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Everyone is invited to the Solidarity Picnic and Barbeque on Thursday, April 15, from 12 noon to 6 pm, at First Nations University.

The Solidarity Picnic is an alcohol-free, come-and-go-as-you-please event to be held at the First Nations University of Canada, Treaty 4 land. There will be a large tent, chairs, a stage, and a BBQ area. This event is free.

  • Noon-12:10 Arrival
  • 12:10 Cadmus Delorme/Diane Adams/or member/s of the FUNnivSA opening remarks
  • 12:20 FUNniv Officials including Dr. Herman Michell VP Academic
  • 12:35 Local Onlyz (music/hip hop)
  • 1pm Dagan Harding(acoustic solo)
  • 1:25 Dr. Linda Goulet, FUNniv/ DJ Music
  • 1:30 Terrence Littletent & the Kawacatoose Drummer Boys (hoop dancing)
  • 2:30 Dr. James McNinch, Dean of Education
  • 2:40 The Hoarsemen (tentative) / DJ Music
  • 2:50 Mike & Bree (song and story)
  • 3:05 Alfred Youngman (acoustic solo)
  • 3:12 Lionel Peyachew (acoustic solo)
  • 3:20 CUPE 1975/2419/URFA
  • 3:30 Rah Rah
  • 4:20 Lonesome Weekends
  • 4:35 Warren McCall, MLA Elphinstone-Centre/ Dr. Anthony Hall, University of Lethbridge/ DJMusic
  • 4:50 Al Fricker performs “A Change Is Gonna Come”
  • 5:00 The Nancy Ray-Guns
  • 5:50 Keith Goulet, FUNniv/Closing ceremonies

For more information contact:
Marc Spooner at: marc.spooner@uregina.ca
Cadmus Delorme at: cadmusd@hotmail.com
Patrick Lewis at: patrick.lewis@uregina.ca

Made possible through generous support from:

  • FNUnivSA
  • Presidents of University of Regina and First Nations University
  • URSU
  • Faculty of Education University of Regina
  • CFS- Saskatchewan
  • and others

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FNUniv community, supporters and anyone interested is invited to come learn about the “FNUniv Difference!”

Come find out about the exciting, innovative, interesting and interactive work of faculty members at the First Nations University of Canada in Regina. Read below.. you won’t want to miss this!

Faculty and sessional lecturers from the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) will present academic seminars highlighting various research initiatives on 14 April 2010 from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. The presentations will take place in FNUniv’s common area.

As part of the event, Jim Turk, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), will address the current funding crisis resulting from the federal position on FNUniv.

Academic Excellence at FNUniv: Presentations

  • 8:00 Pipe Ceremony
  • 9:00-9:15 Dr. Shauneen Pete
  • 9:15-9:30 Blair Stonechild: “Post-secondary education as ‘the new buffalo'”
  • 9:30-9:45 Jan van Eijk: “Linguistics as a tool against racism”
  • 9:45-10:00 Randy Lundy: Poetry reading
  • 10:00-10:15 Bettina Schneider: “Reclaiming economic sovereignty: Native & aboriginal financial institutions”
  • 10:15-10:30 Coffee break
  • 10:30-10:45 Alfred Young Man: “Teaching Native Art in a non-Native University”
  • 10:45-11:00 Fidji Gendron: “Native Plants as Educational Tools”
  • 11:00-11:15 Linda Goulet
    & Jo-Ann Episkenew

  • 11:15-11:30 Edward Doolittle: “Differential Geometry of Teepees”
  • 11:30-11:45 James Turk: (CAUT)
  • 12:15-1:15 Lunch/ Activities in Gallery
  • 1:15-2:15 Panel on Indigenous education (David Miller, Angelina
    Weenie, Esther-Kathleen Segal, Sylvia McAdam)

  • 2:15-2:30 Jesse Archibald-Barber: “The Re-incarnation of Duncan Campbell Strahl”
  • 2:30-2:45 Arzu Sadarli: “Water quality project”
  • 2:45-3:00 Shannon Avison
  • 3:00-3:15 Olga Lovick “Songbirds and Birdsongs”
  • 3:15-3:30 Closing Remarks

Activities in Gallery

  • Judy Anderson: Hands-on art in gallery; safety pin headdress (interactive)
  • Lionel Peyachew: Drum making demonstration
  • Jeff Sanderson, Sol Ratt & Sheila Kennedy: Interactive Cree

For more information: Bridget Keating bk_keating@yahoo.co.uk

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March 11, 2010

Dear Mr. Peyachew:

Randy Weekes, MLA, Biggar Constituency, has asked me to respond to your email of February 11, 2010, in which you requested his support in advocating for the restoration of provincial and federal funding for First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv).

It is our responsibility as a government to serve the interests of students, within the context of ensuring accountability for public funds. Our government’s decision to withdraw funding for FNUniv effective April 1, 2010, was regrettable, but necessary.

Our government has made it very clear that provincial dollars will not be renewed for FNUniv. That being said, we are open to a partnership arrangement with another publicly funded post-secondary institution that would allow students to continue their studies.

At this time, it is important that the politicians step back and the academic leadership in our province step forward to map out future directions for FNUniv students and their programs.

Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective with me. Please be assured that I share your interest in ensuring that our province creates appropriate opportunities for Saskatchewan’s First Nations learners.

Sincerely,

Rob Norris

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March 5, 2010

The Honourable Rob Norris
Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour
Legislative Building
2405 – Legislative Drive
Regina, Saskatchewan
S4S 0B3

Dear Mr. Norris,

As a faculty member of the First Nations University of Canada, I am writing to you about your recent decision to withdraw funding from the First Nations University of Canada, a much need institution of higher learning for First Nations and non-First Nations students and society.

I am a self proclaimed returnee to Saskatchewan, after two decades working as an Alberta citizen. In 2005 my wife and I and four children moved back to Regina after getting an offer to teach Indian Fine Arts at the First Nations University. I am one of those who moved back to Saskatchewan responding to a public pitch by government officials that Saskatchewan has become revitalized, has gone back to being one of the most prosperous growing provinces in Canada. Since I was raised and educated on the economically challenged Red Pheasant Reserve nearby Saskatoon, I found this news to be very uplifting. By contrast, the news today is not so good – the possibility of closing down the university was the most demoralizing news of my career and I am now beginning to regret my move.

Provincial and Federal governments have always encouraged higher education of First Nations people to solve the problems of drugs, alcohol, the soaring rate of illiteracy, poverty, gangs, suicide and incarceration. For over thirty years the First Nations University (formerly the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College) has been in the forefront of realizing an all important goal of improving the lives of young First Nations students by graduating thousands of youth. In the five years I have had the privilege of working in this magnificent building, I have witnessed the success stories of students who were once destitute and who are now major contributors to our economy. Closing down the First Nations University of Canada would be a devastating blow to all students who prefer taking these unique courses and programs that are offered nowhere else in the world.

Since your announcement to discontinue FNUC funding, I have been in a state of denial that hundreds of students will not be able to realize their dream, that hundreds of faculty and staff will possibly lose their jobs because of mismanagement by a hand-full of individuals. Three unqualified individuals in Senior Management controlled our academic offerings, finances, and who we hired as compared to at least 70 faculty who were powerless to make the governance changes that we all wanted and deemed essential for our survival. 3 against 70-some equation that is. The threat of firings by Senior Management and the Board of Governors – all of whose record has to be one of total and absolute incompetence – of those who spoke out in favor of a better governance system was a real possibility so faculty were afraid to speak for change, to hold a vote of non-confidence. We had to try to teach under a regime that knew next to nothing about academic freedom, about academic governance and when it came time to implement or try to make those badly needed changes, could care even less. Now that FSIN has taken the leadership, under Chief Guy Lonechild, to let us make our own governance decisions and systems work, we feel more confident that we are now on the right road and I feel, as a faculty member, that we as a group are more confident than ever before. I continue to trust that Prime Minster Harper’s government officials will work hard to develop a constructive solution to avoid affecting our innocent workforce. I just cannot see any valid reason to close down a university where all the hype in the media in Saskatchewan is about how productive this province is that economically, we are the fastest growing province in Canada. Synchronize this with the fastest growing population of First Nations people in Canada and I continue to ask, is this the proper time and place for your withdrawal of urgently need funding and what looks to be the ultimate closure of this university?

The First Nations people are still on this long journey to recovery from the effects of colonization and residential schools. The irony here is that the Canadian government through the DIA has been on the forefront of demanding that First Nations people become educated, for well over a century. What is happening now? Just when First Nations students and the people themselves are beginning to have some faith and trust in the validity and pedagogy of their own restored educational foundations and systems, you pull the funding! How realistic is that? Your actions make absolutely no sense. I continued to have anxiety and mistrust in the western education system as applied to First Nations people by non-Indians. It was only when the government made a public apology to all First Nations people of Canada, when the churches of Canada publically admitted their duplicity in the colonization of First Nations people and what a sorry chapter in Canadian history that is, did I have a glimmer of hope that our students education will finally be taught by First Nations professors with unique but solid qualifications, expertise, empathy and sincerity. The oppression of residential school continues to affect our children and will continue to affect our grandchildren as well and it is only through our own efforts, as First Nations professors and people, will First Nations people finally be able to eradicate over 200 years of colonial oppression, theft of land and resources, eradication of our spiritually and moral base and mismanagement of our lives by those in Ottawa.

To cut funding at this time, is a step backwards by your ministry, by the Harper government, not just one step backward but a step back entirely into the Nineteenth Century.

The First Nations University can be thought of as a valuable place for sharing common experiences and concerns, of the healing and bringing together of all races in Canada by finally being given the opportunity to teach and learn our languages, traditions, cultures and spirituality that were severed by the Federal Government in the Nineteenth Century, a policy that still has lasting effects on all of us today, including you and your grandchildren. It appears that you are taking us back to that earlier time where only the white man’s knowledge was deemed to be appropriate and necessary for the education of First Nations people. In this contemporary world of the ubiquitous internet, cell phones, satellite television, cars that park themselves, the globalization of education and on and on, that can hardly be the case. Our First Nations students need the experience, the wisdom and sagely advice of First Nations elders, the knowledge and expertise of First Nations professors.

The impending possible closure of the First Nations University of Canada is a mirror image of the negative historical and destructive effects of the so-called education of First Nations people in Canada’s past and should never be allowed to happen or to be repeated. “Those who do not know their history are condemned to repeat it”, as the saying goes.

Do not be one of those who do not know Canada’s own history. On behalf of our future leaders we trust you will continue to be our sincere partner in making First Nations University of Canada, the province of Saskatchewan, and the country of Canada wonderful and unique places in which to live and work.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Respectfully,

Lionel Auburn Peyachew
Assistant Professor of Indian Art
Department of Indian Arts
First Nations University of Canada
(306) 790-5950 Ext. 3290
lpeyachew@firstnationsuniversity.ca

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110—8700 General Currie Road
Richmond, BC
V6Y 1M2

March 2, 2010

The Honourable Chuck Strahl
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Fax: (613) 944-9376

Dear Mr. Strahl,

I am writing to express my deep concern at your decision to withdraw funding from First Nations University of Canada. As a Metis/mixed-blood mother of six, making my way as a self-employed artist and currently sitting on the National Council of The Writers Union of Canada, I am keenly aware of the importance of Aboriginal-controlled spaces, as well as of the need for healthy alliances and inclusion, of indigenous-friendly organizations in every sphere of Canadian life.

The self-employed artists of Canada, Aboriginal and non, are primary producers who to a large degree rely on the health and well-being of secondary producers, in this case all of the professors, teachers and librarians, for the well-being of our own little niche in Canada’s economy. Aboriginal arts are an important part of indigenous economies, from the Inuit of Nunavut to the urban and rural poor, and in my travels as writer and presenter I meet many different kinds of artists in all kinds of circumstances. All of Canada’s indigenous writers and thinkers are strongly marked, in a personal way, by the cumulative impact of Canada’s historical social contract and decision-making. Whether we are Treaty or non-treaty, reserve-based or landless, university-employed or itinerant workers, all of us are reliant on a healthy base upon which to build. FNUC holds continuing promise as a national base for thinking, writing, contributing cultural & intellectual indigenous workers.

On a recent visit to Regina, I was able to see for myself what has been built up thus far, at FNUC, and to hear from many professors, students, and ordinary townspeople. The fiscal weight of your opinion should not be withheld, but rather, it should be reinstated as a positive force in the entrenchment of good governance and the continuing development of a truly national-scope Aboriginal university, steps toward which are already well underway.

Please support the continued existence of an institution which has come through a difficult time, and lend your support to the scholars of international reputation who currently call FNUC home, and all of those who have been working for a stable university of good reputation, and as well, all of those who might one day walk through those doors.

Sincerely,

Joanne Arnott
Author of
Breasting the Waves: On Writing & Healing (1995)
Mother Time, Poems New & Selected (2007)
Longing: four poems on diverse matters (2009)
Steepy Mountain (2004)
My Grass Cradle (1993)
Ma MacDonald (1992)
Wiles of Girlhood (1991)

Cc:
Stephen Harper, PM
Todd Russell, Liberal Indian Affairs critic
Jean Crowder, NDP Indian Affairs critic
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean

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From an article by Jason Warick in the Leader-Post of February 24, 2010.

The fate of the First Nations University of Canada’s $1.2 million art collection is uncertain, and its curator says drastic action may be necessary to protect it.

“This is an historic collection from Native artists across Canada. As a work of record, it’s very important to our history of First Nations people, and I am in charge of it,” said professor Alfred Young Man, head of FNUniv’s department of Indian fine arts.

Read the full article in the Leader-Post.

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Prof. Dr. Hartmut Lutz, Amerikanistik/Kanadistik, Univ. Greifswald, Steinbeckerstr. 15, D-17487 Greifswald
Tel.: +49 (0) 38 34 – 86 33 53
Fax: +49 (0) 38 34 – 86 33 66
E-mail: lutz@uni-greifswald.de
http://www.kanada-studien.de
Privat: Nr. 23, D-17390 Bömitz, Germany
Greifswald, den 25.02.2010

Support for First Nations University of Canada

Dear Madam or Sir,

With over 600 members from universities and schools in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, the Association for Canadian Studies in the German Speaking Countries (GKS: Gesellschaft für Kanada-Studien) is the second largest national Canadian Studies association outside North America (after India). We are organized in seven scholarly disciplines and represent over twenty Canadian Studies Centres and Programs as well as hundreds of individual scholars.

Much of our research and many of our publications are focused on First Nations, Inuit and Métis issues. For years, we have enjoyed excellent ties between some of our members and First Nations University of Canada. For at least twenty years our members have visited First Nations University (or the former Saskatchewan Indian Federated College) as students, researchers and teachers, and many members of First Nations University have been involved with our institutions as visiting professors (e.g. the late director of the fine arts program, Professor Bob Boyer) and researchers (e.g: Professor Jo-Ann Episkenew, the first Aboriginal scholar from Canada to receive a PhD from a German university).

As Canadianists, we have always been appreciative and even proud of Canada’s achievements in managing cultural diversity, and we have seen with great empathy and understanding Canada’s many attempts to acknowledge and atone for the painful historical legacies of internal colonialism, especially in the field of education (residential schools). We have also witnessed with empathy and regret, the problems encountered by First Nations University in the most recent years, and we have sympathized with the energetic attempts by the university’s academics, administrators and students, to overcome the difficulties they had. Even during times of great adversity, our colleagues in Saskatchewan have energetically continued their work as researchers, teachers and administrators totally commited to Aboriginal self-determination in higher education, and we applaud all their efforts to pursue and develop Indigenous knowledge well into the future.

Canada often takes great pride in promoting the continued sovereignty and self-determination of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples as foundational members in the Canadian cultural mosaic. This message was strongly sent to all nations of the world during the preparations for and the opening of the Winter Olympics this month. Against this background,and at the precise moment, when Canada is publicly celebrating First Nations cultures flourishing in BC, it seems particularly surprising and even shocking that both levels of the Canadian government have decided to withdraw funding from the only Indigenous university of the world, unless it give up its sovereignty and return to the colonialist practice of being ruled by a non-Indigenous institution (U of R.).

On behalf of the GKS and its hundreds of members, and on behalf of continued international academic relations between First Nations University’s scholars and students, we most emphatically ask you to reconsider your truly historical and very fateful decision.

Sincerely Yours,

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Lutz,
President of the Association for Canadians Studies
in the German Speaking Countries

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