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From an opinion piece by Murray Mandryk in the Regina Leader-Post of June 5, 2010.

No one acted more admirably than Cadmus Delorme and the other students, who immediately took the fight to the assembly of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

Along with dedicated FNUC teachers such as Randy Lundy, they didn’t quit until the funding was restored this week.

The entire First Nations community should be proud them. We all should.

But absolutely no one deserves more praise than FSIN Chief Guy Lonechild.

Read more in the Leader-Post.

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Thought you might be interested in the following. This morning I presented the first of several such petitions in the House. More to follow before we rise for the summer break.

Todd.

Mr. Todd Russell (Labrador, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to introduce a petition signed by people through Saskatchewan in support of the First Nations University of Canada .

The petitioners wish to draw to the attention of the House that the viability of the First Nations University of Canada was threatened by the removal of provincial and federal funding and that the reinstatement of provincial funds and up to $3 million in federal funds to the proposed student-based support program would not ensure long-term sustainable funding of the First Nations University, that steps have been taken to improve the governance and accountability of the First Nations University and a memorandum of understanding has been signed by all parties, that the founding mission of the university includes a commitment to enhance the quality of life and to preserve, protect and interpret the history, language, culture and artistic heritage of First Nations peoples.

The petitioners state that we must not lose the valuable resource and indigenous knowledge that has been created at the First Nations University and that above all we must the support the students at First Nations University who have demonstrated their dedication, commitment and overwhelming desire for the continuation of the institution.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to work with the students, staff and faculty to build a sustainable and viable future for the First Nations University of Canada by fully reinstating federal funding of at least $7.2 million.

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From an editorial by Doug Cuthand in the StarPhoenix of April 30, 2010.

The First Nations University of Canada, too, has been cast aside by the federal government. This month’s payroll may well be the last for many FNUC staff. Funds have run out and Ottawa refuses to reinstate its funding despite all the positive moves the university’s new board of governors has made.

The University of Regina is onside to provide administrative support, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers has lifted its censure of FNUC. The university is on the right path to reform, but the federal minister is steadfast in his refusal to support this institution. It’s obvious that First Nations institutions are not part of the Conservative government’s political landscape.

Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl began his political career as a member of the Reform party that begat the Canadian Alliance which morphed into the new Conservative Party of Canada. The Reform party was to the right of the old Progressive Conservative party and made considerable noise about First Nations politics and accountability.

This may have appealed to the Tories’ redneck base, but once in power they tried to bury their past. However they continued to attack First Nations and aboriginal issues. They scrapped the Kelowna Accord, refused to sign on to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous peoples and, when FNUC encountered internal problems, they jumped on the chance to destroy the university.

In spite of the best efforts of the new board, the new president and the University of Regina, the federal government remains steadfast in its desire to shut down FNUC.

Read more in the StarPhoenix.

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Clarke, Joseph spar on FNUC

From an article posted by John Statton to the Meadow Lake Progress web site.

In his letter, [Conservative MP Rob] Clarke noted that the Conservative government is committed to supporting First Nation learners and helping currently enrolled FNUC students finish their academic year. He noted that the government has made $3 million available through the Indian Studies Support Program.

“It’s just very unfortunate to see to the state that now the First Nations University is facing,” said Clarke in a telephone interview.

“I’ve had numerous meetings with Minister Strahl on this very issue. I’d like to point out that the issues are concerns of First Nations University students, for students themselves,” he said.

[NDP candidate Lawrence] Joseph felt that current government programs are not meeting the needs of First Nations.

For more, see the Meadow Lake Progress web site.

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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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Letter to the editor of the Leader-Post
Mar. 29, 2010

This is a letter of support for the reinstatement of $7 million dollars of federal funding for First Nations University of Canada.

On June 11, 2008 Prime Minister Harper acknowledged the disastrous failure of the Indian residential schools in a statement of apology. He stated,

“Two primary objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture…Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.”

The decision to cut funding to First Nations University is not only disrespectful to First Nations families, traditions and cultures, it is also a new form of the old colonial policy of assimilation. If the doors of the First Nations University were closed, the students would have to be assimilated into other mainstream institutions. If the Prime Minister truly believes that the policy of assimilation is harmful and wrong, then he should have the funds reinstated.

For over 20 years following the deficit financing of the Grant Devine conservative government in Saskatchewan we have been paying $500 million-$800 million every year on interest payments on the debt. This is money we can’t use towards many outstanding issues. Federally, the $56 billion deficit will take years to repay. Financial management has to be improved but this also holds true for the federal and provincial governments.

A new agreement has been signed and the province has re-instated the $5.2 million. Federal Minister Chuck Strahl previously stated that he would follow the lead of the province. Now is the time for him to take respectful action.

Keith Goulet,
PhD student and former Cabinet Minister

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The House Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs meeting on First Nations University will be broadcast live on parlvu (web cast) at 1:30 Saskatchewan time (CST), 3:30 to 7:30 EDT.

It will be shown on the parl-vu web site: parlvu.parl.gc.ca. Viewers should use the English feed – the “floor feed” won’t be translated.

The committee’s membership is as follows:

  • Chair: Bruce Stanton (Con)
  • Vice-Chairs: Jean Crowder (NDP) and Todd Norman Russell (Lib)
  • Opposition Members: Larry Bagnell (Lib), Anita Neville (Lib), Yvon Lévesque (Bloc), Marc Lemay (Bloc)
  • Conservative members: Rob Clarke (Con), Earl Dreeshen (Con), John Duncan (Con), LaVar Payne (Con), Greg Rickford (Con)

The opposition parties, with six members, have an operational majority on the committee – the chair cannot vote.

More information about the committee and members can be found at their web site at: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/CommitteeHome.aspx?Cmte=AANO&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=3

There will be two panels of one and a half hours each. Each panelist has been asked to provide a five minute opening statement, then members will ask questions. The questions rotate between parties, starting with one question from the Liberals, then one from the Bloc, then one from the NDP, then one from the Conservatives, then back to the start again. So far, the following people are confirmed for the panels:

  • First panel: Diane Adams, Randy Lundy, Chief Guy Lonechild and Dorothy Myo, Vianne Timmons, James Turk, and someone yet to be confirmed for the province.
  • Second panel: Christine Cram, INAC, Del Anaquod and others to be confirmed.

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