OTTAWA — The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada congratulates National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo on his re-election at the 33rd annual general assembly of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).
A hereditary chief of British Columbia’s Ahousaht First Nation, National Chief Atleo was first elected chief of the AFN in 2009, and since then has worked to advance the economic conditions and educational opportunities available for Aboriginals in Canada.
“National Chief Atleo has demonstrated inspired leadership in addressing educational issues among Aboriginal youth — the fastest-growing demographic in Canada,” says Christine Tausig Ford, vice-president of AUCC. “Canada’s universities have worked in close partnership with National Chief Atleo and the AFN to enhance university programs and services for Aboriginals in Canada. We look forward to continuing to work with him and the AFN in this critical area.”
National Chief Atleo, who holds a master’s degree in education and is chancellor of Vancouver Island University, has made Aboriginal youth a key priority during his three years as national chief.
There are more than 560,000 Aboriginals under the age of 24 across Canada, yet the university completion rate for the Aboriginal population overall is 8 percent — a third of the national average. Canada’s universities are striving to address the gap through the development of new campus facilities and programs to support Aboriginal students, and to create initiatives to encourage Aboriginal children, youth and their parents to consider university as a possibility.
“As a society, we all need to work together to help fully engage Aboriginal youth in higher education,” says Ms. Tausig Ford “Not only is it the right thing to do, but our labour market needs the talents of university-educated Aboriginals in Canada.”
For more information or interview opportunities:
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Telephone: 613-563-1236 ext. 306