The Post-Secondary Student Support Program funds higher education for status Indian and Inuit individuals. Since the 1970’s, program administration has devolved from the federal government to the Band level. From 1989, federal changes to the PSSSP have restricted length of funded study, imposed performance measures and a funding cap and implemented block funding mechanisms. This allowed the federal government to curtail costs while seemingly increasing First Nations’ autonomy and resources. Faced with funding restrictions, rising numbers of eligible students, increasing tuition and education expenses, First Nations have developed Local Operating Policies to guide student sponsorship decisions since, increasingly, not all students can be funded. Based on an analysis of federal policies, First Nations’ LOPs, and key informant interviews, this research uses critical discourse analysis to examine how colonialism, neo-liberalism, and patriarchy structure these processes of resource distribution and employ techniques of governmentality in the constitution of Aboriginal individuals and nations.
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