The University of Alberta has appointed Richard Price as the first director of Native Studies, which will begin offering courses at the U of A on Native studies and the Cree language, in September.
The School of Native Studies has been discussed by the university since 1972, when the Indian Association of Alberta proposed the establishment of such a unit the U of A Senate.
"I'm excited and looking forward to the challenge" said Price, who begins his job on July 1. His appointment runs for five years.
The priorities, Price has set, are to open talks with Native communications and to begin work on the further development of a Native Studies program.
"The priorities are to obtain approval of a degree of Native Studies program and to have the teaching and research firmly established," said Price.
"I'm hoping to open up avenues of communications with Native people," added Price.
Price has been working as a consultant to Indian bands and organizations for a number of years. He once was director of the Aboriginal and Treaty Rights Research (TARR) department of the Indian Association of Alberta, between 1973 and 1976.
One of the TARR publications on Treaty rights called "The Spirit of Alberta Indian Treaties, was edited by Price in 1979.
Price had been the center of a controversy around a leaked government document, regarding the proposed cuts to Native programs, by the Neilsen Task Force on govern-ment spending in 1985.
Before that, he was director of Program and Policy Consultation with the Indian and Inuit Affairs and held senior positions with the Alberta Region of the Indian and Inuit Affairs ministry.
Two Cree language courses and two introductory courses on Native studies will be offered by the School of Native Studies, in its first year of operation, beginning in the fall.
Emily Hunter of Saddle Lake has been hired to teach the Cree language courses. Hunter had taught Cree at the Blue Quills educational centre and also worked with the Cree language program of the Saddle Lake primary school.
The School of Native Studies will focus on academic programs, while students services will be the responsibility of the Dean of Students.
It is hoped that each year the School will expand its course offering and eventually a bachelor's degree in Native Studies.
The School will also be involved in research, with special attention given to language and land use of the Indian, Inuit and Metis people of the Canadian west and north.
University outreach, credit and non-credit programs to outlying community will also be handled by the School of Native Studies.
The degree offering and the course expansion will depend on when the Alberta government gives accreditation approval and releases more funds to the U of A, for the School.
Another staff addition at the university, is the appointment of Doreen Richardson, who will be Community Liaison officer with the Native Student Services of the U of A.
Her duties will be to work with Native communities, keeping them informed of university opportunities to their people.
Richardson has a B.Ed. and taught Native studies at the elementary grades in the Calgary school system.