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The learning environment at FNTI is very conducive to learning, in a more traditional way. There isn't the degree of competition amongst the students. We're very helpful to each other; we chat; and we're already decent friends, in the first year. The instruction as far as flight school and academics is very good. There is a low student to instructor ratio. Our classes are very small, 6-8 students per class. It's a rounded education, not just flight school. You can go many places and go to flight school to learn how to fly a plane and get your certificate but you also learn the language here, learn how to read, do math and science as well as flight school. That's what employers are looking for; a well rounded individual that has command of the language, who can think for themselves and on top of all that, be a pilot.


Kevin Sack
Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
Graduate, Aboriginal Fixed Wing Pilot Program



The Indigenous Community Health Approaches Program not only transformed my personal eating habits but also those of my family. You will never look at food the same way. A ground-breaking course for those who want to learn more about their environment and what they can do to reclaim our natural systems. Professionally, I never thought of linking wrongdoing to diet until I took this course. It made my backyard come alive.....I had no idea how many medicinal plants were actually under my feet. This course is all about moving good energy forward towards the seventh generation. The ICHAP empowers people to live healthier lives by embracing traditional knowledge systems. The course both empowered and challenged me to live healthier by embracing traditional knowledge. The course taught me that there is indeed hope for the future because we can become healthy again if and only if we embrace traditional knowledge as passed down through our elders.

Bryan Bowers
Senior Planner, Southeastern Ontario District Health Council
2005 Graduate of Indigenous Community Health Approaches Program



For twenty years I have had the privilege of working with FNTI's program managers, faculty and staff on a variety of educational programs, projects and conferences. I can attest first hand to the highly qualified and capable staff at the institute and the culturally relevant programs they deliver. FNTI has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the field of wholistic learning, adult education and prior learning assessment (to name a few). Incredibly this year the Institute will be hosting the 19th Annual PLA Conference a feat no other organization in Canada has done. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from and to work with the staff of FNTI and I hope to continue my association with them for many years to come.

Mark Gallupe
Professor , Loyalist College



The unique delivery methods utilized by FNTI and Ryerson in developing the Public Administration Program has enabled me to continue my employment and earn an undergraduate degree in a culturally appropriate program area delivered by fantastic faculty. I view this as a positive initiative that will prove to be essential to the successful administration of First Nation governments in the future.

Joanne Smoke
Alderville First Nation
Executive Director, Ogemawahj Tribal Council
2005 Graduate, Public Administration and Governance



The Indigenous Community Health Approaches Program is the most realistic and common sense program I've taken. It promotes wellness and culture. It's great because it answers questions about our relationship to the outside world. As an Indigenous person I constantly question my purpose and this program provides me with answers. It provides me with the basis to move forward.

April White
RN Program Manager Holistic Health & Wellness Akwesasne Department of Health
2008 Graduate, Indigenous Community Health Approaches Program



Our people need the Indigenous Community Health Approaches Program to help them reconnect to the land, air and water which provide us with health. The program demonstrates how valuable those elements are to us. In the program we learn about the cultural teachings and also incorporate the western understandings. This is just like the two row wampum where we meet and exchange ideas. This creates balance and I don't think there is any other program out there for our people that provides this opportunity. In our ceremonies and from the beginning of time we have been taught how valuable our culture is and this program builds awareness among our people.

For me, when we talk about the ceremonies such as mid winter, we are able to revitalize the importance and value these ceremonies have for our health. We reach our objective of health by reconnecting to our ceremonies. Every course that we present further enhances the cultural knowledge of who we are. It makes sense because we can feel it inside us and we know that this is what is meant for us.

This program helps those who have been taken away from our culture because of colonization. They may hear stories but they don't know if they are true and through this program we have the opportunity to share the truth. This program reconnects us to our spirit and to our responsibilities as Onkwehonwe people.

The ICHAP provides a healing from within for every individual and takes them to greater depths of understanding about our culture. Our culture specifically defines values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors which lead to a healthier person.

Our students become empowered because this is what they have been looking for.

Norma General
Cultural Educator for FNTI's Indigenous Community Health Approaches Program



FNTI has attained what many aboriginal institutions are striving to develop. It is the first institution I have encountered that has successfully held the vision of and integrated Haudenosaunee ways of knowing with mainstream educational programs. This has enabled First Nations people to pursue semi-professional and professional careers within an environment that promotes their cultural heritage. For First Nations educators it has supported the hope that our future generations can be schooled in both ways of knowing, thus strengthening our societies and communities. Students leave FNTI full in the knowledge of their ancestors as well as developing mainstream skills.

Brenda LaFrance, MA, BA, RN
FNTI Curriculum Developer and Health and Environment Program Management Committee Advisor



The Kanienkehaka have always maintained their affiliation to the natural world. The Ohenton Karihwatekwen instructs and directs our thoughts to give thanks to the natural world. This Aboriginal principle and foundation for the first peoples is reinforced by one of our educational institutes, FNTI. FNTI instructs our youth to carry those principles forward and to continue supporting our foundation. Today, it is evident that human beings are stepping further from the natural cycles, placing great emphasis on the need to direct the people back to honoring their responsibilities to Mother Earth and themselves.

Education has always been used as a tool to strengthen the youth so they understand their place amongst other human beings. Our languages, culture, traditions and understanding the complexities in an ever changing environment make it easier for human beings to carry on. This is the importance of the environmental programs overseen by the Environmental Program Management Committee, FNTI personnel, and the work they perform.

David Cole, MS, BA
FNTI Environmental Program Management Committee Advisor



The high quality of education that I received in the "Indigenous Community Health Approaches" program allowed me and inspired me to open the "Ancestral Voices Healing Center" in Ohsweken. Losing this program would be a disservice to our future generations as the resources taught are extremely valuable in this important time.

Gail Whitlow
Indigenous Community Health Approaches 2006 Graduate



Consider the social costs for not supporting Aboriginal Education. FNTI provides real education for real people to create transformative change that builds a positive future for First Nations communities.

Dr. Dan Longboat, HBA, MES, PhD.
FNTI Professor, Trent University Professor



The Indigenous Community Health Approaches program is important for acquiring a better understanding of Indigenous communities and population. By understanding the past and traditional beliefs it will make it easier to pursue and complement future treatments. The nutritional teachings will allow us to provide education to the community clients to either eliminate or decrease the diseases present in the community such as diabetes. Understanding of the plants and their importance enhances our expertise in dealing with community members and clients who practice traditional medicine.
Overall the importance of having this course offered to the First Nation communities truly benefits present and future generations.

Francis Renaud, RN
Program Manager Home Care/Home Support Program, Akwesasne Department of Health
2008 Graduate, Indigenous Community Health Approaches Program



The Indigenous Community Health Approaches program is what I have been looking for. I am working for the Kahnawake School Diabetes Prevention Project as a community intervention facilitator. The courses that I am taking have given me ideas for community diabetes prevention activities such as Haudenosaunee nutritional cooking workshops geared towards teaching young mothers about how to cook our cultural foods. To take this a step farther, I have planned gardening projects that will teach people about traditional and cultural gardening practices. This is another activity that will bring health to our communities and assist in preventing diabetes and other disease. I am really enjoying the program as it is very informative about our cultural way of life.

Elaine Delaronde
Community Intervention Facilitator Kahnawake School Diabetes Prevention Project, Acupressurist
2008 Graduate, Indigenous Community Health Approaches Program



The FNTI Administration, Instructors and Mentors were very helpful in all areas of registration, course advice and content of the courses. I enjoyed attending the seminars along with classmates from First Nations from other areas of Ontario. The Public Administration and Governance course was an eye-opener to a bush-gal. I gained a great esteem for myself through the instructors and my peers who worked along side of me. Nya:weh Shogwayadisonh for the First Nations Technical Institute.

Barbara G. Miller
Community Emergency Management Officer
Six Nations Fire



Prior to beginning my degree studies, I researched several universities programs to determine the best option for me. As someone working full-time with significant work and life commitments, the convenience of working towards a bachelor's degree at my own pace is extremely beneficial. The ease of applying for the program, transferring previous post-secondary credits and the class schedule has proved to be very accommodating. The Public Administration and Governance program, offered by FNTI/Ryerson University, has knowledgeable instructors and supportive tutorial staff. My experience with FNTI has been very rewarding and an excellent learning opportunity. I am confident and motivated that my goal of completing Public Administration and Governance Degree will soon be a reality. Any funding agency who supports FNTI, in their commitment to see First Nations people further their education and succeed, should definitely invest in the future of FNTI.

Stephanie J Styres
Program Quality Manager
Grand River Employment & Training
Public Administration and Governance Student



I have been involved with First Nations Technical Institute since 2005 in their partnership with Ryerson University's Social Work program. Together we offer an advanced standing Bachelor of Social Work degree program to Aboriginal students all across Canada. The FNTI/Ryerson BSW program meets all the criteria set out by the university and the accreditation body for social work. Students in the FNTI partnership program complete the same course requirements as our advanced standing students in the mainstream BSW program at Ryerson University.

Each year we have to turn away eager students because of the limited availability in the program. There is a high demand for this program as well as all the programs offered by FNTI. As noted in the recent Statistics Canada data, the Aboriginal population is growing and this is evident in the demands placed on our institutions. To cut a program that is thriving and meeting the needs of so many Aboriginal people makes absolutely no sense.

FNTI is not just for students at Tyendinaga where FNTI is located. Students from all across Ontario and even other provinces are part of FNTI, representing multiple Nations (Mohawk, Ojibway, Cree, etc.) This year, our third cohort was at an all-time high of 35 students and we have approximately 20 students in the second cohort. They are expected to complete their degree in Fall 2008. Our first cohort of sixteen students graduated last June 2007 with their BSW degrees.

I had the opportunity to teach the second cohort of students this year. These students have such a wealth of experience from working in their communities and communities across Ontario. This degree allows them to be recognized academically for the work that they do and gain more knowledge that they can then carry back to their communities. The BSW program allows Aboriginal students the opportunity to attain positions in their communities that might typical go to non-Aboriginal people who may have the academic credentials but no experience with Aboriginal Peoples.

The students I taught are very close to completing their degree. They have worked long and hard over the past three and half years. I cannot imagine FNTI being forced to close its doors just as these students are about to complete their final courses. There are many other students in the same position in the other programs offered at FNTI. These students have invested so much time, energy and money into their education and the government will be responsible for not allowing them to do so.

The message the governments send in cutting funding that has been flowing since 1985 is that 'they' do not want us to succeed. It is a well known statistic that Aboriginal people are over-represented in the criminal justice system and under-represented in post-secondary education. This is directly attributed to colonization and oppression of Aboriginal peoples. The colonization and oppression continues. The government wears its values and beliefs on its sleeve when we see funding cuts to successful educational Aboriginal programs yet increased funding to 'our' Super Jails.

Lynn Lavallée
Assistant Professor, Ryerson University
School of Social Work, Ryerson University
(I am Algonquin, Cree and French.)



FNTI has been a great asset to the empowerment of education for thousands of First Nations people. Their programs have been a prime reason that some programs, old and new and creative work on and off reserve... Positive programs from birth to the elderly, to assisting with breaking the violence, drug and alcohol abusive behaviours. The leadership qualities within our people need to be productive within their careers, productive to all of the other nations on Turtle Island.

Liz Akiwenzie
Cape Croker First Nation
Part-time Faculty, FNTI Social Service Worker Program



Without First Nations Technical Institute I wouldn't have been able to get an education and better myself. Since taking FNTI's Social Services Diploma program I have been employed in the social services field. I am now enrolled in the Bachelor of Social Work program. This would not be possible without the format that First Nations Technical Institute uses.

Angela Sandy
Christian Island First Nation
2004 Graduate, Social Service Worker Program



FNTI provides excellent and unique services to Indigenous people. I have successfully completed my Social Service Worker Diploma because of the way the course was set up..

Irene Shakakeesic
Slate Falls First Nation
2008 Graduate, Social Service Worker Program



FNTI has changed my life by providing opportunity for higher learning in a way that meets my needs. They are an institute that understands and believes in me and shares in each of my successes. It is a place where I am able to be myself in all of my beautiful Indigenousness.

Sheila Desjarlais
Student, Public Administration and Governance Program



FNTI has been a critical force in the empowerment of Aboriginal professionals. It is at an important juncture of growth to meet the new demands of our community.

Richard Hill
Tuscarora Beaver Clan Grand River Territory, Masters in American Studies, former professor State University Buffalo NY, McMaster U, Mohawk College, Six Nations Polytechnic, currently professor FNTI "Indigenous Community Health Approaches", Program Co-coordinator FNTI "Hodinohsyo:nih Leadership" course, Chairperson for the Haudenosaunee Standing Committee on Repatriation, consultant & former director Public Program for National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC



I am a recent graduate of the Native Social Service Worker Program at FNTI and I would like to express the need to keep FNTI going and funded. It has deeply changed my life for the better. Through the healing work I have received I can be a better helper and also help my own native community and others.

David Rolfe
Citizen of the Shawnee Nation, USA
2008 Graduate, Native Social Service Worker Diploma Program



I am a graduate of First Nations Technical Institute and if it were not for FNTI, I would never have went on to post-secondary.

Amy Bernhardt
Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
2006 Graduate, Office Administration Program



I have benefited from courses I have taken in the past and have gotten a great job. FNTI has given me the valuable tools to use in the career field and it still offers future learning for all Aboriginal members. It would be a great loss if it was taken from us. This community has grown in the administration and economic development field from prior students from FNTI.

Gail Balla
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Economic Development Office
2006 Graduate, Office Administration Program



I graduated from the SSW program. It was awesome. What I liked about it was FNTI professors want to send healthy minded people out there to do counselling with Spirituality in mind. There is no mainstream Social Worker program that does that. Mainstream wants you to do your job without compassion and Spirit.

Charlotte VanEvery
Taken from petition.



FNTI's program is unique to First Nations people and at the same time is open to people across the country. It's teachings are so powerful that it has the capacity to change this world one person at a time and I believe that they should have that right, just as every other school across the country.

Sarah Brown
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte

2009 Graduate, Indigenous Community Health Approaches Program



My experience at FNTI in helping design and deliver the unique Aboriginal Media course turned out to be one of my most important life experiences. The dedicated faculty members helped me understand that instructors and students are all part of a learning and sharing process. Those who enrolled in FNTI courses included mothers and mature learners who had to make personal sacrifices to acquire the knowledge they felt was the key to a better future. Respected advisors like Elder Ernie Benedict helped us all be very proud of who we are.

If the governments of Ontario and Canada are truly serious about contributing to a better future for First Peoples, they will do everything in their power to support post-secondary facilities like First Nations Technical Institute, where everyone learns how important it is to succeed.

Maurice Switzer
Citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation,
Haudenosaunee ancestry to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
Director of Communications, Union of Ontario Indians
Editor, Anishinabek News



As a First Nation adult student I am eternally grateful for the First Nation Technical Institute in providing the means to obtain an undergraduate degree. It had become a vital component to enhance my educational background in order to advocate and provide professional services to our member First Nation families and children. They are entitled to the best services possible from qualified Aboriginal people. The staff from FNTI were a valuable resource in establishing articulation agreements in order for the students to receive the best possible courses and instructors in their pursuit of a higher level of education. The staff assisted in various ways to ensure the needs of students were met. Most important of all, the program and course content included a grounded Aboriginal worldview. Gchi-miigwetch to FNTI who are committed to influence change in a proactive respectful manner so that we as Aboriginal people can begin to deal with the oppression, poverty and on-going social issues in our communities.

Marilyn Debassige
Student, Bachelor of Social Work
M'Chigeeng First Nation



I tried for several years to get into the Public Administration and Governance Program at Ryerson but was unsuccessful. I was advised that I would need to complete a Writing Strategies course first. Every time I went to register the course was full.

Then I find out about FNTI and that they were accepting applicants for the 8th round of intake. I jumped at the chance to enroll. I have done the first round of classes and found it to be exactly what I wanted and need. The environment is friendly and very, very supportive.

When I received word about the possibility of FNTI closing their doors I began emailing as many people as I could to get the word out and ask that they forward their support by way of letters and signing the petition on the FNTI website.

I have faith that our political leaders will do the right thing and find a way to make this work. FNTI is a fantastic agency and it fully supports their students to achieve their academic dreams.

Charlene Tehkummah
Community Legal Worker
PAG Student: Level 1



In response to the current situation with FNTI, I am writing to support you in your efforts to keep the school afloat!

I have not yet begun my studies at FNTI. I am set to begin the First Nations Law Clerk program next month. I was so pleased to hear about this program. I've looked for something like it for so long! I am a criminal court worker and while I have some post-secondary education, it is not directly related to my position.

I'm feeling deflated. I was so eager to start this program and I feel like the rug is being pulled out from under me. There is such need for an institution that will education its First Nations students in ways that will support self determination. It's a necessity.

Sue MacLennan
Criminal Court Worker
Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto
First Nations Law Clerk



The FNTI program in Public Administration and Governance is great, and from personal knowledge about the program it is widely accepted amongst all First Nation communities; course subjects in the program are the ties that bind us regardless of tribal affiliation.

Peter Wynne
Moose Cree First Nation
PAG Student: Level 1



The FNTI program was the best thing that ever happened to me...without this program, I know I would not have a degree today in Public Administration and Governance. The FNTI staff and Ryerson University staff were very supportive and accommodating to all the students. It was a lot of hard work but the learning experience was so rewarding especially with the Aboriginal component. The Aboriginal component helped me identify more with each subject matter and it made learning more interesting. Another wonderful thing is the friendships that you develop over the 5 years with people from all across Ontario and the networking that continues long after the classes end. I will always cherish these wonderful memories. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone interested in furthering their studies at the university level.

Heather Pelky
Serpent River First Nation
PAG Degree Graduate: 2006



My experience as an FNTI student was more than I'd ever hoped it could be. The personnel were professional and the instructors extremely knowledgeable, passionate about their topic, and very dedicated. I would highly recommend this program to any one looking for an education with a difference and quality instructors. The experience will not only benefit your resume but also your self confidence. I never thought I'd be able to complete it, but I put my heart into it and through sheer perseverance successfully completed the entire program.

Lorna Bell
Garden River First Nation
PAG Degree Graduate: 2007



FNTI has formed a partnership with Ryerson allowing Aboriginal students the opportunity to receive university accreditation through a distance delivery mode. Many Aboriginal students are in communities that are so remote that the opportunity for a university education is not available and FNTI has assisted and come up with creative solutions to meeting the needs of many different Aboriginal students while allowing them to continue working while progressing towards obtaining a degree. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK FNTI

Laurie Marsden
Alderville First Nation
PAG Graduate: Level 1 2001



FNTI provided me with a great opportunity to learn while working. The course work was challenging and gave me the skills to enhance myself politically as a councillor and administratively at the office. Interaction with other First Nation students created a network that will continue to be a resource.

Janice Doxtator
PAG Graduate: Level 1 2001



I have enjoyed this program, Level 1: Public Administration and Governance with Ryerson University. Years ago, I attended Lakehead University and was totally lost and had no support, no mentorship. Even as I looked around for help the responses were dry and in class was very sterile. I did not know how to write an essay when I started but after taking Eichorn's class, I learned a great deal. I learned more when I took an online course and certainly more with Wright's class in financial management.

All courses were great and the instructors were all terrific. I learned from Amber Crowe about the real issues FN face concerning self government, learned how to lobby from Dan Gaspe, learned a great deal from Peter Constantinou and certainly from Carla Cassidy who was very gracious with us. (She could have dinged us for plagiarism if she had wanted because many of us did not know how to cite properly.)

I think a guide should be available at the start of the program as an introduction then get into more specifics of essay writing and English via Eichorn's class. Other than that, it's an excellent program. It's a shame many students all over have not been sold into getting in this program.

Vincent Ostberg
Bearskin Lake First Nation
PAG Student: Level 1



The unique delivery method of FNTI for the Public Administration and Governance Degree program has made it possible for me to realize my dreams of achieving a degree while I continue to work full time. Without FNTI I would never have been able to afford to see my dreams within reach. Without them I would never have loved school as much as I do. Thank you FNTI.

Veronica Powless
Admin Asst to Director of Finance
Six Nations
PAG Student: Level 3



I am writing this letter to support FNTI and would like to point out there will be a serious ramification if this facility does not receive the much needed funding and support from the government and various organizations. The loss of this institution would be devastating, not only to the current students and administration but to the future generations of Indigenous students. There needs to be support and long term funding available in order for their programs to continue to succeed and engage new generations of Indigenous students and their communities and families.

I would first like to articulate that FNTI has been an excellent teaching institution that encompasses western academic standards with Indigenous worldviews and knowledge. I have taught at various Institutes that have tried to bridge the gap between Indigenous student's knowledge and western academic learning. It is in my opinion that FNTI has actually successfully accomplished this major feat. The students at FNTI are hard working adult learners with full-time jobs and families, who are able to balance their hectic and busy lives with a passion for learning and succeeding in their current programs. These students would not be able to continue or participate in the current academic structure because it would mean they would have to move to part time or quit their jobs and possibility move away from their communities. As various research studies have shown most Indigenous people do not succeed when removed from their supports and family members. Therefore, to continue to build on past and current promises of promoting healthy Indigenous communities, it should be honored by keeping FNTI operating and fully funded so our current and new generation of students have the support and knowledge to make themselves and their communities a stronger and better place to be.

I would be happy to provide any documentation to support the claims put forth in this letter. I am in total support of FNTI succeeding and continuing to grow.

Julie Nagam
PhD. Candidate
Faculty, FNTI/Ryerson Bachelor of Social Work Program



I have been participating in the language program on and off for years. It has helped me to speak Mohawk at the dinner table of friends who are trying to raise their children with as much of the language as possible. It has enabled me to include Mohawk quotations in a book I have been editing on traditional teachings. Several of the program's staff have helped immensely with this project. In summary, I believe the language program is essential for keeping this beautiful language and its unique worldview alive. Nyawen/I thank you.

Lesley Forrester
Former student, Mohawk Language Program



I have been a planning member of the Tsi Tyonnheht Onkwawenna Language Circle in Tyendinaga within the past five years and have also participated in Mohawk language courses in the evenings and on weekdays. For me, the courses the program has offered have meant:
- The mending link of a broken chain caused by the loss of Kanien'keha during my parent's generation and it's revitalization during my children's generation.
- The augmentation of family-based activities, enabling me to sit side by side with my son in class to focus on our identity as Rotinosionni.
- First-hand observation of a community in action, taking carefully meditated measures to ensure that our children are raised to speak, laugh, play, grow and thrive with our own language in their lives on a daily basis - whether it be on in a title, on a traffic sign, in a prayer or in a song they've written.

I encourage whole-heartedly, the continued services offered by Tsi Tyonnheht Onkwawenna.

Jameson C. Brant (former student)
Coordonnatrice - Programme de formation en pratiques muséales destiné aux Autochtones, Société du Musée canadien des civilisations
Coordinator - Aboriginal Training Program in Museum Practices
Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation



The most important factor in my decision to enter the program was the on-site work placements.
Receiving work experience in actual media environments, plus a post-secondary education, greatly benefited my career in journalism. I learned a vast amount by working at a publishing company, radio station, and a broadcasting company all in Toronto.

Jeremy Brascoupe
Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, Quebec
Jeremy is a 2005 Indigenous Communications: Journalism honors graduate and is working for CBC Sports in Toronto.



I've always wanted to be a pilot…I've very goal oriented and I want to help First Nations' communities. I have a plan to help many people and one way to do that is to fly to many communities. I want to share the opportunities I have had…FNTI was very appealing to me because it is First Nations' owned and operated. The instructors are from First Nations. The safety record of the school and the quality of the instruction was also highly recommended. There's one-on-one instruction and everyone wants everyone else to succeed. It's really great…. For First Nations people, there are many, smaller First Nation' airlines with job opportunities and opportunities with larger airlines committed to being equal opportunity employers… It's very challenging. Everyday is different. I'm never going to get bored [in this career.]

Gerry Roque
2007 Aboriginal Fixed Wing - Pilot Program Graduate



There is a real motivating focus here [FNTI], where staff and instructors really keep the students motivated to keep going…it is a tough, tough program to get through, the commercial pilots license. It all falls back to the one on one attention they [the students] get…something I'm not sure they'd get at any other mainstream institution.

Ted Teeple
Ted is a 2001 graduate of the Aboriginal Fixed Wing Pilot Program. He was a flight Instructor at FNTI for 3 years and is now a First Officer for Shautaugua Airlines in Indianapolis, Indiana.



FNTI students are the most engaged group of students I've ever taught in my 25 years of university teaching. They are committed to learning and to returning to their communities with their newly acquired skills and knowledge so that they may contribute to collective life.

Mike Burke
Department of Politics and Public Administration
Ryerson University
Instructor, FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration & Governance Program



Hello! My name is Mariah Wesley. I am currently enrolled in a program called Office Administration that is offered through FNTI. I feel that FNTI should be funded because of its success over the past years. It had been a great benefit to a lot of students that were and are enrolled in the programs. Personally, I am really disappointed in the cutting of funds knowing that the program is really enhancing me with my work. The program has given me an opportunity to update myself with today's technology as I have been out of school for a long time. In conclusion, I hope the government makes a wise decision, so that the Aboriginal students are entitled to receive equal education just like anyone in this country.

Mariah Wesley
Kasechewan First Nation
Student, FNTI Office Administration Program



FNTI has made it possible for me to attain a post-secondary education, with an Aboriginal context, that I can apply anywhere in the field I work. Thank you FNTI!!

Debra Campbell
Manager, Professional Development Unit
National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association



My learning experience with FNTI has been invaluable. The unique delivery format allows me to continue to be employed full-time and still be home with my family. I have developed many friendships with students, staff and faculty. It is such a benefit as a student to have a personal face-to-face relationship with the faculty and not be just a student number. Although I cannot wait to graduate from the program, I know I will miss the experiences FNTI has provided me.

Janna Solomon
Chippewas of Nawash First Nation
Level 3 PAG student



Being part of the Program Management Committee of the FNTI - Ryerson University Social Work Program, I was most impressed by the high standard of curriculum development that constituted the planning for courses to be delivered through this off-campus program. In addition, the instructors that were selected to teach in this program were either experienced university professors, or they came highly recommended by First Nations communities as experienced Elders or Traditional Teachers. The result was a high quality of education that met university standards. Such a conclusion was confirmed by a program evaluation that examined the educational standards of this program.

Furthermore, after graduating with a university Bachelor's degree in social work, a number of these graduates applied and were successful in being admitted into graduate studies. Feedback from a graduate instructor indicated that these students had received an excellent academic preparation for university studies at the Master's level.

Ben Carniol
Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University



I routinely tell anyone who will listen that being part of the learning
process that is FNTI has been life altering for me in a multitude of ways, a
myriad of levels. Invariably, I leave these sessions with the conviction
that social justice is not a distant goal to be reached at some far off
moment, but a daily process that is a choice we all can and must make in
every moment of our lives. It goes without saying that I learn more from the
experience than I "teach".

Jacquie Chic
Instructor, FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration & Governance (PAG) Program



My experience with FNTI has been nothing but wonderful, without the format that allows mature students to go to school but yet continue to have full time jobs I would not be enrolled. The feedback and the mentoring have also been invaluable and have made my education new and exciting.
Thank you FNTI.

Byron Millette
PAG Student: Level two
Chippewas of Nawash



I want to say that I have enjoyed attending the first week of classes at FNTI. I have attended a mainstream college program and find FNTI to be different. The staff on site certainly provided a supportive, encouraging, and learning environment for the students. I am so looking forward to returning for each session. The program is uniquely culturally-based and focused. In the short week I've attended, I learnt so much from the instructors who presented material with Native perspective.

It would be so disappointing to see FNTI shut down due to lack of funding. I support keeping FNTI operational. I believe they have a great vision for the education of our future generations.

Edith Whiskeychan
Muskrat Dam First Nation
Assistant Direct Services Supervisor
BSW Program
Cohort 3



What I got from the program was myself. It really helped me understand where I come from. ..I am teaching what I have learned...I find that's the key because children are so open-minded and open to learning all this knowledge….and that's the key to change - the children. That's my goal right there.

Wentahawi Dione Elijah
Kahnawake Mohawk Territory
2008 Graduate, Social Service Worker Program



FNTI has built on my capacities to become more conscientious about today's political issues.

Mary-Anne Hoggarth
SAR Aboriginal Policy Analyst
Endangered Species Act Implementation Team
Ministry of Natural Resources
PAG Student: Level one



I have had the privilege to be involved as an instructor for the First Nations Technical Institute, through its partnership with Ryerson University, since 2005. At that time, I worked closely with the management team to develop a course for students in the Bachelors of Social Work program. The course ran successfully in both 2005 and 2007, and the first cohort celebrated the conferring of their degrees in 2006.

This ceremony marked the culmination of a tremendous effort not only on the part of the individual students, but it also represents a testament to the dedication and capability of the entire community that has supported the success of First Nations people in the field of social work. That community has its base and solid foundation in the visionary and inspired FNTI programming that has been so effective in building bridges between traditional values and practices, and the challenges and benefits of higher education in Canada.

Throughout my involvement with FNTI, I have witnessed the respectful and knowledge-based approach of the management staff; and have seen how it maintains a standard for excellence and competence for its students. I have also witnessed the capacity for learning, for integrating, and for honouring of deep human values, that is demonstrated by the students of FNTI when they have been surrounded and supported by a community that affirms their identities and respects their social location.

FNTI is an exemplary educational institution. The need for its presence and expertise is unquestionable. Its value to both First Nations and to Canada will be felt for generations to come.

Maria Losue
Instructor, FNTI/Ryerson BSW Program



I am in the process of instructing an English course through the joint First Nations Technical Institute and Ryerson University BSW program. The experience of teaching within this program has allowed me to witness first-hand the impact of this educational setting on the students from various First Nation communities throughout the province of Ontario. FNTI allows access to fundamental academic and work skills training for a population of Canadians who are, more often than not, left by the wayside of traditional institutional post-secondary education. FNTI also fosters a nurturing educational community that reaches the true essence of a learning environment.

It would be a great travesty to loose this idealistic model of post-secondary academic training. Not only would this deter an innovative method of educational application, but it would also hamper the success of the First Nation students. The students that I have had an experience with are not only eager to learn but also committed to applying their educational skill within the Canadian workforce. To deny the students this program is to deny education from those who seek it. This, in my view, is the greatest horror of all horrors.

I sincerely hope that the funding model for FNTI is reconsidered and that the programs FNTI provide will not come to an end.

Anne E. Dollack
Sessional Instructor
FNTI/Ryerson University



The FNTI/Ryerson University Public Administration and Governance program has allowed me to accomplish my life-long goal for a university degree. It has also enhanced my professional growth and has contributed to my career in Health Services. Personally, I have acquired a level of education and sense of pride that my family will be proud of. They have supported my efforts since Intake 1!
Thank you FNTI/Ryerson! You have made my dream a reality.

Brenda Roy
PAG Student: Level Three
M'Chigeeng First Nation



The FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration and Governance Program gave me a better understanding of the Aboriginal Government and Six Nations Council. It gave me confidence and inspired me for a better job.
The Level 1 Certificate in Public Administration looked very nice on my resume. Seriously, it assisted in my research and writing of proposals and in my job. The homework gave me experience with setting deadlines and sticking to them.

Barbara Miller
Six Nations of the Grand River



The FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration and Governance Program has confirmed that I have been on the right track in terms of understanding policies and program administration and boosted my confidence in knowing that I have what it takes to succeed and be an effective manager/leader not just at work but in my personal life as well.
The staff and faculty are very professional and knowledgeable and the course format is challenging but it set up in a way that you can still work and learn at the same time.
Go for it and believe that you can succeed!


Peggy Claveau
Mattagami First Nation



The FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration and Governance Program has given me the courage and the skills needed to work towards addressing the social ills of my community - from a political/social perspective. I have been working towards identifying partners in the community, building my team, writing proposals, analyzing social issues and inspiring others to take action against social injustice. Because of my FNTI experience, I know that I can lead a project, I know that I can write well, and I know that I was born to advocate for those less fortunate than myself. Without my training with FNTI, I would not have honed my skills to the level that I have, nor would I have understood the political structures to institute change.

I have gained confidence in my own skills and my own ability to be a leader. I had been a typical "Rex Girl" prior to attending FNTI. I believed that the world revolved around my reserve (Six Nations). I have been forced to drive through Toronto many times, and I have had the opportunity to see other First Nations communities other than my own. I no longer take for granted the things that Six Nations has, nor do I believe us to be the most "evolved" community.

I would, without hesitation, recommend the FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration program to anyone interested in helping their community. Without this training, your hands are tied.

This program is well-managed and the learners are supported admirably by the FNTI staff and Ryerson University. I feel like I am a part of something really special… a program that is making positive change in so many ways….

Paula Diane Hill
Six Nations



The FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration and Governance Program has helped me see the big picture on what we need to do as First Nations People. It has helped me to try and find out as much as I can about myself, community and larger nation.

It is very useful and current information. I really like hearing about other communities and sharing what we are all going through whether we are from north, south, east or west. We are like a family and have gone through some good and not so good times together. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in First Nations issues.

Jane Commanda
Nipissing First Nation



The FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration and Governance program provided me with the capability to utilize tools to conduct research for a project on the barriers to becoming an aboriginal foster parent. This program also gave me the confidence to hold consultation sessions, focus groups and one-on-one interviews with clients. The knowledge I gained was so well rounded in every aspect but I really liked the policy development and the political aspect of the program.

I would recommend FNTI Public Administration over other Public Administration programs because the cultural component, content, opening and closing, locations, FNTI Staff, professors and Ryerson University.

To potential funders, this program is the stepping stone for most Aboriginal students, the program is student driven and everything is related to Aboriginal content.

Heather Pelky
Serpent River First Nation



I have acquired a great deal of knowledge and skills directly from the courses I have taken through the FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration and Governance Program. I can and do use these skills on a daily basis in my work. I have also learned a great deal of knowledge specifically about current and historical issues affecting Aboriginal and First Nations peoples.

I take great pride in my progress and success in this program. It serves as a reminder of what I know I can do what I can achieve.
This knowledge and this experience will last a lifetime!

Janna Solomon
Chippewas of Nawash (Cape Croker)



The FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration and Governance Program has my personal growth off the charts in all areas of study. Also - the intense mode, video-conference delivery format has given me the opportunity to pursue a University degree that would not otherwise be possible. The sky is the limit.

To learners - it's worth the time and effort! To funders - Graduates of this program that pursue a role in leadership/government in First Nation territories of organizations will have phenomenal insight and knowledge to better advance First Nation issues.

Linda Parker
Six Nations



The FNTI/Ryerson Public Administration and Governance Program is set up so that it's "achievable". Everyone leads busy lives with many demands for their time, I find FNTI/Ryerson has set this particular program that you're able to learn outside the conventional learning system, and learn effectively. You attend classes with peers with similar interests, but also peers that contribute from their personal/work life that also brings great value to the learning process. It has a great mentoring system and offers the best support system.

I know from others that have taken this course they have used it for a solid springboard to go on and achieve a law degree, others have gone on to be Regional Director's with Chiefs of Ontario. I think graduates from this course can look at the higher end jobs within PLO's and any other government structures.
What you learn today, will have a positive impact on generation that follow.

Mary-Anne Hoggarth
Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories