Posts Tagged ‘social work’

From an article by Jason Warick in the Leader-Post of May 3, 2010.

[FNUniv president Shauneen] Pete announced the campus closure at 11 a.m. Monday inside a Saskatoon classroom packed with several dozen students, faculty and other staff. The announcement was broadcast by video to students and staff on the campuses in Regina and Prince Albert.

Pete told those gathered the Saskatoon campus was being put up for sale immediately. It will be closed as soon as a buyer is found. In addition, cuts to faculty and staff are to take place on all three campuses.

“Saskatoon is being put up for sale. (The cuts) were necessary,” Pete said in a brief interview on the Saskatoon campus Monday afternoon.

She said the school of Indian social work (ISW) will remain intact, but it’s unclear where the classes will be held.

Read more in the Leader-Post.

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To: MLA of Prince Albert

Dear Mr. Furber,

The Media has released information that will affect First Nations University of Canada. On Feb 8, 2010 it was released that the federal government was to cut its funding. The amount of funding to be cut is $7.2 million. This non-renewal of $7.2 million in funding is another severe loss in addition to the already withheld $5.2 million dollars in funding from the provincial government.

As a student enrolled in programming facilitated by the FNUniv I am seriously concerned about the future of academic programs being gravely affected by these funding cuts. These funding cuts will have detrimental affects throughout Prince Albert and northern communities. Please understand that these cuts are not just associated with the Regina and Saskatoon campuses but will have serious implications for the Prince Albert Campus.

Currently there are 440 students to date that are enrolled in various programs, at different sites within Prince Albert, and Northern communities such as Ile la Crosse, Black Lake, La Ronge. The dissolution of the FNUniv, primarily in Prince Albert will affect these 440 students and surrounding areas. And this is the largest student body of the FNUniv of Regina campus and Saskatoon. A majority of these students are from northern communities, have traveled great distance to be part of the greater good of educating themselves and have uprooted there families, families which contribute to the downtown core of Prince Albert.

This institution is very important to everyone. We have the only Dental Therapy program offered in Canada, the Nursing Education Program of Saskatchewan is truly unique, the Indian Social Work program is a non transferrable program, where are these students going to go? The impact to Prince Albert is comparable to the loss of Weyerhaeuser.

Please understand that these funding cuts are severing any hopes and dreams of future Native and Non Native students to access quality world class education in Prince Albert Saskatchewan. The funding cuts proposed to FNUniv will negatively impact the core downtown area of Prince Albert. The economic impact will be felt if the FNUniv will have to close its doors.

Please advocate on our behalf to reinstate the funding for FNUniv.

Respectfully Attending student at FNUC

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Dear Minister Strahl

Your recent decision to withdraw $7.2 million dollars in core funding to the First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) has drastic consequences and I ask that you reverse it.

FNUC is a world leader in Indigenous Education. It began teaching in the areas of Indian social work, Indian art, and Indian languages over 30 years ago. Within the sciences, for example, two unique bachelor degree programs (the Environmental Health & Science program and the Resource & Environmental Studies program) which incorporate First Nations traditional knowledge and culture have been developed. Furthermore, FNUC is involved research funded by Health Canada into the environmental and health impacts from environmental chemicals in First Nations Communities. This program, the National First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program is the only such program in Canada. These unparalleled science educational and research programs will end unless you restore operational funding to FNUC.

The University of Regina (UofR) and the FNUC have reached an agreement concerning the management of FNUC finances. The president of the UofR, Dr. Vianne Timmons, states that “The University of Regina has agreed to the principles of a shared management model where the stewardship of the administrative and financial management of FNUniv is placed with the University of Regina through a contractual relationship for a four-year period.” Please allow sufficient time for the partners to submit a written MOU to your office.

Federal funding for FNUC has been guaranteed annually under the Indian Studies Support Program for funding First Nation post-secondary institutions. Please honor the federal obligation to fund the FNUC.

All the steps required to make FNUC more open, transparent and accountable have been taken. The financial administration of FNUC is now being overseen by UofR. The administrative difficulties have also been rectified. The structure of the board of governors has been changed. It has been depoliticized and downsized. A new interim Chair and new board members have been appointed. The new board has fired the President of FNUC.

Please reverse your decision and restore the $7.2 million funding for FNUC the upcoming year.


Senator Lillian E. Dyck

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Sharon Leslie Acoose, School of Indian Social Work, Saskatoon Campus. Ms. Acoose is a member of the Sakimay Indian Band. She has been working for First Nations University since 1999, which has been one of the most empowering experiences of her life. She is a recovering drug addicted alcoholic and will celebrate 19 years of sobriety April 1, 2010. In those 19 years she has acquired a Bachelor of Human Justice, a Certificate in Corrections, a Master of Social Work and is presently enrolled in a Doctorate of Philosophy program through the College of Medicine – Dept of Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests are issues around Indian women who have been in conflict with the law; her thesis will be based on the concept of reintegration. Ms. Acoose has rich and colourful past life experiences which she uses in her classrooms and in her many community presentations. She loves teaching for the First Nations University of Canada.

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From an article by Jason Warick in the StarPhoenix of February 23, 2010.

Many of the high school students who toured the Saskatoon campus of the First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) Monday say they’d like to attend in the fall, in spite of the institution’s uncertain future.

“It would be nice to come here because it’s all indigenous. It seems like it’d be a good place to come,” said 26-year-old Robert Badger, who returned to high school recently and will receive his diploma in the spring.

“The instructors seem like they really care.”

Read the full article in the StarPhoenix.

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Joan Sanderson, Associate Professor, School of Indian Social Work. Over the twenty years of her tenure at First Nations University Ms. Sanderson has maintained an interest in healing from trauma, and in particular healing from colonial induced trauma. Joan brings the theory of somatic experiencing to the classroom, to individual students, and most recently to a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) research project, “Somatic Experiencing, a Unique Approach to Trauma Work: Exploring its Capacity for Healing from Residential School Trauma”.

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My name is Joan Sanderson and as an associate professor in the School of Indian Social Work at First Nations University I developed a research project to provide an opportunity for Saskatoon Campus students to share the impacts that this unique university has had in their lives. Data gathering has begun. Willing students respond to the following two questions, and have the choice of remaining anonymous or not. They were aware that their responses would be used in a variety of public forums, which now includes this blog.

Research questions:

  1. “What has been the importance of First Nations University of Canada in your life and the lives of your extended family?”
  2. “Summarize in about one sentence what has been the importance of First Nations University in your life?”

Participants’ Responses:


  1. The First Nations University of Canada has been important in my life as well as my extended family. When I first attended school here I was in a bad place in my life. I was confused, but with the help and guidance from the faculty and staff and students I was able to leave a very unhealthy relationship and start to better the lives of me and my children. Going here has made me have a whole new way of thinking about life and how to live a balanced and holistic way.
  2. First Nations University has been important to my life because it has been my support to finish my schooling and to become a better person.

Crystal Moser

  1. The First Nations University has made me look at myself and my past and I felt safe and comfortable to deal with past issues. Because I was able to deal with my past issues, my life has done a complete turnaround, which has impacted my family in a very positive way. Prior to First Nations University I was so hurt by my past, I was on many medications and diagnosed with two mood disorders. Since I have been in school I have become comfortable dealing with my hurt … now I haven’t been on medication for 1-½ years and have never been more healthy and happy.
  2. First Nations University has been a powerful, life altering experience.

Damien Rogue

  1. The First Nations University has been the birthplace to my family receiving a post-secondary education in both my mothers and fathers family. The First Nations University was the only school that I felt comfortable in. The atmosphere of the students and teachers made it easy for learning. Without this school I do not know the life that I would be living. This school was a place of learning and healing. This was also a place where I rediscovered my culture. I feel that this school filled a void in my life.
  2. It filled a huge void in my life.

Anna Hendry

  1. FNUniv has been important in the following ways:
    • Being able to learn more about my culture, identity and values.
    • Learn and speak another First Nation language.
    • Being able to participate in ceremonies such as: pipe ceremonies, feasts, smudging, and sweatlodge.
    • Being able to participate in art classes and the First Nation University of Canada pow-wow.
  2. Being accepted in the Faculty of Indian Social Work program and fulfilling my dream of becoming a social worker.

Jocelyn Campbell Chaplin

  1. This university has taught me the importance of my First Nations culture. It has taught me to be proud of who I am. I have become more spiritual and I now live a very different life, a better life.
  2. First Nations University helped me believe in myself.

Tod Red-Iron

  1. The First Nations University of Canada has been one of the most important and crucial aspects of my life to date. It has put in place the missing links to my past, and to who I truly am, a First Nations person. Without the First Nations University of Canada, I am not sure I would understand myself, my people, and my culture as well as I do.
  2. FNU’s importance has been in providing a path for the lost, linking our current society to our past as First Nations people, and helping to uncover my true identity.

Gladys R. Sinclair

  1. In most of my classes (for this term), we address each other from a circle and I learn that the majority of the other students are mothers and fathers of families. Some of the students are grandparents. A fair number of these students have been through the mill. Nevertheless, there we all sit in the circle, working towards degrees. I have never experienced the circle method of teaching, nor have I ever seen this demographic across the river at the U of S among all the young white 20 year olds.

    There’s good reason why this is so. First Nations people are distinct peoples, and we have lost so much, and have been so disrespected. We First Nations people need, absolutely need, our own “places”, our own institutions, our own high school (and we have one in this city) and most importantly our own university. I want this First Nations University to continue, because I have a “place” here and the University of Saskatchewan, however well-intentioned, could not meet that need.

  2. I chose to attend the First Nations University over the U of S because I “fit in” and I have never felt that sense of “fitting in” at the U of S where I was often the only brown face in classrooms and lecture theatres.

Wendy Jacklin

  1. The importance of the First Nations University of Canada in my life is that it has given me healing within myself to help guide me in my decision and my education to obtain a Bachelor of Indian Social Work. This impacts my extended family in a positive way, because it helps heal my family dynamics as well. In saying this it is also helping heal the people that I come into contact with, because the ignorance that surrounds First Nations people and culture runs in many circles that I visit. The knowledge and respect that I am given at this University, infiltrates the dealings that I have with others.
  2. The importance of University has been it is showing me how to heal, so I am able to be a productive member of society.


  1. The staff and professors have been understanding when it came to family issues. There is a cultural aspect to the course in Indian Social Work. (I can only speak to the BISW or ASW due to the fact it is the only course I have taken). My daughter would like to attend the school following her completion of high school.
  2. It helped me find my culture, my voice and assisted me in being a stronger family member along with a positive member of the community. It gave me confidence.

Gilbert Kewistep

  1. This University has been very important for my healing journey. I might add that five of my children have followed me to this educational institution. They have attained their degrees here, but the most important factor that they received here was their sense of identity. This University allowed them to reclaim their family values and how important they are in the family structure. I find that very important for them and how they relate to their families and other people in general. This University has allowed the students and myself the will to grow and has empowered each and every one of us. The identity and history that we are taught here is immeasurable. I am very fortunate to have been selected to do my Undergraduate here. I will take the education that I have been taught here and help those that need it.
  2. I am thankful for the traditional education and assisting me on my healing journey.

Crystal Saulteaux

  1. The importance of this institution to me is that I honor the fact that our “education” came from visions and sacrifice of the old ones. This is my main reason for attending from my Undergrad to Masters Level. Secondly, I see what education has provided to my mom and now myself and consequently my children. I hear from my children how they are proud of me and how my education has enriched their lives. On a larger perspective, it is my inherent right as a treaty stakes person.
  2. It enhanced my own essence and my understanding of my history; it gave me a way to continue to heal, grow and develop.

This project was approved by the Research Ethics Board of the University of Regina. If you have any concerns or questions about your rights or treatment as a participant 585-4775 or by e-mail at research.ethics@uregina.ca.

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