OTTAWA - Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl says when a province pulls funding for a university, that's a signal to Ottawa that it might want to do the same.
The federal government says it won't renew about $7.3 million in funding to the First Nations University of Canada.
Strahl said Tuesday his department has been frustrated for years by continuing concerns about governance and finances at the Regina-based university.
But the minister told a news conference in Ottawa that when the Saskatchewan government cut $5.2 million in funding to the university last week, Ottawa was left with few options.
The federal contribution accounted for about 30 per cent of the school's total budget.
There have been allegations of financial mismanagement as well as political interference by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, which oversees the school.
The chief of the Assembly of First Nations said the troubles at the university are "disappointing," but did not condemn anyone for their decisions.
In comments after a speech to the Canadian Club in Ottawa, Shawn Atleo said the future of the university is in the hands of its new board as well as the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
"It's going to be up to the board and up to the leadership in Saskatchewan. It's an institute that's been around for 30 years, and it's disappointing to see where things have come from."
The AFN has offered its support to the Saskatchewan federation, he added.
Atleo said the funding problems in Regina highlight the need for First Nations and all levels of government to focus on improving education for the growing First Nations population.