For Immediate Release: June 14, 2010
FSIN Chiefs in Assembly Approve First Nations University Amendments
(Saskatoon SK): The Chiefs in Assembly of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) has approved a series of amendments to the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) Act last Thursday, June 10, 2010.
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Guy Lonechild said, “This legislative amendment is a very significant step forward for First Nations University. It represents tremendous commitment on the part of the partners in the process and the culmination of months of intense work by all of them. In my role as FSIN Chief, I applaud those efforts. Success has been achieved because all of us, as partners, did precisely what we committed to accomplish.”
The amendments to the First Nations University (FNUniv) Act of Canada approved by the Chiefs in Assembly last week include the following: reducing the Board of Governors from twenty-one members to nine, appointing Board members based on skills and experience, thereby depoliticizing it, implementing best practices in Board governance, and allowing for national representation.
“Throughout the past few months, FSIN has been completely supportive of the efforts of all the partners to achieve significant improvements in governance, accountability and financial stewardship for First Nations University,” said Chief Lonechild.
In February 2010, an FSIN resolution established an Interim Board of Governors for First Nations University. The Interim Board’s mandate was to increase the level of financial stability and address governance issues as outlined in the All Chiefs Task Force and the Dr. Manley Begay Report. Later that month, FSIN assisted in the establishment of a technical working group that was mandated to develop a series of working agreements for the partners. A Memorandum of Understanding between the partners was finalized in March, at which time provincial funding was reinstated.
In March and April, the First Nations University Interim Board of Governors submitted an Indian Studies Support Program (ISSP) proposal as well as a business plan. As a result of those applications, the Government of Canada reinstated a total of up to $7 Million under the ISSP envelope.
“Throughout those months, our role, as FSIN leadership, has been to continuously communicate to the federal Minister and Members of Parliament the pivotal role of First Nations University. Above all, we conveyed the overriding need to address the long term interests of First Nations University students,” stated Chief Lonechild.
The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of Treaty, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.
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Mervin Brass, Executive Director of Communications
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