(SASKATOON) – The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) have signed an agreement to strategically work together to improve the academic success of First Nations students.

The agreement, signed today between U of S President Peter Stoicheff and FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron, renews and enhances the longstanding relationship between the U of S and the FSIN.

The agreement commits the U of S president, on an annual basis, to present to the FSIN Chiefs in Assembly about strategies and programs that the university is undertaking to support and serve Indigenous students. Similarly, the agreement calls upon the FSIN Chief to report annually to the U of S on activities and initiatives of the FSIN that are directed at serving First Nations students.

Through these presentations and discussions, the FSIN and the U of S will be able to find further areas in which they can work together to improve the educational outcomes for First Nations students.

“Reinvigorating and strengthening the relationship between the U of S and the FSIN is an exciting step for the university,” said Stoicheff. “As we strive to become the best place we can possibly be for Indigenous students and their communities, it is important that we work cooperatively with our partners and this agreement signals that we will be doing just this.”

“Our young people are seeking educational opportunities that will lead to productive careers,” said Chief Cameron. “The agreement signed today will strengthen communications between the FSIN and the University of Saskatchewan. These types of improved relationships will ensure our First Nation students get their educational needs met. Many of our First Nations students have graduated from the U of S and others are currently enrolled, therefore we advocate on their behalf to ensure their success in exercising the inherent and treaty right to education.”

With 20 per cent of the population in Saskatchewan expected to be Indigenous in less than 20 years, Cameron said it is necessary for post-secondary education institutions to address this demographic shift as the U of S is doing through this agreement.

The agreement was signed in the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre at the U of S.

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