The First Nations University of Canada celebrated 10 years of growth by holding a traditional powwow to mark the number of years since the university changed its name from Saskatchewan Indian Federated College.
The celebrations began at Noon on Thursday, and all students gathered to watch dancers, singers, and drummers from across the province perform throughout the afternoon. University dignitaries, students and FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde spoke to the crowd in between performances.
But just a few years ago, the celebration might not have been possible. According to cjme.com, problems with the university’s administration and allegations of financial mismanagement caused the school to lose its accreditation in 2007. And in 2010, the federal government pulled its funding to the school putting the 37 year-old institution’s future in question.
Despite it all, the school has fought through those issues and thrived this year with an enrollment boost in its community-based programs. Since 2010, the university has grown 30 percent with 755 students currently enrolled, according to globalnews.ca.
“Our student numbers are very high and we’re very excited about growing more,”?said vice President of Academics Lynn Wells who told Aaron Stuckel of cjme.com that they just completed a strategic plan to hire new faculty and researchers as well as a new executive team.
The powwow welcomed back all of FCUN’s students to class and to the opening of its iconic Regina Campus Building in Regina, Canada. Many students choose to attend the university to learn more about their ancestral heritage. Particularly students like Amanda Worm, who grew up in a city with Western traditions. “I didn’t have the privilege of growing up First Nations or knowing my traditions, so I knew this place was the place for me,” she told cjme.com.
“This university is going to put out—it already has put out—hundreds of (Indigenous) graduates,” said student body president Jaqueline Anaquod, to News Talk 980. “So, it’s future is very bright.”