29 March 2010
To the Honourable Chuck Strahl, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
House of Commons
We are writing today on behalf of the Student Christian Movement of Canada in support of First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv). As an organization that is made up of post-secondary campus groups from across Canada, and who have been working on faith-based social justice issues since 1921, we feel called to respond to the closing of the FNUniv.
While we are aware of the many issues around governance at FNUniv, we are also aware of the fact that the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations has recently dissolved the Board of Governors and suspended the President and Vice-President Administration due to governance issues and mismanagement. Just as steps in the right direction have been taken by the Board of Governors of FNUniv and the Saskatchewan Government, the Federal Government has decided to walk away.
The history of colonization in this country is shameful and indefensible. Part of this history involves the painful memory of residential schools with forceable confinement, the destruction of Indigenous cultures, and the abuse of children – physically, spiritually, emotionally and sexually. If the Harper government is serious about the residential schools apology offered to the First Nations people of Canada, and now that the conditions of good governance by FNUniv are being met, we believe actions must follow words; the funding to FNUniv from the Federal Government must be restored.
This is a one of a kind post-secondary educational experience for thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and as we continue to struggle out of the shackles of colonialism, the Student Christian Movement of Canada stands in solidarity with FNUniv.
We say simply, First Nations people have a right to First Nations education.
Sheryl Johnson and Geoff Dice
General Board Co-Chairs, Student Christian Movement of Canada
cc Jan Guenther Braun, General Secretary: email@example.com; Jean Crowder, NDP Critic for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Affairs; Todd Russell, Liberal Aboriginal Affairs critic; Lorraine Rekmans, Green Party critic for Aboriginal Affairs; and John Duncan, Parliamentary Secretary for Indian and Northern Affairs, Conservative.
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