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Ida Wasacase -
Director of Federated College.
The Saskatchewan Indian Federated College is in its third year of operation at the University of Regina. As a fully accredited, Indian-controlled institution we are unique. There are no other institutions of our stature in North America. Our Federated status with the University granted us the normal privileges and responsibilities accorded any other institution of its stature within the province of Saskatchewan. The notable exception to these arrangements, which is clearly stated in the Federation Agreement, is that the College must secure its funding from the Government of Canada. To date, this question has not been adequately resolved and, as a consequence, we are severely limited in the amount of research, planning and development we can do.
One of the major thrusts of the Federated College is its commitment to meeting the needs of our people in the 131 Indian communities of Saskatchewan. By necessity this means we must have staff who can not only meet with the 68 Chiefs and Band Councils of the province to discuss their requirements, but who are also capable of developing programs of study that truly reflect our history, culture and values.
It is our belief that this process of research, planning and development could go on for the next ten years, and will require a substantial input of both human and non-human resources.
To date, the Federated College has entered into agreements with several faculties of the University. The Indian Studies program, which includes all Indian Studies courses, the Indian Languages Program and the Indian Art Program are offered with the approval of the Faculty of the Arts. Programs in Indian Teacher Education and Indian Guidance Counsellor Education, Bilingual/ Bicultural Indian Education, Library Science, Indian Music Education, Indian Art Education, and Language Arts have been negotiated with the Faculty of Education and the Saskatchewan Teacher Board of Education. Two-year certification and four-year degree programs in Indian Social Work Education (Faculty of Social Work) and Indian Management and Administration (Faculty of Administration) have been completed.
In the future, other programs will be brought forward as proposed offerings by the College, for example, there is a great deal of interest in creating an Indian Sports College, which could be established under the supervision and administration of the Federated College. With the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians' immediate direction in Indian Government there will be a demand to start working out a plan for the Associate Arts degree for the professional training of Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers, Hydrologists, Agriculturalists, etc., which will require the development within the College of expertise in the areas of socio-eonomic, political and legal development.
The communities in the far north have a great concern for the development of Indian professionals. The College is identifying alternatives that will meet the educational growth of Indian people in the north - the College has been researching the area of implementing a concept known as Distance Education- hopefully this will become a reality by January 1980. This concept will be the beginning of training teachers, administrators, professionals for our isolated communities.
Aside from the problem of funding, our other problems have centered around the identification and employment of professional staff who are capable of listening to and understanding the Indian point of view, and who have the ability to combine this with the extant academic information. In most cases these individuals just don't exist or are not available at the present time.
Our solution to this problem, at this time, is to assign those who are available to do the necessary research and development. The courses will be developed and they will be delivered and in the long-run this approach may provide a firmer foundation for the College then if we had been able to hire all of the expertise immediately.
During the past few months, we have had a number of well known academics in the field of Indian Education express an interest in joining our staff, either on a visiting or permanent basis. These people will be a welcome addition to our staff.
The figures quoted below reflect a growing demand for the kind of service we can provide to the Indian communities. To this date we have Indian students enrolled in our College from every province in Canada, New Brunswick to British Columbia.
This is indicative of the growth of an Indian controlled institution. With the enquiries from all over North America the increase is bound to grow in the future.
The main thrust of the College is to impart the knowledge and skills of both worlds to the students, the Indian and the non-Indian world. The students after being trained, will have the choice of moving from one world to another. They have learned to understand their own culture, their own language, plus have developed the skills they need to survive in the competitive world. To this date, the students at the College have shown great initiative and promise as our future leaders of tomorrow.
The formation of the Indian Student Organization is a mechanism recognized by the University and the Federated College to promote and support Indian Education at all levels. The student organization encouraged the motivation for self-development, socially, culturally, economically, and intellectually. As a result of this united body, negotiations with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs were successful in regards to the Post-Secondary Guidelines known as the E-12 series - The Director General of the Department assured the following: 1) No student will be denied sponsorship once accepted in a Post-secondary Institution. 2) A consistant policy will be set up with all the districts in regards to student training allowance.
To date, the need for a reasonable student training allowance is still under negotiation.
The students have been active in the sports field within the University, picking up four intermural awards.
Social events for time to get away from studies have been organized in the form of coffee houses, pot-luck dinners, the annual ski trip and the final semester wind-up. The organization has been able to fund these socials through their fund raising activities such as jewelry sales, auctions and sports pools.
We are extremely proud of our students that have enrolled in the College - not only is the positive development occuring in our on-campus classes but also the growing demands with our Off-campus classes.
The foregoing information reflects our development to date towards the future of increasing enrollment for the Saskatchewan Indian people - Indian Control of Indian Education. Although we feel we have made some progress during the past year, we also know that we have many years of hard work ahead of us. We wish to thank Dr. Barber - President of the University of Regina, the FSI Senators, Executive, the Chiefs of Saskatchewan and our Indian people, for the support we have received.
We believe we can develop an Institution that will meet the needs of all our Indian Students.