Notice: Important information about COVID-19 here.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the First Nations University of Canada

By Dale Johnson Posted: September 9, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Students at the First Nations University of Canada invite you to share in a very special anniversary.
Students at the First Nations University of Canada invite you to share in a very special anniversary. Photo: U of R Photography

The First Nations University of Canada is inviting the public to help celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Several events are planned, starting on Friday, Sept. 9 and culminating with a day-long celebration on Monday, Sept. 12 that will include a student pow-wow and a community feast. All of the events are open to the public.

“Together with our veterans, students, community members, political leadership and many partners who have supported us over the years, we are now able to all come together, during our four days of celebration, to reminisce, share stores, and look forward to the bright future of the First Nations University of Canada. It has been a remarkable journey,” says Dr. Mark Dockstator, President of First Nations University of Canada.

The University’s origins can be traced back to 1969, when what was then known as the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians – now the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations – launched a task force which recommended Indian control of Indian education. That led to the creation of the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College and the first classes were offered in September 1976 at the University of Regina. SIFC was a federated college of the U of R. There were nine students, and classes were offered in Indian studies, Indian languages, social work, fine arts, social science and Indian teacher education. In 2003 the name was changed to the First Nations University of Canada, and the current facility opened.

“Dr. Lloyd Barber, who was the president of the University of Regina when SIFC was first created, was one of few at the time who saw more than just a chance to have another college on his campus. He saw the value in education that was controlled by First Nations Peoples and shared from our perspective with all of his students,” says David Sharpe, Chair of the First Nations University of Canada Board of Governors.

The First Nations University of Canada is one of three federated colleges at the U of R. The others are Campion and Luther. Although administratively distinct, they are academically integrated into the U of R. Students at the federated colleges can take classes at the U of R, and students at the U of R can take classes at the federated colleges. Students earn U of R degrees.

The anniversary celebrations begin on Friday, Sept. 9 at 8 a.m. with a Pipe Ceremony. From 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. there will be a Feast and a Round Dance and Give Away.

On Sunday, Sept. 11 there will be a Pipe Ceremony at 8 a.m., an Elders Conference from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Our Future Children and Family Event from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  

On Monday, Sept. 12 the anniversary celebrations will be marked with several guest speakers, including the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan; Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs; and National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations. Chief Bellegarde attended the SIFC and graduated from the U of R in 1984 with a Bachelor of Administration.

Please visit here for more information about the anniversary celebrations.