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Media Release

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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For More Information Visit www.fsin.com

Mervin Brass, Executive Director of Communications
Direct: 306.956.1026
Cellular: 306.220.7187
Email BlackBerry: mervin.brass@fsin.com

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Media Advisory
FSIN Communications Unit

The FSIN would like to issue the following Media Advisory:

Where: First Nations University of Canada, 1 First Nations Way, Regina SK

When: 1:45 pm, June 15, 2010

FSIN Spokesperson: FSIN Chief Guy Lonechild and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo

Issue: Chief Lonechild and National Chief Atleo will be available to discuss their meetings with FNUniv and UofR officials.

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For More Information Please Contact:

Mervin Brass, FSIN Communications
Direct: 306.956-1026
Facsimile: 306.665-0115
Email: mervin.brass@fsin.com

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From an article by Kerry Benjoe in the Leader-Post of Friday, June 11, 2010.

Joely BigEagle, chairwoman of the FNUniv board of govenors said it’s been a long and difficult process to keep the doors of the university open. She reminded everyone that the fight is not over.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us and I know we’re working on tight timeframes,” said BigEagle. “We’re still going through restructuring. We’re still going through downsizing. We have deficits for this year.”

She said last year’s projected deficit is much higher than anticipated because of the funding was pulled during the semester and restructuring the institute has been costly.

Read the full article in the Leader-Post.

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URFA is pleased for the students, faculty and staff as the announcement of $4M funding meets most of FNUniv’s requirements for this budget year. However, funding needs to be stabilized so that it does not flow through annual granting programs such as the Indian Student Support Program (ISSP) in order for the university to plan with predictability for its future growth. No other Canadian university operates its core programs on the basis of annual grants that must be applied for and this mechanism perpetuates FNniv’s financial jeopardy.

At a time when the Aboriginal population has the greatest growth rate in Canada, this institution should be looking to expand programs, not reduce them. The provincial and federal governments have a responsibility to ensure that the chronic under funding of FNUniv is addressed as they look at ways of dealing with structure and governance.

Contacts:
Dr. Miguel Sanchez, Interim Chair, URFA, 306-585-4378
Patricia Fleming, Executive Director, URFA, 306-585-4586

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From an article by Kerry Benjoe in the Leader-Post of June 2, 2010.

“We’re keeping our word,” said Delorme. “We said (77) days ago that we’re living there until we get all of our money back and the federal government has yet to give back $4.2 million. So we’re leading by example. We’re keeping our word right now we feel it’s in the hands of the political leaders and the working group to get a strong business plan put forth.”

He said the students remain committed to ensuring their institutions continues to operate and that starts with restored funding from the federal government.

Delorme added that the students are confident in the new leadership at FNUniv and in the experts who are working to keep the doors of FNUniv open. He said they’re doing a good job and have been very transparent with the students.

“They have been keeping us informed on what’s happening, which we like,” said Delorme. “We don’t feel like we’re getting second-and third-hand information.”

Read more in the Leader-Post.

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From an article by Jason Warick in the Leader-Post of May 3, 2010.

[FNUniv president Shauneen] Pete announced the campus closure at 11 a.m. Monday inside a Saskatoon classroom packed with several dozen students, faculty and other staff. The announcement was broadcast by video to students and staff on the campuses in Regina and Prince Albert.

Pete told those gathered the Saskatoon campus was being put up for sale immediately. It will be closed as soon as a buyer is found. In addition, cuts to faculty and staff are to take place on all three campuses.

“Saskatoon is being put up for sale. (The cuts) were necessary,” Pete said in a brief interview on the Saskatoon campus Monday afternoon.

She said the school of Indian social work (ISW) will remain intact, but it’s unclear where the classes will be held.

Read more in the Leader-Post.

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From an article posted to CBC.ca on May 3, 2010.

The First Nations University of Canada is moving to sell its Saskatoon campus as part of a major financial overhaul.

FNUC president Shauneen Pete was confirming some cuts Monday morning during a private meeting with staff, faculty and students in Saskatoon.

FNUC has its main campus in Regina and satellite campuses in Saskatoon and Prince Albert. The Saskatoon building is north of the downtown at 710 Duke St.

Read more on CBC.ca.

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