FNTI Demands Fairness, Equity and Justice In PSE Funding
TYENDINAGA, ON, June 28 – “The Government of Ontario values an Aboriginal post-secondary student at FNTI at one-fifth of a student attending other colleges and universities. We cannot wait another 22 years to address this inequity,” stated Karihwakeron Tim Thompson, President and CAO of FNTI (First Nations Technical Institute). FNTI is an Aboriginal controlled post-secondary institution which came into existence in 1985 as a result of an innovative partnership between the FNTI Board of Directors, and the federal and provincial governments. FNTI has graduated over 2000 people from its certificate, diploma and degree programs and boasts a 90% graduation rate. It offers unique programs which reflect Indigenous knowledge, responding to Aboriginal socio-economic needs, and developing community human resource capacity to enhance self-government and self-determination. FNTI is making significant contributions to reduce the post-secondary education attainment gap which exists between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian population.
The federal government believes support for Aboriginal institutions is a matter for the provinces and has said so as recently as June 2007 in a report tabled with a Parliamentary Committee. Ontario offers a program which provides support for program development and delivery in Aboriginal institutions, however, at funding levels of $1677 per student this is approximately 20% of per student allocations to support colleges and universities in Ontario.
“FNTI faces an annual struggle to survive, due to the fact that both levels of government engage in short-term programs and half-measures. FNTI is a success story yet we find ourselves being tossed around in an annual game of jurisdictional volleyball which constantly threatens our very existence,” said William J. Brant, Chair of the FNTI Board of Directors.
“The lack of urgent action by both governments is inexcusable,” FNTI President Thompson added. “I had hoped the age of institutional assimilation had passed. It is time for Ontario to demonstrate leadership and make room for FNTI in a truly inclusive post-secondary system. I call upon the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to work with FNTI to remove the system barriers which undermine our operations.
We are seeking fairness, equity, and justice. Surely these are values with which Ontario agrees.”
For further information: Karihwakeron Tim Thompson, FNTI President and CAO, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, (613) 396-2122 ext. 133