Creating Space for Academic Excellence
With a new school year upon us, we celebrate educational institutions doing great work, delivering high quality education with Indigenous knowledge and perspective.
Providing post-secondary education for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike within a culturally supportive environment, the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) is a unique Canadian institution specializing in Indigenous knowledge. A First Nations owned post-secondary institution, the university offers programs and services on three campuses across Saskatchewan: Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert (Northern Campus). To coincide with the beginning of the fall semester, the Regina campus will open its brand new daycare facility with enough space for 90 children.
The campus atmosphere is built on the sensitivities, knowledge and understanding of the cultures, beliefs and traditions of First Nations, while at the same time celebrating the diversity of its student body and welcoming all who attend. What makes FNUniv so distinctive is the holistic educational experience. The university brings together quality academic studies with traditional Indigenous knowledge and courses in Saskatchewan’s five Indigenous languages: Cree, Dakota, Dene, Nakota and Saulteaux.
With over four decades of experience, FNUniv is constantly expanding its knowledge base and understanding with the best interests of First Nations and the benefit of society in mind, including being a leader in reconciliation efforts. While reconciliation has been brought to the forefront for many Canadians over the last few years, it has been an ongoing priority at FNUniv for more than 40. To ensure the preservation of First Nations history, language, culture and artistic heritage, Elders are brought in to share traditional knowledge in every program on campus. Teaching through traditional activities such as beading, and ceremonies held on all three campuses, students and staff have a supportive environment in which they can learn and grow. Through these efforts, real change begins to take shape.
First Nations University of Canada is a fantastic environment which combines Indigenous cultures into the academics. The programs have small class sizes, and you get to know your instructors on a face-to-face basis. The student base is friendly and understanding, and makes it easy to meet new people. The services they offer students is second to none, with a daycare on site and tutoring for science, math and english.
– Jason Bird, Bth, BBA, MAdmin, Academic Advisor, Student Success
How FNUniv All Began
FNUniv was originally established as the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC). In May 1976, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations entered into an agreement with the University of Regina, founding the SIFC with a mission to serve the academic, cultural and spiritual needs of First Nations students.
On June 21, 2003, the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College officially changed its name to the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv).
When SIFC first opened its doors in the fall of 1976, it had nine students. Since then, enrollment has steadily increased, and the FNUniv now maintains an average annual enrollment of over 3,000. In addition, over 30,000 learners have made FNUniv part of their educational journey.
Over the past three decades, the university has entered into over twenty-five agreements with Indigenous institutions in Canada, South and Central America, and Asia, and signed agreements with academic institutions in Siberia (Russia), Inner Mongolia (China) and Tanzania.
A Tribute to First Nations Veterans
FNUniv is also the home of a very special memorial space—Veterans Memorial Tipi. The large glass tipi surrounding the First Nations University of Canada Regina Campus Atrium is an architectural wonder, featuring an enormous set of windows and truly stunning tile work. It honours First Nations veterans who served in the Canadian and United States militaries since World War I. The tipi officially opened on June 6, 2008, to commemorate D-Day (June 6, 1944). The soldiers and warriors of yesterday and today sacrificed so that the next generation could grow and prosper, making FNUniv a fitting place for this grand memorial.
A Leader in Indigenous Education
FNUniv provides opportunities for quality bilingual and bicultural education under the mandate and control of the First Nations of Saskatchewan.
“FNUniv students can look forward to intellectually and culturally stimulating education with generous access to Elders,” said Dr. A. Blair Stonechild, Ph.D. Professor of Indigenous Studies at FNUniv.
Elders and Knowledge Keepers from Pelican Narrows and Sturgeon Lake communities participate in this unique project which is supported by Heritage Canada. Within the project, we organized workshops in both communities. Elders advised us how to work with Indigenous artifacts preserved in museums. Community members contributed by providing artifacts for laboratory measurements and we recorded oral stories told by ten Elders and Knowledge Keepers.
– Dr. Arzu Sardarli, Professor of Physics and Mathematics, Department of Indigenous Science, the Environment, and Economic Development, Northern Campus
The professors at FNUniv are experts in their fields and leaders in combining academic work with Indigenous knowledge and perspective.
From the development of innovative programs and the expansion of its online offerings, FNUniv continues to build new spaces for academic excellence in which technology plays a large role. Through online instruction and video conferencing methods, FNUniv has increased its programming in both Prince Albert and Saskatoon, allowing for flexible learning environments. With the variety of educational tools offered at FNUniv, students can stay close to home while pursuing higher education.
The First Nations University of Canada aspires to have transformative impact by bridging ceremonies, knowledge keepers, languages and traditions with the delivery of high-quality education that will lead to the pride and success of all students, First Nations communities and Canada.
Our students are at the heart of all that we do and embody the dream of our founders, that more Indigenous people would become empowered through post-secondary education.
– Board of Governors
For more information about the First Nations University of Canada and how to enroll, visit http://fnuniv.ca.