Posts Tagged ‘Indian control of Indian education’

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.


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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Diane Adams of the First Nations University Students’ Association writes:

AFN National Chief Sean Atleo will be at the FNUniv Regina to meet and greet with students tomorrow, June 15. If you are available please feel free to come by…. It will be a short meet-and-greet from 11:00 – 11:30 am, so be on time!! Location exec boardroom.

See you there!


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Indian Affairs Minister Strahl calls Professor Randy Lundy’s comparison of cutting funding to First Nations University to assimilation policy “ridiculous”. This is the remark of someone at a loss for anything substantive to say in rebuttal.

Professor Lundy’s point is that the alternative to a First Nation university institution is “assimilation”, or perhaps more properly “integration”, into the mainstream institutions. It seems that this has the same failed end goal as residential schools: “assimilation.”

The “mainstream” universities, even those making the most sincere efforts to do really good things in this area – and they must be gratefully acknowledged – are hard pressed to deliver on meaningful results, or to create an inviting environment for Aboriginal students. Indeed, earlier this week the UofR held a consultation discussion on making the university more inviting to Aboriginal students. Students themselves said that the curriculum is empty of meaningful content with respect to Aboriginal peoples, and that it does not create a good place for learning for Aboriginal students. This is not for want of expressions of intent and action on the part of the UofR, which has, for example, created an Aboriginal Student Centre and organizes various events and activities. But that is only part of the overall university environment; the classroom, cultural compenents, genuine respect for students, and real inclusion are important.

Recent studies document the failure of the “mainstream” post-secondary education system for Aboriginal students, not to mention the dismal performance of the K-12 system, both on and off reserve.

Returning to Professor Lundy’s remarks, it should be noted that an even more widespread practice than residential schools in the 1960s was “integration”, which saw the closing of on-reserve day schools and widespread bussing of First Nations students to public (and separate) schools. The well-documented experience of students subjected to this system speaks to the one-sided character of “integration” (i.e. assimilation), similar to the problems that the UofR describes encountering today. The federal government admitted the failure of the integration experiment, and adopted the “Indian Control of Indian Education” policy.

That policy has had its growing pains, and mixed success. On many reserves, the lack of resources and other issues make it difficult to provide students with a good education. There are also communities where the results shine and put the “mainstream” system to shame. There is a need to provide more resources, to evaluate results, make improvements more aggressively, adopt best practices and provide meaningful and effective content to the phrase “Indian Control of Education”.

This is as true for post-secondary education as for K-12 education. Many of the problems faced by reserve schools have been reproduced in the FNUniv, particularly in the past five years: politicized governance, poor management, squandering of limited resources, and diversion of inadequate resources from one purpose to another to meet urgent needs. These practices must be radically reformed. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Chiefs in Assembly, the interim Board of Governors, and interim Chief Operating Officer, have shown that they recognize this. Institutional practices must be professionalized.

But the solution is not to close the institution and return to the failed policies of assimilation which have characterized the Indian Department throughout its history.

Minister Strahl appears not be aware of the long history of deadly folly within his Department of Indian Affairs, and as George Santayana said, “those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

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From an article by Jason Warick and James Wood in the StarPhoenix of March 9, 2010.

The four-year “shared management and stewardship model” cobbled together by FNUC’s interim board of governors was approved unanimously by the chiefs of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) at an assembly Tuesday morning at the Saskatoon Inn.

The University of Regina will control FNUC’s finances and some other duties. FNUC will keep its interim, slimmed-down and de-politicized board of governors on for another year to help implement the new model.

Read the full article in the StarPhoenix.

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A message from UofR president Vianne Timmons

March 8, 2010

In my last message I discussed the challenges facing First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) and the anxiety that this has caused FNUniv faculty, staff and students over the past several weeks. At this time, I would like to update you on the developments related to FNUniv and specifically on the efforts of the working group which was formed to develop a model for a new relationship between the University of Regina and FNUniv.

The working group, consisting of representatives from both governments, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), the University of Regina and FNUniv, has spent the past two weeks developing a concept model and paper outlining this new relationship. The group began by developing a set of principles that were used to guide its work – an important step which contributed greatly to the process of developing a new model.

A proposed model has been developed by the working group and discussion has now shifted to seeking approval for the draft model. I met with the U of R Board of Governors late last week to discuss the model. The FSIN Assembly will be briefed on the draft model early this week.

We will have a better understanding in the coming days if the proposed model will be supported by each of the key parties. That being said, this will only be the first step in the process. If the draft model and concept paper are supported by each of the parties it will then be turned over to legal counsels for each of the parties, who will be entrusted with the task of developing a Memorandum of Understanding that will formalize the new model.

I have stated many times over the past few weeks that we must never lose sight of the principles upon which FNUniv was established, and I truly believe all partners respected those principles as they worked to develop a new model for FNUniv. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the members of the working group for their dedication to First Nations education in Saskatchewan, and I remain hopeful that FNUniv can emerge from this latest challenge to build a positive future for its students, faculty and staff.

I will keep you updated on further developments with respect to FNUniv and the new partnership model.

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One month ago, on February 4, 2010, three audio segments produced in the early days of the crisis at First Nations University aired on CBC Saskatchewan’s The Morning Edition. Listen to them again below:

From the federal government’s Throne Speech as reported in the National Post of March 3, 2010:

Our Government will also work hand-in-hand with Aboriginal communities and provinces and territories to reform and strengthen education, and to support student success and provide greater hope and opportunity.

Read more in the National Post.

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