The Office of First Nation & Metis Relations is responsible to the Vice-Provost of Student Affairs and works with communities to explore opportunities to collaborate and work cooperatively to identify initiatives that will strengthen the University’s commitment to Aboriginal communities.
In 2003, the University of Saskatchewan created a key position for the Special Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Initiatives. In conjunction with Colleges, Departments and Units, this position has identified, initiated and developed many university-wide initiatives that support the engagement of Aboriginal peoples on and off campus. In 2010, the Special Advisor to the President along with the Aboriginal Engagement working group initiated the establishment of the Office of First Nation and Metis Relations.
This office is situated at the English River First Nation Business Complex located on Highway #11 south of Saskatoon.
Aboriginal Public Service Executive Series
The Aboriginal Public Service Executive Series is designed to provide professional development to enhance knowledge and skills within the Aboriginal public service. This program began in March 2015 and is open to Aboriginal leadership, public servants and community members.Some of the workshops are designed to include the participation of senior high school students.
Graduate Certificate and Master's Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization (MILR) - University of Victoria [UVic] and University of Saskatchewan [USask] - Memorandum of Agreement
In the summer of 2015, the Office of First Nation and Metis Relations, U of S, initiated discussions with UVic to deliver the Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization program in Saskatchewan. In the spring of 2016, the University of Victoria was granted an exemption from the Degree Authorization Act of Saskatchewan to deliver the MILR program in Saskatchewan. Following the exemption, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between UVic and U of S. The program began in July 2016 and was completed in June 2018. The MILR program is delivered through the Office of First Nation and Metis Relations at the English River First Nation Business Complex in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Currently, the MILR program at UVic is the only graduate program in Indigenous Language Revitalization in Canada. The program was delivered in Saskatchewan “to ensure a generation of language experts will have the language and academic skills to participate and lead successful language revitalization efforts in Indigenous communities, and to develop language scholars who will have the expertise to support post-secondary instruction in the revitalization, recovery and maintenance of Indigenous Languages” (University of Victoria, 2016).
The following are biographies of the students who were admitted in the Graduate Certificate and Master’s Degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization (MILR) program.
Workshops and presentations
Our office offers a number of presentations and cultural workshops to First Nation and Métis groups. Contact us directly if you would like to arrange a workshop. Below are a few of the topics we have covered in the past:
- Medicinal Plant preparation and traditional healing in First Nation & Metis
- Working with Indigenous people in the health care system - providing insights to interactions with Indigenous people and the healthcare system.
- Traditional food preparation of First Nations & Metis people
- Traditional food teachings - food security in First Nation & Metis communities; nourishment & gathering practices
- Role of Traditional First Nations Male
- Cradle Board Teachings - demonstrations using a cradleboard to teach about parental responsibilities
- Traditional First Nations Plains Ceremonies & Protocols (Tobacco teachings, Pipe ceremonies, feasts, horse dance, water ceremony and smudging ceremonies)
- Powwow 101- the history of Powwow, song, dance, regalia and protocols
- Jigging and Fiddling 101 – workshop on song and dance
- Traditional fine arts teachings - quill work, drum and rattle making & tipi making
- Storytelling (November-March) - Sharing traditional pedagogy of the Nahkawe people of eastern Saskatchewan
Land and language
- Traditional land use knowledge of First Nations & Metis people
- Indigenous Language Revitalization workshop
- Demographics of Saskatchewan, Treaties of Canada, First Nations & Metis history
Youth leadership workshops
This workshop supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action #89 'to support reconciliation by ensuring that policies to promote physical activity as a fundamental element of health and well-being and to reduce barriers to sports participation, increase the pursuit of excellence in sport, and build capacity in the Canadian sport system, are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples.'
Working with the Office of Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Vice-Chief Robert (Bob) Merasty, the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations hosted a First Nation Metis Youth leadership workshop on Saturday, June 17, 2017. The workshop was hosted to promote healthy lifestyle choices and to encourage First Nation and Metis youth to engage and connect with Aboriginal role models. Two key motivational speakers, Jeremy Thompson of the Saskatchewan Rush and Michael Linklater of Team Saskatoon, set the tone of the workshop. Instructional and interactive sessions were held in Lacrosse (Jeremy Thompson, Saskatchewan Rush #74 Transition), Basketball (Michael Linklater, Team Saskatoon 3-on-3; International Basketball Federation ), Traditional games (Lamarr Oksasikewiyin), Agility (David Mercier), Yoga (Lauren Scruton), Nutrition (Carlin Nordstrom).
Michael Linklater: Ranked the #1 Basketball Player in North, South and Central American and #7 Player in the world for the Federation of International Basketball Association [FIBA] 3-on-3 league. Michael Linklater has taken basketball to new heights.
Jeremy Thompson: Jeremy Thompson is a professional Lacrosse player who plays for the Saskatchewan rush (NLL), Chesapeake Bayhawks (MLL), and the Iroquois National Team. Jeremy grew up in Onondaga Nation, and attended Lafayette High School and helped them to two state championships. Jeremy was selected to be an Under Armour All-American and US Lacrosse All-American in High School. In the 2003 U-19 World Lacrosse Championships Jeremy was named to the All-World Team.
Quote from community chaperone and Elder:
“Thank you so much, Joan, for giving these children an opportunity to see role models and motivational speakers. They got to see things they never see, they are so happy and their laughter is contagious. We are waiting for our food and they are in no hurry to leave”.
U of S symbols
The Office of First Nation and Metis Relations with teams from Marketing and Communications and Media Productions worked in collaboration with First Nation and Metis elders to identify a variety of significant Aboriginal symbols representing the First Nations and Metis cultures of Saskatchewan.
Ragtime Annie fiddle music - first song
Performed by Henry E. Gardipy lead singer of the The Gardipys (see bio below)
University of Saskatchewan - Inter Tribal Song - second song
Perfomed by Wild Horse Drum Group (see bio below)
Inter Tribal Song
Bio for Henry E. Gardipy – Henry E. Gardipy is from Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation and was born on April 29, 1949. Henry grew up on Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation and attended the day school on the reserve. His parents are the late Gabriel Gardipy and Marie (Fleury) Gardipy. He grew up in a family of ten children – four boys and six girls. Henry spent his younger years working on the family farm where his older siblings taught him how to play the fiddle and the guitar.
He is the lead singer for the performing group called “The Gardipys” who have travelled across Canada performing at many community and family functions. They have recorded a number of CD’s and their music can be found on YouTube.
University of Saskatchewan Honor Song
Following traditional First Nations protocol, the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations approached the late Tyrone W. Tootoosis to compose an Honor song specifically for the University of Saskatchewan. The Honor song that was composed references “A Treaty Right to Education”.
Recorded by late Tyrone W. Tootoosis and Wild Horse Drum Group
kīhci kiskinohamāsowin - Higher Education
kīhci kiskinohamātōwikamik - An Institution of Higher Learning
ē-kī-asotamākawiyāhk - A Treaty Right & Promise to Education
sākowātētān - Let us give a War Cry to Celebrate and Rejoice
pasikō ācihowin- Our Individual and Collective Journeys in Seeking Independence
Tyrone Tootoosis continued his spiritual journey on February 12, 2017 riding a comet during the full snow moon. Tyrone is survived by his wife, Winona Wheeler and their blended family of 10 children.
He preferred to organize powwows, not star in them. He could often be found in a quiet spot offstage, smiling as the drummers, singers, and dancers took to the floor. Tootoosis was a key figure in the Indigenous performing arts, but also in Cree linguistics and history. Like his father, Wilfred, Tootoosis, he spent tens of thousands of hours sitting with elders, recording their stories. Tyrone spent time translating and transcribing these stories to preserve generations of knowledge. He said he wasn’t a storyteller but rather a “story keeper.” He played a key role in the development of Wanuskewin Heritage Park. He played Chief Poundmaker, a distant relative, in a number of feature films.
His First Nations Accountability Coalition pushed for ethical governance at all levels. After years of meetings and document submissions, he convinced the federal government to alter the way it teaches tourists and schoolchildren about Indigenous-settler relationships at Fort Battleford. He lived by the words of his grandfather and FSIN co-founder John B. Tootoosis who repeatedly told him, “You don’t have a minute to waste.”
Wild Horse Drum Group are a Saskatchewan First Nations drum group. The lead singer for Wild Horse is Henry “Boss” Gardipy Jr. They have travelled extensively across North America hosting and competing at powwows. They have won two North American world class championships - one at the Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the other at the Schemitzun Powwow in Hartford, Connecticut.
Wild Horse Drum Group was nominated for a Juno Award in 2011. In 2004, on a collaboration album with the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow they won a Grammy Award. Wild Horse Drum Group have also won an Aboriginal Canadian Music Award.
Their latest album can be accessed on Facebook under the group name “Wildhorse Singers & Friends"