First Nations University of Canada opened its new Regina building in 2003. ((CBC))

Amidcriticisms thatpoliticianshave too big a rolerunning First Nations University of Canada, Lyle Whitefish has stepped down as the chair of FNUC's board of governors.

Whitefish isthe vice-chiefof the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations responsible for education.

In a news release Tuesday, Whitefish said his resignation from the board of governors should help the Regina-based university attain institutional autonomy.

This spring, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) put the university on probation and said it would cancel itsmembership unless changes are made to the way it's governed.

Specifically, the AUCC was adamant that the FSIN vice-chief responsible for education should not be the board chair or even on the board.

It saidthat situationis as unacceptable ashaving a provincial education minister sit as chair of any otheruniversity board.

If the university got kicked out of AUCC, it could drastically affect how much money it gets from the federal government.

FNUC has been in financialdifficulty in recent months and has been lobbying the federal government for an extra $1.7 million to pay its bills.

In a news release, Whitefish said he will continue to push for money for the university, through his position with the FSIN.

Whitefish said he is also resigning from FNUC's board.

In place of Whitefish, co-chair Clarence Bellegarde will immediately become FNUC's board chair. Bellegarde is the chief of Little Black Bear First Nation in southern Saskatchewan.