The Peter MacKinnon Building on the USask Saskatoon campus. Indigenous symbols are seen in the foreground.

USask president’s statement on National Indigenous Peoples Day

National Indigenous Peoples Day is commemorated every year on June 21, to recognize and celebrate the history and diverse cultures of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples across Canada.

Celebrated on the summer solstice — the date with the most daylight of the year and holding great spiritual significance for Indigenous Peoples — it is the perfect time to shine light on the achievements and accomplishments, as well as the considerable challenges faced by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis throughout the country’s history. 

As the University of Saskatchewan (USask) celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Indigenous History Month on our campuses, we encourage everyone to learn more about the stories of the traditions and diversity of Indigenous People in Canada. We are dedicated to the principles of Indigenization, advancing initiatives that promote Indigenous Knowledges and support Reconciliation and decolonization.

ohpahotân | oohpaahotaan “Let’s Fly Up Together” — USask’s Indigenous Strategy — is the first Indigenous Strategy created solely by Indigenous people at a Canadian U15 research institution. Gifted to USask by the Elders in 2021, ohpahotân | oohpaahotaan, USask’s Indigenous Strategy — complemented by the university’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Policy — outlines the steps to take on this shared journey to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing into all aspects of the university. USask also supports local National Indigenous Peoples Day events taking place in and around Saskatoon, including at Wanuskewin and Victoria Park.

USask is committed to being the best place we can possibly be for all Indigenous students, staff, faculty, and their communities, with Indigenization woven throughout our University Plan 2025 and one of the key commitments in our new comprehensive campaign, the largest campaign in the history of the university and the history of the province. Since hosting Canada’s first national reconciliation forum in 2015, USask has held its own annual internal forum to answer the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

On this day, and all days, we are grateful for the inspiration and dedication of the many Elders and Knowledge Keepers, as well as all Indigenous faculty, staff, students, and alumni, who are patiently guiding all of us as we walk the road to Reconciliation together. However you choose to commemorate and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Indigenous History Month, we encourage you to take the time to learn and listen, to engage in respectful dialogue, to support Indigenous communities on and off campus, and to commit to doing your part in advancing Reconciliation to help build a better future for all.

Peter Stoicheff 
President and Vice-Chancellor 
University of Saskatchewan

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