Gifting of Indigenous Strategy to USask marks historic event

The Indigenous Strategy, ohpahotân | oohpaahotaan (“Let’s Fly Up Together”) was gifted in a ceremony on Aug. 20 to the University of Saskatchewan (USask) on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples who informed and validated the process as a companion to the University Plan 2025.

The ceremony marked a historic event for USask as it celebrates the first Indigenous Strategy that has been solely created by Indigenous people at a Canadian U15 research institution.

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Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann, Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement at USask.

The ceremony marked a historic event for USask as it celebrates the first Indigenous Strategy that has been solely created by Indigenous people at a Canadian U15 research institution.

“Strong Indigenous voices have informed the Indigenous Strategy in an act of self-determination,” said USask Vice-Provost Indigenous Engagement Jacqueline Ottmann. “We want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the courage of all those who stepped forward to create this strategy, a piece that will ultimately help illuminate the path forward for USask’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”

This historic new Indigenous Strategy calls for meaningful and respectful action to advance Indigenization and support transformative decolonization, leading to reconciliation. The Office of the Vice-Provost Indigenous Engagement has been collaborating with USask’s Indigenous community of students, staff, faculty, and leaders, Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers and Language Teachers since 2018. Throughout the process, there has been an intentional focus to ensure that the work was ‘done in a good way.’

“We are indebted to the generosity of Indigenous Peoples from across Saskatchewan and elsewhere, who have dedicated such time and effort to creating and gifting this new Indigenous Strategy,” said USask President Peter Stoicheff. “And while we celebrate the completion of this strategy, we all know that the work is just beginning. We look now towards the critically important steps needed to turn strategy into action.”

During the event on Aug. 20, Elders offered an opening prayer and spoke about gifting the strategy to the university, before the document was presented to President Stoicheff and Provost Airini.

USask’s Indigenous Strategy was created by Indigenous people, and presented as a gift to all. By embedding the principles of this strategy in all aspects of our University Plan 2025, USask is committed to being a national leader in Indigenous engagement and reconciliation as we strive to be the university the world needs.

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