Cook’s passion for education began 40 years ago at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) where he built the foundation of a career that will come full circle when he is awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws at U of S Spring Convocation on June 7 at TCU Place. Cook, who is from Cumberland House, earned a Bachelor of Education (1980) and postgraduate diploma at the U of S and fondly remembers his time on campus and how it helped prepare him to be a leader in education initiatives in northern Indigenous communities.
“The role of the U of S is very, very important,” Cook said. “The U of S is involved in the Northern Teacher Education/Northern Professional Access College in northern Saskatchewan and many of our graduates have become leaders in various fields at the local, regional and provincial levels.
“My fondest memory is being part of a Métis local on campus that lobbied for the establishment of a Native Studies department. Also, meeting top-notch professors who became lifelong friends, and remain so to this day.”
In addition to being a prominent student advocate for the creation of the Department of Indigenous Studies, which was founded in 1983 at the U of S, Cook was also a passionate proponent for the establishment of the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research, which opened in 1980. Cook went on to serve as an instructor and administrator in a number of northern education and training programs, including the Northern Teacher Education Program, and is considered a leading expert in Aboriginal culture and languages.
“Mr. Cook is well known for his tireless work and dedication to improving the lives of First Nations and Métis people and serving as a champion of support for education in Indigenous communities,” said U of S President Peter Stoicheff. “His devotion to the promotion of education and training programs, Indigenous language retention and preservation, and developing economic opportunities for northern communities, has served as an inspiration to others. His lifetime of achievement is a great example for all of us to follow as we build on our own commitment to Indigenous student success at the University of Saskatchewan.”
Cook will be one of six honorary degree recipients at this year’s U of S Spring Convocation, from June 5-8 at TCU Place. He will be honoured during the 2 p.m. ceremony on June 7. For the full schedule, please visit: https://students.usask.ca/events/spring-convocation.php
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan