Tate McDougall is a fourth-year SUNTEP student in USask’s College of Education. (Photo: Submitted)

Teachers inspire USask student to become an educator

Tate McDougall is a teacher candidate who is very proud of his Métis culture. He was raised in Saskatoon and has roots in Prince Albert. McDougall not only consistently excelled academically throughout his four years in the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) in the College of Education, but he also displayed a proud sense of passion, devotion and care for his colleagues and students.

The success and development of others is a top priority for McDougall, qualities that will serve his future students well.

 was recognized with an award for academic excellence at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) Indigenous Student Achievement Awards, which was held virtually on Feb. 4, 2021, to honour USask Indigenous students for their academic excellence, leadership, research, community engagement and resiliency.

The award ceremony was part of Indigenous Achievement Week (IAW), which celebrated the successes and contributions of Métis, First Nations and Inuit students, staff and faculty within the context of this year’s theme: nīkānihk itohtētān, walking together into the future.

We asked McDougall a few questions about his USask journey:

Why did you choose the College of Education and the SUNTEP program?
I chose to pursue education because I had many positive and influential teachers throughout my academic career. I was always interested in not only the subject matter but for my teachers’ abilities to convey that information to me in a meaningful way. These impactful teachers demonstrated to me the true art that teaching is, and I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. I was also always aware of my Métis roots and saw the opportunity to empower more of my people in a direct way through the educational system and thus, I chose SUNTEP.

What has helped you to stay motivated and committed to your studies?
One thing that has helped was that I knew my end goal was my dream job. Any opportunities I had in actual classrooms throughout my four years in education re-affirmed that feeling.

How have your studies developed your knowledge, skills and leadership?
My studies have developed my knowledge on the history of the people that are Indigenous to our nation and has allowed me to speak up for my people and all other Indigenous people in an impactful way in classrooms. I have also seen major development in my skills as a leader through gaining experience leading youth in the classroom with the many opportunities SUNTEP has provided.

Has someone in your life inspired you to get to where you are today?
A few people have inspired me to be where I am today. I would like to thank all of my past teachers for giving me direction in life and shaping me to be the person I am today. I would also like to thank my family and friends for always supporting me and the Gabriel Dumont Institute for providing me with so many positive opportunities working with my community.

This year’s Indigenous Achievement Week theme is nīkānihk itohtētān, walking together into the future. What does this mean to you?

To me, nīkānihk itohtētān means that together we stand as a proud community of Indigenous people that are walking towards our goals and the rest of our lives.

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