Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘international’

March 30, 2010

Dear Minister Strahl:

On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association of the United States, I ask you to reconsider your current position in regards to the Canadian federal government’s announced cutting of the $7.2 million annual grant to the First Nations University as of March 31, 2010. The situation of the First Nations University came to my awareness through our shared affiliation with the Canadian Association of University Teachers in Education International, the global union federation for education.

The closing of First Nations University would be a tragedy for aboriginal students in Canada who directly benefit from the cultural sensitivity represented in its unique mission. First Nations University emphasizes tribal cultures and languages and includes elders as lecturers and support service staff. At a time when we acknowledge the harm caused by education policies in the past toward First Nations peoples of Canada and Native Americans in the United States, withdrawing funding of First Nations University further endangers these most vulnerable and underprivileged communities.

This is a population in dire need of more college and university graduates. It is likely that many students currently attending First Nations University will end their post-secondary education rather than continuing at a mainstream university. Nationally, only 3 percent of Canadian First Nations people have university degrees versus 18 percent for the general population. We urge you to support renewed funding for First Nations University and re-establish internationally recognized obligations with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples.

Sincerely,
Dennis Van Roekel
President

cc: David Robinson, Assoc. Executive Dir., Canadian Association of University Teachers
Fred van Leeuwen, Education International

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

March 30, 2010

Dear Mr. Strahl and Mr. Harper:

I write on behalf of the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, a scholarly organization with over 700 members from scores of countries and Indigenous nations, to express concern over what is happening to the faculty, staff, and students of the First Nations University of Canada. We are a governing council of Indigenous scholars from North America, Hawai’i, Aotearoa New Zealand, and Australia. We represent a membership that includes upwards of 200 Canadian citizens. We unanimously regard the planned closing of First Nations University, the only Aboriginal university in Canada, as a threat to Indigenous higher education everywhere.

The problems at First Nations University are real, of course, but so is the commitment of those dedicated to turning around this situation. Because we are convinced of the seriousness of that commitment, we support the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations in its good faith initiation of the changes required to bring the governance structures at First Nations University into conformity with those of other Canadian universities. As you know, a working group with representation from all stakeholder groups is currently developing a revised funding and governance model for First Nations University. You are certainly also aware that the University of Regina has expressed its willingness to support First Nations University. We also want you to know that our association is willing to provide appropriate support, including help in identifying from among the dozens of program and department administrators and university officials in our membership those who might be of assistance.

We join concerned scholars and students around the world who are following the crisis at First Nations University. We hope that our letter and the many others you are receiving will convince you that your government’s current course of action will in the long run be detrimental to all Aboriginal people, to the province of Saskatchewan, and to Canada’s international reputation. A university represents some of the best hopes and highest ideals for a brighter Indigenous future. We ask that you recognize those hopes as you proceed.

We thus urge you, in the strongest terms, to support the continued operation of First Nations University.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please contact me at 217-418-8879 or rwarrior@illinois.edu if you would like to follow up directly.

Very truly yours,
Robert Warrior
President
Native American and Indigenous Studies Association
Professor of American Indian Studies, History, and English
Director, American Indian Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

C: Todd Russell; Rob Clarke; Jean Crowder; Randy Hoback; Ralph Goodale; Ed Komarnicki; Lillian Dyck; Tom Lukiwski; Rob Norris; Gerry Ritz; Brad Wall; Andrew Scheer; Cam Broten; Brad Trost; Kelly Block; Maurice Vellacott; Ray Boughen; Lynne Yelich; Garry Breitkreuz; Edward Doolittle; David Anderson; Maggie Walter

Read Full Post »

The following is an unofficial and unedited transcript of a meeting of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. This document is being sent for information purposes only and may not be quoted, as it may contain transcription errors. The edited, translated transcript will be available on the Committee’s website (http://www2.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/CommitteeHome.aspx?Cmte=AANO&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=3) within the next two weeks.

Le président: Maintenant je voudrais inviter M. Del Anaquod qui est le chef des opérations à l’Université des Premières Nations du Canada.

Monsieur Anaquod, vous avez cinq minutes pour votre présentation.

Mr. Del Anaquod (Chief Operating Officer, First Nations University of Canada): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee.

I’ll keep my comments under five minutes. First off, this opportunity to talk to you about the success of the First Nations University of Canada I welcome. One of the problems we’ve had is getting our story out there.

Previous speakers have talked passionately about some of our successes. As I sit here today, I want to highlight again a number of those. The decision of the federal and provincial governments to cut off funding to First Nations University on April 1, 2010, directly impacts 2,000 students, 350 classes, over 200 employees that include the most aboriginal PhDs in Canada, 3300 graduates, 70 research projects, and the largest concentration of indigenous programming in the world.

Throughout its history, tens of thousands of students and business leaders have taken classes and courses at First Nations University of Canada. The government’s decision has far more wide-reaching impacts beyond this. It affects all Canadians and Saskatchewan citizens.

Our success. I would like to briefly highlight the impact of First Nations University’s success, which is our alumni. As previous speakers mentioned this afternoon, this is a measure of our success. Our alumni includes doctors, nurses, health care providers, teachers, dental therapists, business leaders, engineers, scientists, social workers, and lawyers. We have produced hundreds of civil servants for the federal and provincial work forces and another thousand for first nations governance.

First Nations University is one of the most successful producers of first nations taxpayers in Saskatchewan. Our university draws students from across Canada who contribute to the Saskatchewan economy and to our reputation in Canada and abroad. Thousands of non-first nations students have completed our courses as requirements in academic programs including justice, police studies, women’s studies, education, and social work. First Nations University provides the most unique program in the world. We offer bicultural education so that our students are completely qualified for work in the mainstream and have the additional training they need to serve in our communities.

I want to briefly touch on some of the budgetary shortfalls and jurisdictional issues we have faced since our inception. The true measure of a great institution is not only its successes but the obstacles and adversities it has overcome. Throughout our 34-year history, First Nations University has faced ongoing budgetary shortfalls due to federal and provincial jurisdictional disputes, and this in turn created uncertainty and hardship. Each has a role to play, the province for its jurisdiction over universities and the federal government for its responsibilities for Indians and lands reserved for Indians and its treaty and aboriginal rights and constitutional obligation under section 35.

Some of the past actions that have happened we take responsibility for. First Nations University has experienced internal governance and management issues. For this we take full responsibility. However, we should not allow the decisions of a few to affect the success of many. The new interim board and leadership have addressed governance and management problems. To shut down an institution that has had so many success stories and provides for the future of so many, based on the negative actions of a few, is unthinkable and irresponsible. It has taken many, many people to build this institution over a 34-year period and only a few to potentially destroy it.

Governments have chosen to highlight the actions of these few and ignore the success of the majority.

A challenging future. As Saskatchewan and Canadian citizens, we are facing many challenges. One is our youth and the future of our great country. In Saskatchewan, we have over 60,000 aboriginal youth in the first nations and provincial K to 12 system. As I sit here today, one out of every three students in Saskatchewan is aboriginal and this number is continuously on the rise. We are also facing a 50% dropout rate. Thirty thousand aboriginal youth will drop out in the next 10 years. Where will they go? Will they join the 2,000 street gang members we now have in the province or is the answer jails? Over 80% of our provincial jails are made up of aboriginal people. That’s not the answer.

We have close to 5,000 children currently out of home care; 75% are aboriginal. We struggle to find aboriginal foster homes for these children. Within these marginalized and frustrated youth, we are sewing the seeds of homegrown problems. As a Canadian, this is a statistic that I am not proud of and a future I do not relish.

The Chair: We’re over time there now, Mr. Anaquod, if you could just wrap up.

Mr. Del Anaquod: What is the answer?

One of the answers is First Nations University of Canada.

The First Nations University is a bridge between two cultures. The Queen, on her visit to our university in 2005, laid the foundation of that bridge by presenting us with a stone from Balmoral Castle. Let us not tear down that bridge. Let us ensure stable, long-term funding so that, as our graduates in the past, successive aboriginal generations will become productive and contributing Canadians.

Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Anaquod.

Read Full Post »

March 25, 2010

The Honourable Chuck Strahl, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs
Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Mr Chuck Strahl,

On behalf of the Centre for Sami Research (CeSam), Umeå University, SWEDEN, I am writing to express our concern regarding the First Nations University of Canada.

Through our colleagues and partners at the First Nations University it has come to our attention that Canada’s Federal Government has announced to cut the annual grant to the University, which in reality means that it will close.

To end funding to the only university that directly serves Canada’s First Nations communities seems to be inconsistent with internationally recognized obligations with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples. As a collaborator to the First Nations University on indigenous issues, it concerns, not only the aboriginals in Canada, but all indigenous peoples in the world, including the Sami peoples of Scandinavia. From what we have gathered from CAUT the governance problems at First Nations University have now been addressed. We therefore wish to express our support to CAUT’s appeal for the First Nations University of Canada.

Yours sincerely,
Centre for Sami Research

Peter Sköld
Director

Copy to:
David Robinson
Associate executive director
Canadian Association of University Teachers

Read Full Post »

News Release
March 25, 2010
(For immediate release)

Canadians are being embarrassed internationally by the actions of the Government of Canada, which announced in early February that it was pulling all federal funding from the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv).

Both the Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada cut off funding to FNUniv effective March 31, 2010. The provincial government has expressed its desire to reinstate funding but, to date, the Canadian government has refused to follow suit. Without federal funding, the University will be insolvent on April 1, 2010 and will be forced to close its doors.

This week, organizations worldwide, representing millions of academic faculty and staff, have submitted letters to the Minister of Indian Affairs supporting the reinstatement of funding to the First Nations University of Canada.

In a letter dated March 25, Dr. Carolyn Allport, National President of the National Tertiary Education Industry Union, representing 26,000 university faculty and staff in Australia, wrote a letter to Chuck Strahl, in which she states, “Our organization will be informing our member and the broader academic community of the Canadian government’s lack of commitment to higher education for one of Canada’s most vulnerable and underprivileged communities.”

In another letter dated today, from the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) and addressed to Minister Strahl, IFUT General Secretary Mike Jennings states, “The members of the Irish Federation of University Teachers will be following this issue very closely and we earnestly request your Government to reverse your decision to cut the funding for this university.”

Paul Bennett, Senior National Official of the University and College Union wrote on behalf of 120,000 academic and academic related staff in universities and colleges in the United Kingdom: “We are astonished that the Federal Government announced it was cutting its $7.2‐million annual grant to the University as of March 31, 2010, apparently with no prior warning and without taking account of the positive changes made at the University.”

“We strongly support the calls made by the student body and in the Canadian Parliament for the federal government to restore funding consistent with its treaty obligations with First Nations peoples.”

Sören Holm, General Secretary of the Lärarförbundet (the Swedish Teachers’ Union), representing 225,000 teachers in Sweden wrote to express their concern regarding the First Nations University of Canada. “To end funding to the only university that directly serves Canada’s First Nations communities seems to be inconsistent with internationally recognized obligations with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples.”

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Lutz, President of the Association for Canadian Studies in the German Speaking Countries, represents members from universities and schools in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. In his letter to Minister Strahl, he states, “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.

“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 most emphatically ask you to reconsider your truly historical and very fateful decision,” said Lutz.

FNUniv Chief Operating Officer Del Anaquod says, “We are so grateful and honoured by the support we have received from the international academic community. And more letters are continuing to pour in daily.”

“We have a long history of building relationships,” he says. “We have over 32 international agreements with new and emerging universities around the world. We are known as the leader in international Indigenous education.”

“I am proud of the reputation that we have built over 34 years,” he says. “I think our unique approach to scholarship and research has inspired our colleagues around the world to appreciate indigenous knowledge and pedagogy.”

“Our contribution really is global,” says Anaquod. “And Canada was a global leader in the development and support of Aboriginal academics and scholars.”

“I know our international reputation will be devastated if the Canadian Government does not reinstate our funding and work with us to increase our capacity to develop, so that Aboriginal people contribute to the Canadian economy and society.”

‐30‐

For more information, contact COO Del Anaquod +1-306‐550‐2337 or
Shannon Avison, Department Head, Indian Communication Arts (INCA) +1-306‐536‐8069
Also see fnuniv.wordpress.com for additional letters

Read Full Post »

Ref: 60/25/12

25 March 2010

To the Honourable Chuck Strahl, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Fax +6139449376

Email: StrahC@parl.gc.ca

Dear Sir,

I am writing on behalf of the National Tertiary Education Union of Australia to ask you to assist in the urgent matter of the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv). I have had the privilege of being a recipient of a research fellowship from the Canadian Government focusing on a comparative study of housing standards as between Indigenous or First Nations communities and those of Non-Indigenous communities. As part of my fellowship in 1993-94 I visited a number of communities and spoke with many Indigenous leaders and communities. In my research work, I also worked directly with Indigenous scholars, many of whom had had their education in the First Nations University. For many of us at the time, this institution was a beacon for Indigenous education. It is important that it does survive to continue advancing Indigenous self determination.

FNUniv, Canada’s only university for Aboriginal people, has been plagued by serious governance problems in recent years. After five years of pressure and ultimately censure by CAUT, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (the body that created the FNUniv) voted to reform the inappropriate governance structure of the University. The FSIN dissolved the Board of Governors, suspended the President and the Vice-President Administration, and appointed an interim board.

Three days after the FSIN finally took decisive action to remedy the longstanding problems at FNUC, Canada’s Federal Government announced it was cutting its $7.2 million annual grant to the University as of March 31, 2010. This will mean the end of FNUniv. We were astounded that the Federal Government, not having made any comment about the serious problems at FNUniv for five years, cut off funding after the problems were resolved.

The future of FNUniv, its students and staff is in doubt because of the Federal Government’s misguided decision. Canada’s First Nations communities are about to lose their only university. FNUniv is a unique institution in so far as it is a university that directly serves the First Nations people, and upholds the culture and traditions of the many communities across Canada. The Canadian government’s decision to end funding is inconsistent with internationally recognized obligations with respect to the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Our organisation will be informing our members and the broader academic community of the Canadian’s government lack of commitment to higher education for one of Canada’s most vulnerable and underprivileged communities.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Carolyn Allport
NTEU National President

cc David Robinson:robinson@caut.ca

Read Full Post »

25 March 2010
Our Ref: 7.66.B

The Honourable Chuck Strahl P.C. M.P.
Minister for Indian & Northern Affairs Canada,
House of Commons,
Ottrawa, Ontario,
K1A 0A6,
Canada.

Dear Minister Strahl,

FIRST NATIONS UNIVERSITY OF CANADA

On behalf of the Irish Federation of University Teachers which is the main union representing academic and research staff in higher education in Ireland, I am writing to express our amazement at your Government’s decision to cut its annual grant to the First Nations University of Canada with effect from 31 March 2010. We understand that this decision will effectively mean the end of FNUniv.

It is a source of astonishment to us that your Government should decide to cut the funding for this university now at the very time when the very difficult governance problems are finally resolved after several years of difficulty and conflict.

FNUniv is a truly unique and remarkable institution. It is the only university that directly serves Canada’s First Nations communities and which reflects First Nations’ culture and tradition as part of its core mission. As such, your Government’s decision to end this university’s funding is inconsistent with internationally recognized obligations with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples.

As I have said earlier, my members cannot understand how you have taken this decision now at the very time when the problems have been solved despite the fact that you failed to take any action in the years when the problems were extant.

The members of the Irish Federation of University Teachers will be following this issue very closely and we earnestly request your Government to reverse your decision to cut the funding for this university.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Jennings,
General Secretary.

c. David Robinson, CAUT

His Excellency Patrick Binns, Canadian Embassy,
7-8 Wilton Terrace, Dublin 2.

IFUT Executive

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »