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Archive for April, 2010

From an editorial by Doug Cuthand in the StarPhoenix of April 30, 2010.

The First Nations University of Canada, too, has been cast aside by the federal government. This month’s payroll may well be the last for many FNUC staff. Funds have run out and Ottawa refuses to reinstate its funding despite all the positive moves the university’s new board of governors has made.

The University of Regina is onside to provide administrative support, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers has lifted its censure of FNUC. The university is on the right path to reform, but the federal minister is steadfast in his refusal to support this institution. It’s obvious that First Nations institutions are not part of the Conservative government’s political landscape.

Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl began his political career as a member of the Reform party that begat the Canadian Alliance which morphed into the new Conservative Party of Canada. The Reform party was to the right of the old Progressive Conservative party and made considerable noise about First Nations politics and accountability.

This may have appealed to the Tories’ redneck base, but once in power they tried to bury their past. However they continued to attack First Nations and aboriginal issues. They scrapped the Kelowna Accord, refused to sign on to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous peoples and, when FNUC encountered internal problems, they jumped on the chance to destroy the university.

In spite of the best efforts of the new board, the new president and the University of Regina, the federal government remains steadfast in its desire to shut down FNUC.

Read more in the StarPhoenix.

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April 30, 2010
(For immediate release)

The First Nations University of Canada is pleased with the announcement made by Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, to provide $3 million in funding to cover programming until the end of the academic year, August 31, 2010.

“We’re pleased with this announcement, because it means that students currently enrolled can complete their courses,” said Dr. Shauneen Pete, President of the First Nations University of Canada.

Dr. Pete also thanked the University of Regina for working with the FNUniv on the application for the federal funding. The U of R and the FNUniv have had a federated agreement in place since 1976.

“We intend to demonstrate our commitment to lasting institutional reform. This work will be undertaken in conjunction with the University of Regina partners, as outlined in the Liaison Agreement, signed April 30, 2010,” Dr. Pete said.

“During the last few weeks there have been several changes at the FNUniv. However, there will need to be additional significant changes, these administrative reforms are necessary regardless of the levels of federal funding that we were able to secure,” said Dr. Pete.

-30-

Contact: Heather Montana, 790-5950 ext. 2100

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From an article posted on CBC.ca on April 29, 2010.

Regina’s troubled First Nations University of Canada was threatened with closure unless it took drastic measures to address financial and management issues, documents leaked to media Thursday reveal.

“[W]e have a chance — but only one chance, with no guarantee of success, to make our case [for federal funding],” Guy Lonechild, chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), wrote in a letter to the university’s president and the chair of the board of governors on April 16.

The letter was leaked to media by an employee of the university.

Lonechild wrote the letter after meeting with federal officials, including Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl. The FSIN controls FNUC through a board of governors.

Read more on CBC.ca.

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From an article by David Kirton posted to the News Talk 980 site on April 29, 2010.

A letter to the President and the Board chair of the First Nations University of Canada urges quick action, and offers a dark future if that action is not taken.

That letter, written only two days after FNUC president Shawneen Pete went to Ottawa to present a plan, was written by the Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

Guy Lonechild says in the letter, obtained by News Talk Radio, that not enough has been done to convince Ottawa that the University is able and willing to reorganize itself.

The letter, dated April 16th, urges the president and board chair Joely BigEagle to act quickly and decisively.

Read the full article on the News Talk 980 site.

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SASKATOON, April 30 /CNW/ – The announcement that the federal government has approved $3.0 Million in funding for First Nations University (FNUniv) represents yet another significant step forward.

“Minister Strahl’s announcement yesterday afternoon underscores the importance of First Nations University,” said Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Chief Guy Lonechild. “We are very pleased to hear this news. FSIN is equally pleased that the significant improvements in governance, accountability and financial stewardship at First Nations University have been acknowledged. We are appreciative of Minister Strahl’s recognition of that significant progress.”

The role of FSIN has been to support, to encourage and to assist First Nations University. Chief Lonechild noted that FNUniv had made a compelling case for full federal government funding of an institution that is important to First Nations people across the country, and in fact, to all Canadians.

“On behalf of FSIN, I would like to commend the Interim Board of Governors and Administration of First Nations University as well as the University of Regina for their diligent work on the ISSP application and the business case. Together they have created a framework that ensures accountability and sustainability,” said Chief Lonechild.

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations will continue to assist First Nations University in seeking an additional $4.2 Million in long term, sustainable funding under its business plan application.

“We will work with First Nations University in the determination of the benchmarks to be addressed in the next stage. We will continue to speak to federal government leaders about the importance of this institution. And we will continues to offer our strong support to First Nations University in this important endeavour,” concluded Chief Lonechild.

For further information: Contact information for media: Communications Director, Mervin Brass, (306) 220-7187, mervin.brass@fsin.com

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From an article posted to CBC.ca on April 30, 2010.

The money is just enough to let students finish the current school year and will not be released unless provincial money — which has already been promised — is actually provided.

Federal funding of the university, an annual grant of about $7.2 million, was stopped at the end of March. Provincial support, about another $5 million, was also cut off.

The government of Saskatchewan later promised to restore its funding but said the money would be delivered to the University of Regina, which has agreed in principle to manage the financial and administrative affairs of FNUC.

The federal dollars will only last a few months, Strahl said in a news release Thursday.

“This funding will fulfill our commitment to provide the students of First Nations University of Canada with the assistance they need to complete their current school year, which ends August 31, 2010.”

Read more on CBC.ca.

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From an article posted to Saskatoonhomepage.ca on April 24, 2010.

Since the funding cuts to the University were announced members of the program have been occupying the Saskatoon campus for 31 consecutive days, sleeping in the school’s gymnasium since March 23.

The walk-run is an extension of the ongoing political protest, which has been expedited with a recent announcement by the current administration to shut down the school, and sell the building and property in Saskatoon.

Read more at Saskatoonhomepage.ca.

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