The chief of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band says First Nations students are getting a second rate education because of inadequate federal funding.

Chief Tammy Cook-Searson took part in a panel discussion today at a national summit on aboriginal post-secondary education.

The summit is being hosted by the University of Regina.

Its goal is to make post-secondary education more accessible to Metis and First Nations students.

The chief feels a large responsibility for the future of all the young people on the six reserves that are part of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.

More than half of them are under 21, and many are looking for careers.

She says greater understanding and adequate education funding for on reserve students is key to helping them achieve a post-secondary education.

“So bridging that gap and then building people up helping them with their self -esteem and also knowing the history of the residential schools,  the genocide the oppression,  understanding  the history of our people,  that is all helping give our people a voice now.”

Shauneen Pete also took part in the panel discussion at the conference.

She is a former vice-president of academics at the First Nations University and now teaches aboriginal education at the university of Regina.

She says while progress is being made, the public school system is still failing aboriginal students.

“Teachers are opting out of doing it claiming, I don’t know enough to be able to close the gap but what we do know for sure in order to close the gap they just need to implement consistent research driven strategies and a core to that is also getting to know their students very well.”

A recent graduate from the First Nations University now has the job of student recruitment for the school.

Cadmus Delorme, says post- secondary education has made a big difference in his life.

It is a message he shares during his recruitment drives.

This conference is giving him a little more information to take on the road.

“It’s a learning path just being here, it’s allowed me to know the different opportunities, some challenges and how if we all work together our great options can come together and work as one.”

The education summit wraps up this afternoon with a key note speech from Assembly of first nations chief Sean Atleo.

He is expected to call on the federal government to fulfill its funding obligation for first nations students.