FNUC Situation Expected To Dominate FSIN Assembly

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 13:44



Chiefs from across the province are in Prince Albert today for the start of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nation’s spring legislative assembly.


A number of issues are planned for this week’s event, including an update on the future of the First Nations University of Canada.


FSIN vice-chief and FNUC board chair Morley Watson is expected to announce whether or not his office will endorse recommendations prepared by an outside task force about the school’s future.


Those include greatly reducing the size of the university’s board and the number of chiefs sitting on the board — recommendations that a national accreditation body says the FNUC better accept or it will lose its standing.


However, the chiefs might be ready to ignore the wishes of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.


In a briefing document prepared for the board that has been leaked to the media, including MBC — U of R researcher Dr. Shauneen Pete concludes the AUCC has been behaving in a colonialistic fashion towards the university, and that severing ties with the AUCC might open the door for a relationship with another association with a keener interest in First Nations higher learning.


But she also concedes going that route could lead to the loss of federal research funding, financial aid for students, the transferability of university course credits and the school’s professional legitimacy.


Earlier this morning, FSIN chief Alphonse Bird used a portion of his opening remarks at the assembly to criticize some media outlets for their views on the FNUC’s situation.


Bird says Indian people built the university, and they shouldn’t have to give up control just because other people want them to. He stressed that First Nations people should be able to govern themselves.