University of Saskatchewan—Aboriginal Engagement StrategyPublished on 12 May 2016 by Senator Lillian Eva Dyck
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck:
Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize the Aboriginal Engagement Strategy at the University of Saskatchewan.
In 2012, an Aboriginal Engagement Strategy was developed by the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan to support the strategic priority of Aboriginal engagement. College staff met with First Nation communities across Saskatchewan to assess their post-secondary education needs. In all, 75 Aboriginal community members from 23 First Nation and Metis organizations contributed to the consultation. In addition, an Aboriginal advisory group was formed to take the consultation feedback into account in developing programs and curriculum additions and changes.
One result of the work of the Aboriginal advisory group was the approval of the Kanawayihetaytan Askiy certificate program. Kanawayihetaytan Askiy is Cree, and in English it means, “Let’s take care of the land.”
This certificate program offered at the University of Saskatchewan integrates traditional knowledge with Western science, with a strong focus on the management of lands and resources in Aboriginal communities. The Kanawayihetaytan Askiy Program — formerly known as the Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program Certificate — is a uniquely designed certificate program focused on providing a broad range of topic areas specific to the management of lands and resources.
The Kanawayihetaytan Askiy Program examines basic environmental, legal and economic aspects of land and resource management in Aboriginal communities. It also provides students with the opportunity to increase their skill levels in communications, computers, time management, leadership, research and project management.
The vision and direction of the program is based on consultation with Aboriginal communities and expanding the audience to include Aboriginal land managers, Aboriginal land and economic development staff, Aboriginal leadership, urban and rural Aboriginal youth, federal and provincial government staff, and individuals interested in working with Aboriginal communities.
Since the 2006-07 school year, the Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program and the KA Program have graduated over 200 students. As noted in the December 17, 2015 minutes of the University Council’s Academic Programs Committee meeting:
The demand for graduates from this program remains high and nearly all graduates have current employment or confirmed employment as land managers.
Honourable senators, the Aboriginal Engagement Strategy and the Kanawayihetaytan Askiy Program, specifically, are examples of the type of reconciliation program needed at the university level to live up to the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation report.