Kamloops Indian Band chief Shane Gottfriedson (right) and SFU president Michael Stevenson shake hands over the new memorandum of understanding as band councillor Dave Manuel looks on.

Kamloops Indian Band, SFU eye permanent academic centre

August 2, 2007

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SFU and the Kamloops Indian Band (KIB) have signed a memorandum of understanding to look at building a permanent academic centre on band land. For 19 years, SFU has delivered its Kamloops programs in university-owned portable trailers on land leased from the KIB. Under the agreement, the band would own the permanent structure and lease space to SFU.

KIB chief Shane Gottfriedson says the proposed new structure would improve the environment for existing students and attract new students, increasing First Nations access to first-class educational programming.

“We believe education is the way to the future for sustainability for First Nations people,” says Gottfriedson. “We need to build capacity within our communities to take advantage of economic development opportunities, and this is the initial step in moving our community forward.”

More than 300 students have earned SFU undergraduate degrees through the Kamloops program. And while most graduates are of aboriginal ancestry, non-aboriginal students also complete their degrees there because of the unique opportunities the program offers. They include community-based social research training, archaeological and cultural resource management, and the chance to study First Nations issues from a First Nations community perspective.

The Kamloops Indian Band is a First Nations government within the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council. The council represents 10 of the 17 Secwepemc band governments, all in the southern Central Interior, spanning the Thompson and Shuswap districts.

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