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S.I.F.C. Opens International Indigenous Studies Centre

Ivan Morin

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1988      p05  
The Saskatchewan Indian Federated College has expanded its ties with Indigenous peoples worldwide with the development of the Center for International Studies and Development. The center was recently approved at an SIFC Board of Governors meeting.

Through research, education, training and direct assistance, the center will contribute to the self-empowerment and overall development of Indigenous people in Canada and around the world.

Professor Rolando Remirez, the center's director, says that "it has a mandate to bring international indigenous people both in Saskatchewan and in communities around the world. We may also provide a linkage to a number of indigenous communities in the Americas and around the world for those who wish to contact a specific group".

Quechua Chieftans in Cuzco Peru
Quechua Chieftans in Cuzco Peru
Torres Strait Islanders from Northern Australia
Torres Strait Islanders from Northern Australia

Stating that the Center for International Indigenous Studies and Development was the first of it's kind in Canada, Remirez says that the Center will give Saskatchewan residents more awareness of Indigenous issues beyond the Saskatchewan border, and will enhance their cultural awareness.

The center has two general objectives: to assist in the development and strengthening of Indian jurisdictions in their respective homelands for the welfare and wellbeing of their people; and, to provide students, faculty and the communities at large opportunities to develop an awareness and appreciation for the broad context of indigenous people on a global scale.

The Center will combine these new objectives with those of the already established International Indigenous Program, which the Center for International Indigenous Studies and Development replaced. The office of International Affairs was responsible for seven international agreements with indigenous peoples and institutions around the world.

The new Center's program is an intensive 12 month course to prepare international students to undertake action/research projects relevant to their communities. Previous projects involved people from a number of Central American countries, South America, China, and Norway.

In it's first official capacity the SIFC Center for International Studies and Development at tended the International Labor Organization (ILO) meetings in Geneva in June of this year. Other such projects are planned in the future.