USask Indigenous Community
Together, we are uplifting Indigenization to a place of prominence at the University of Saskatchewan.
Standing Together in Grief
The University of Saskatchewan is deeply saddened to learn of the discovery of mass and unmarked burial sites of children at former Residential School sites across Canada - a painful reminder of the historic injustices perpetrated against Indigenous peoples. Support resources are available on campus and in the community.
Reconciliation and Indigenization
To support USask's vision to be an outstanding institution of research, learning, knowledge-keeping, reconciliation, and inclusion with and by Indigenous peoples and communities the University Plan 2025 weaves USask’s commitment to Indigenization and reconciliation throughout its many goals
USask leadership including the President and Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement encourages engagement and provides guidance so that the whole USask community is unified in working towards and contributing to Indigenization and Reconciliation initiatives.
In 2015, USask hosted the first national forum on “Building Reconciliation” in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report.
We continue to dedicate resources to improve student access and support, and to ensure that all Indigenous students who aspire to be at USask have that opportunity.
Along with the development of a northern strategy, the new Prince Albert Campus reaffirms the university’s commitment to Indigenous and northern education and allows for more opportunity for Indigenous students to learn from or close to the communities in which they live.
Pathway and bridging programs such as the Indigenous Student Achievement Pathways and the Indigenous Engineering Student Initiative are now provided for Indigenous students as they join the university and many of our professional programs ensure spots for Indigenous applicants.
Self-declared Indigenous students
Indigenous student enrolment. Among the highest percentage of the overall student population of any university in Canada.
Programs with an Indigenous focus
Teaching and Learning
USask colleges and schools are committed to incorporating Indigenous knowledges and experiences into their many degree programs.
Non-Indigenous students have experiences grounded in Indigenous world views. Beginning this year, all degree students in Arts and Science (almost half our student population) will fulfill an Indigenous learning requirement.
The Indigenous Voices Program and the Gwenna Moss Centre team provide strategic and constructive support to academic leaders, faculty, and staff who are looking to develop or enhance their Indigenization initiatives including building a curriculum that is more supportive of reconciliation.
Supported by the Office of the Vice-Provost of Indigenous Engagement, the university helps retain our talented Indigenous faculty and staff by creating retention plans and strategies, and by ensuring that the new University Standards for promotion and tenure acknowledge Indigenous scholarship. Over the past five years, 23 highly regarded Indigenous faculty have been hired, for a total of 45 working at the university.
The Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre provides an intercultural gathering place that brings together the teachings, traditions and cultures of the peoples of Saskatchewan and allows for mutual learning opportunities for students and faculty.
Engagement and Cultural Connections
Culture, heritage, individuality and identity are celebrated in our USask community. USask strives to provide experiential cultural and language opportunities for all students, staff, faculty, and leadership and create systems and practices that are respectful of the diverse Indigenous cultural groups.
The Gordon Oakes Red Bear Centre houses both the Indigenous Students' Union, Indigenous students working to unify, engage and advocate for Indigenous students, the Aboriginal Students’ Centre (ASC) and the Office of First Nation & Metis Relations.
The ASC facilitates social and cultural programming for students, often open to our whole USask community, including smudging ceremonies, Elders and Knowledge Keepers programming, pipe ceremonies, sweat lodge ceremonies and traditional crafting workshops and activities. The ASC also provides academic and personal development support and recognition events such as Graduation Powwow and Indigenous Achievement Week.
USask's annual Graduation Powwow attracts thousands and celebrates the academic success of Métis, First Nations and Inuit graduates from USask and local high schools.
Research and Scholarly Resources
Indigenous researchers lead research projects across campus, particularly in community-based, health-related areas. USask has attracted top Indigenous researchers to work with Indigenous communities across Saskatchewan to support community-based research and healthcare initiatives.
We are home to the national CIHR Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Institute. We are the national co-ordinating centre for the nine Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR) and we lead the Saskatchewan NEIHR network—the First Nations and Métis Health Research Network—to advance health research within Indigenous communities in the province.
"Indigenous Peoples: Engagement and Scholarship" is one of USask's signature areas of research. USask recognizes our province's future is linked with Indigenous peoples and is working to build a vibrant community of Indigenous scholars who deepen connections with Indigenous communities to embed Indigenous methodologies and the unity of inquiry, teaching and service as a core thesis of discovery at our university.
Relocating the national Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (IIPH) to the University of Saskatchewan from Sudbury, Ont., opened up exciting opportunities for both the institute and the university to advance health research and reconciliation, according to IIPH Scientific Director Carrie Bourassa.
Partnerships with Indigenous Nations, Associations and Communities
USask embraces manacihitowin (let us respect each other), and is working to create and support collaborative and reciprocal relationships and partnerships with Indigenous peoples on- and off-campus.
Supporting our work are the first-of-a-kind agreements with the FSIN, Métis Nation-Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Tribal Council.
USask often partners with Indigenous communities to ensure that research, scholarly and creative activities preserve, celebrate and create place and space for Indigenous knowledges, stories, languages and cultures.
News and Stories
We can do more. We will do more.
'It is our collective responsibility to build and shape the community and the world we want every day. Universities such as ours, benefiting from the diversity of perspectives of thousands of students, faculty, staff and alumni, can positively influence behaviour and understanding in ways no other kinds of institutions can. If we are deliberate and courageous, we can make these changes together through dialogue, education and action."
- President Peter Stoicheff