly, while the Saskatchewan Minister for Education, Rob Norris, was attending a summit in Saskatoon on March 22 titled “Strengthening Capacity and Creating Opportunity: A Summit on the Future of Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education in Saskatchewan”; a discussion of FNUIC was absent from the summit’s agenda. Evidentially crown Ministers like Rob Norris and Chuck Strahl, the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, are unable to connect the dots on this one.

The Speakers at the rally noted that the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations has established a First Nations University of Canada’s Transitional Board of Governors that will work in partnership with the University of Regina (UofR) within a shared management model to address governance concerns. This step goes beyond any that have been called for in the numerous reviews that have been completed on the Governance structure of FNUIC. Further, speaker after speaker compared the relatively small amounts of money that is suspected of being mismanaged at FNUIC to the financial management of the current conservative governments of Saskatchewan and Canada which have both inherited budget surpluses when assuming power and have, in a short period of time, turned these into multi-billion dollar deficits.

In essence, while the issues of FNUIC governance are being worked on, the existence of this educational institution for post-secondary students is being ripped away. FNUIC sits upon Treaty Four land, and although it is available to all students the university needs to be viewed within the lens of Treaties. As partners to the Treaties, the provincial and federal governments have a duty to consult with Treaty peoples on issues pertaining to Treaty terms. The terms of the Numbered Treaties are the obligations to be paid for the prize; the sharing of land title with the settlers. Education is one of the terms under the existing numbered Treaties. Look it up in the Treaties under the heading of Schools.

Post secondary education for all Aboriginal peoples of Canada is considered by many to be the new buffalo. As members of settler society and as Treaty partners, we must honour our agreements. Once this unique university is gone, like the buffalo it is very doubtful it will ever return.

The FNUIC Student Association is calling for money, food, tipis, camping supplies, letters of support as well as workshops and entertainment while they occupy what they call “their second home.” You can reach the association in Saskatchewan at (306) 790-5950 ext. 3015.


Posted on March 26, 2010, in Civil & Human Rights, Indigenous Struggles, Youth Struggles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Protecting the Home of Treaty Education: First Nations University of Canada Live-In.

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