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Canadian Universities Strive to Include Indigenous Cultures – New York Times

November 17, 2013

TORONTO — Max FineDay, the first indigenous president of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union in the school’s 106-year history, jokingly likens himself to another North American trailblazer — President Obama, the first African-American president of the United States.

“It’s really weird to be a role model,” said the fourth-year politics student from the Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan, who was elected to represent the 17,000 undergraduates at the university, which is in Saskatoon. “My role models are people like Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Canada.”

Although he was elected to his position by the entire student body, Mr. FineDay says that being an indigenous university student still has its challenges.

“Absolutely, there’s still racism here, just like there is everywhere,” he said. “A lot of students come to university never having met an Aboriginal student; they’ve just heard the racist comments their uncles make at family events.

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