December 1, 2012– On Wednesday, November 28th, Laurentian University welcomed Phil Fontaine, one of Canada’s most passionate advocates for First Nations rights, to its Sudbury campus. The visit was sponsored by RBC in support of Laurentian’s proposed Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre. RBC has been a significant suppporter of the ISLC project, donating $400,000 toward its construction. To date, more than $1.5M has been raised for the creation of this unique hub of indigenous learning and culture.
“Mr. Fontaine has served as a Special Advisor to RBC since 2009, and his insight and guidance has been essential in strengthening our ability to serve the needs of our Aboriginal clients across Canada” said Bill Bray, RBC’s regional vice-president of the Northern Lakes region of Ontario. “We’re very pleased that he shares both our commitment to the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre, and our belief in its power as a resource for success for Aboriginal students at the post-secondary level.”
Fontaine, a former three-term National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, met with members of the Laurentian University Native EducationCouncil (LUNEC) to discuss the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre and its role in supporting the university’s expanding Aboriginal student population. LUNEC is an advisory committee of representatives from regional First Nations, Métis and Aboriginal organizations and provides advice on matters related to Native education at Laurentian.
“Having experienced firsthand the realities of the residential school system, Mr. Fontaine is acutely aware of the need for educational programming that is culturally sensitive and uniquely responsive to the needs of Aboriginal students” said Sheila Coté-Meek, associate vice-president of academic and Indigenous programs at Laurentian University. “The gift of education is a gift of bigger and brighter dreams. Laurentian has identified the construction of the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre as a strategic priority, and Mr. Fontaine’s support of that goal makes a powerful statement about our university’s leadership role in Aboriginal education.”
During his visit, Fontaine gave a public lecture in the Alphone Raymond auditorium, and also spoke with more than a dozen Aboriginal students, Native student counselors and members of the Indigenous Student Circle.
For further information or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Tel: 705-675-1151 ext. 3445 or 1.800.263.4188 ext.3445
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