First Nations leaders connect on IT issues at U of S

SASKATOON - First Nations leaders, band administrators and information technology (IT) managers from across the province will learn this week about the latest developments in how IT can serve the First Nations of Saskatchewan.

On Nov. 24-25, the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) and SaskTel are co-hosting the third annual conference on how engaging with IT can improve healthcare infrastructure, employment opportunities and community development.

The conference, taking place on the U of S campus, brings together experts who are leaders in the fields of health technology, First Nations governance, business development and education technology. Notable speakers include Dr. Ivar Mendez of the surgery department at the U of S College of Medicine, Shantelle Watson of the Mistawasis First Nation, and Sean Devin, president of SaskTel International.

"Technology is a powerful tool for First Nations to improve community health, create development opportunities and grow their nations," said Blaine Favel, chancellor of the U of S and former Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. "In hosting this conference, the U of S is providing a valuable forum for building relationships and inspiring life-long learning."

The conference will feature keynote addresses, group presentations and small breakout discussions based on the themes of using technology to improve community health, enhance education, create employment opportunities and drive economic development in First Nations communities.

"The technology modernization that is currently taking place at SIIT will open doors to relevant and high-quality training opportunities for our students, both at our campuses as well as within our First Nation communities," said Riel Bellegarde, president of SIIT. "This conference will give SIIT an opportunity to open dialogue with First Nations regarding their training and education needs and how SIIT's new technologies can help to address these needs."

The conference began as an initiative of SaskTel and this is the first year that the U of S and SIIT have joined as partners. The three organizations collaborated on this conference to bring together the resources and commitment of knowledgeable people to deliver programming effectively.

Past conferences provided an ideal forum for peer-to-peer learning and idea exchanges, relationship building and establishing connections, as well as learning from the successes and experiences of others. Conference planners from all three organizing bodies are confident this year's conference will build on that reputation.


For more information, please contact:
Jordan Sherbino
Special Projects Officer
Office of Aboriginal Initiatives
University of Saskatchewan

James Shewaga
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan
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