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Archive for the ‘Students/Alumni Speak’ Category

Kim McKay-McNabb, Assistant Professor, Department of Science. Kim has been a faculty member since 2006. She is originally from Sakimay First Nation in Saskatchewan. She was born in Regina and has lived here most of her life. She is the mother of five children, one of who attended the First Nations University of Canada; Kim hopes that the others will consider attending First Nations University when they are old enough. Kim is an alumnus from the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College where she received her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and her Masters of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology. She is currently completing the requirements for her Doctorate, in Clinical Psychology at the University of Regina. She will be one of the few First Nations Registered Psychologists in Canada once she completes her degree. Kim also coordinates the National First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program (NFNECP). This program is administered at the First Nations University of Canada in partnership with First Nations Inuit Health Branch, Research and Monitoring Section and the Assembly of First Nations. The objective of the NFNECP is to help the First Nations of Canada assess the extent of their exposure to environmental contaminants and the potential for associated risk to their health and well being (see www.nfnecp.ca for more information). Her research interests are Environmental Health, Aboriginal Health, Aboriginal communities and HIV/AIDS. She is a community-based researcher who believes in action-based research.

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Please support and help us save First Nations University of Canada.

  1. Send this video to FOUR Friends
  2. Go to fnuniv.wordpress.com
  3. Print the letter of support and send it to your MP, Minister of Indian Affairs, and/or the Prime Minister.

The Four Friends video can also be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zc1xmmQlOY

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To: MLA of Prince Albert

Dear Mr. Furber,

The Media has released information that will affect First Nations University of Canada. On Feb 8, 2010 it was released that the federal government was to cut its funding. The amount of funding to be cut is $7.2 million. This non-renewal of $7.2 million in funding is another severe loss in addition to the already withheld $5.2 million dollars in funding from the provincial government.

As a student enrolled in programming facilitated by the FNUniv I am seriously concerned about the future of academic programs being gravely affected by these funding cuts. These funding cuts will have detrimental affects throughout Prince Albert and northern communities. Please understand that these cuts are not just associated with the Regina and Saskatoon campuses but will have serious implications for the Prince Albert Campus.

Currently there are 440 students to date that are enrolled in various programs, at different sites within Prince Albert, and Northern communities such as Ile la Crosse, Black Lake, La Ronge. The dissolution of the FNUniv, primarily in Prince Albert will affect these 440 students and surrounding areas. And this is the largest student body of the FNUniv of Regina campus and Saskatoon. A majority of these students are from northern communities, have traveled great distance to be part of the greater good of educating themselves and have uprooted there families, families which contribute to the downtown core of Prince Albert.

This institution is very important to everyone. We have the only Dental Therapy program offered in Canada, the Nursing Education Program of Saskatchewan is truly unique, the Indian Social Work program is a non transferrable program, where are these students going to go? The impact to Prince Albert is comparable to the loss of Weyerhaeuser.

Please understand that these funding cuts are severing any hopes and dreams of future Native and Non Native students to access quality world class education in Prince Albert Saskatchewan. The funding cuts proposed to FNUniv will negatively impact the core downtown area of Prince Albert. The economic impact will be felt if the FNUniv will have to close its doors.

Please advocate on our behalf to reinstate the funding for FNUniv.

Respectfully Attending student at FNUC

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Dear Minister,

I am 26 years old and currently starting my PhD in Community Health in St. John’s Newfoundland. I would like to stress the significant impact that the professors and classroom style that First Nations University of Canada has had on my education and life-skills success. This university is important because it recognizes the fact that not all students learn in the same ways, but it actually moves beyond this recognition and adapts so that they can learn. I know that some students attend to learn more about their own culture. I attended hoping to learn more about their history, and ended up with the realization that it is our history. I witnessed students that I had previously heard making racist remarks about First Nations people, take classes there and then stand up against the racist remarks after having completed the semester.

This university is responsible for educating first nations students and non-first nation students, at a much deeper level and a much more important level, than any other university in Canada.

If you revoke their funding, plain and simple, you are un-doing years of education, you are supporting every student that has made negative or racist comments, and you are setting the people of my generation on a backwards path, where once again, “white” takes away from “non-white” and makes those two categories stand out and stand apart even more.

Sincerely,

Megan Morrison
Department of Women’s Studies
Memorial University of Newfoundland

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March 19, 2010

First Nations University of Canada provides a unique academic and cultural post-secondary education experience. With over two-thousand and five hundred graduates working regionally, nationally and internationally our Alumni are educators, social workers, artists, nurses, doctors, lawyers, policy analysts, researchers and Chiefs.

Our Elders teach us that education, or ‘the new buffalo’, is the key to prosperity, livelihood and economic independence. A post-secondary education is a good investment. Canadians cannot ignore the detrimental effects that the lack of education among Aboriginal Peoples is having on all Canadians.

Canada originally was a partnership between three Nations: the Anglophones, Francophones and First Nations. Through binding legal agreements now called Treaties, First Nations people allowed for peaceful settlement and access to the land in exchange for support to participate in the new economy. These Treaty rights are enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as Part II of the Constitution Act, 1982 Sec. 35. First Nations University of Canada is a manifestation of those Federal constitutional obligations.

The First Nations University of Canada Alumni executive support the vision of first-class education. Achieving this vision will be for the benefit of all Canadians, with current alumni having made positive contributions to communities across Canada.

We invite all Canadians who share this vision to challenge governments on all levels to clearly demonstrate how their actions both current and future will support the First Nations University of Canada. The time for rhetoric is over. The Federal Government and the Province of Saskatchewan must provide clear and detailed firm commitments which support the First Nations University of Canada.

Aboriginal Peoples and Canadians deserve nothing less.

Respectfully,

FNUC Alumni Executive Team
Milton Tootoosis, BA, PAED, President
Alika Lafontaine, M.D., BSc.
Marmie Poitras, B.Admin.
Pearl Yuzicappi, B.Admin.

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From a letter by student Adam Martin to the Leader-Post, February 19, 2010

It was clear they left behind a renewed confidence in the leadership of FNUniv. The day after the meeting, many were happily met with smiling faces and witnessed the return of bursts of laughter from far off corners of FNUniv.

Read the full letter in the Leader-Post.

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I was a very unmotivated student in high school. The Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC; predecessor of First Nations University) changed my attitude towards learning almost 360 degrees. 24 years have passed since I graduated from SIFC. Now in my mid life I look back and realize that the U, with its caring staff, elders, and faculty was the key ingredient. I met hundreds of other indigenous and non-indigenous students during the early 80’s and we all motivated each other to succeed. The alternative was a lifetime of poverty and social problems back home. The province of Saskatchewan and Government of Canada must look at the longer term benefits of this still young institution versus the alternative. The investment, the treaty guarantee to education, etc. must be retained and fulfilled if we are see more First Nations as productive citizens, living successfully in a multi-cultural global village without assimilating and losing our culture. The U gave me and thousands of others that same opportunity. I want my own children and grandchildren (yet unborn) to have that same opportunity I had. I could go on but I will stop there. The academics and others on this blog have said it best.

Milton Tootoosis, B.A. (’86)

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