Posts Tagged ‘residential school’

From an opinion piece by Jesse Rae Archibald-Barber published in the CAUT Bulletin of May, 2010.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially apologized in June 2008 to the tens of thousands of former students of the residential schools system. “We now recognize that it was wrong to separate children from rich and vibrant cultures and traditions — that it created a void in many lives and communities, and we apologize for having done this,” he said.

“There is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian Residential Schools system to ever prevail again. You have been working on recovering from this experience for a long time and in a very real sense, we are now joining you on this journey.”

Last month, faculty of the First Nations University of Canada gathered to showcase the academic ex­cellence of the school. If anything, this place, this school, provides a way of recovering from past educational policies that the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs im­posed on First Nations communities throughout the history of this country.

Read the full opinion piece in the CAUT Bulletin.

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From an editorial by Doug Cuthand in the Leader-Post of April 16, 2010.

Although Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl’s concerns have been addressed, the only federal response has been to offer $3 million in programming funds that must be applied for.

It amounts to nothing more than a public relations stunt, and a poor one at that. It allows the colonial office to wash its hands of the problem and blame the victim.

FNUC students and faculty are fighting hard. Live-ins, teach-ins and other methods of protest are underway daily. Now the FSIN leadership and the chiefs need to step up and prove that FNUC has support provincewide.

In spite of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s stand that it was a tough budget for tough times, and that his plan is to rein in spending, the spending on penitentiaries will increase 36 per cent between now and 2012-13.

Ron Clark, Tory MP for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, is the most vulnerable. Lots of students from his constituency attend FNUC, particularly at the Prince Albert campus. The people in the North are proud of their campus, and the leaders are proud of the students. The government’s blunder won’t be forgotten in the next election.

Read the full editorial in the Leader-Post.

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From an article by Patrick White in the Globe and Mail of Tuesday, April 13, 2010.

At a celebration of the school’s academic research on Wednesday, teachers will lecture on topics ranging from the geometry of teepees to songbirds to native plants. It’s part of an effort to persuade Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl that the university is a serious academic institution that deserves to have its funding restored.

“Minister Strahl has made some degrading comments about the university in the last few months and he’s really off base there,” said Jesse Archibald-Barber, an English professor at the school who will give a lecture comparing Mr. Strahl with Duncan Campbell Scott, the head of Indian Affairs between 1913 and 1932 who championed native residential schools. “This conference is a response to those remarks and him calling into question our academic integrity. We have the largest concentration of first nations PhDs in the country. It’s frightening to think that could just dissipate.”

Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.

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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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Please sign the open letter prepared by CAUT at http://www.caut.ca/fnuc/default.aspx?page=1

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REGINA, March 31 /CNW Telbec/ – Students at the First Nations University of Canada have been hung out to dry by Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, who announced yesterday that the federal government will only provide funding for students at the University until the end of the academic year.

“Minister Strahl has exposed the federal government’s contempt for Canada’s Aboriginal peoples,” said Thomas Roussin, representative of the National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Students at First Nations University need a future, not a five month contract.”

Following years of difficulties the institution recently restructured and reached an agreement with the Government of Saskatchewan, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the University of Regina on principles for a new funding mechanism that will address issues of governance and make the institution more accountable. Shortly after reaching the agreement the government of Saskatchewan committed to restore funding; however without the federal government’s $7.2 million annual contribution, the University cannot afford to keep its doors open.

“The federal government is ignoring its treaty obligation to fund Aboriginal education,” added Roussin. “While the government of Saskatchewan has recognized the vital need for a First Nations institution, Ottawa is turning its back on the only such University in Canada.”

First Nations University of Canada has been a symbol of leadership in Aboriginal post-secondary education to people around the world. The University serves as a model for Aboriginal controlled education. The Canadian Federation of Students and National Aboriginal Caucus have called on the government to honour their apology to the Residential School Survivors and increase funding to Aboriginal education and healing.

Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students from ten provinces. The National Aboriginal Caucus is the voice of Aboriginal students in Canada with members on campuses from St. John’s to Victoria.

For further information: Thomas Roussin, National Aboriginal Caucus representative, (306) 596-6716

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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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