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Education Cutbacks Callous Mistreatment

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FALL 1987      p04  
The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations has voiced its outrage at the Department of Indian Affairs callous mistreatment of Indian students in denying them access to post-secondary education. Over 200 students who wanted to attend college or university this fall semester have been turned down by the Regional Department of Indian Affairs.

Chief Roland Crowe said. "Education is a right under the Treaties, and such rights were recently reaffirmed under the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982. This blatant disregard is a betrayal of that agreement." Furthermore, he went on to say, "Educating our young people is the key to solving many of the problems facing our Indian community today. Across this country many students will be returning to the university classroom; however, many of our students will not be so fortunate."

Vice-Chief E. Dutch Lerat, the FSIN Executive member responsible for Education stated, "The future of these students and generations yet to come is in serious jeopardy. We will not stand idly by and witness their personal frustration; and we will not condone such federal measures as these which serve to subvert Indian development. "

Regardless of the hardship, students have registered for classes and are attending university without INAC support.

Ms. Denita Stonechild is a grade 12 graduate with a 70 % average and enrolled at the University of Regina. In spite of her high average and the fact that she had followed all the application procedures, she was denied her treaty right to education. In late August, the Fort Qu'Appelle district office of Indian Affairs informed her that her application was rejected because a lack of funds. At a press conference called by the FSIN she stated:

"Presently I am enrolled and attending classes at the University of Regina. I am without books and supplies and it is making it very difficult for me to continue to attend classes this semester. I realize that other students are in the same situation that I am facing. I hope that what is taking place today will lead to a solution for myself and other Indian students."