SUNTEP, offered by GDI in partnership with USask and the Ministry of Advanced Education, has operated in McLean Hall on the USask campus for over 40 years. SUNTEP was established to ensure Métis are adequately represented in the teaching profession. The SUNTEP program has a strong emphasis on Métis history, the Michif language, social justice, and anti-racist/anti-oppressive education. To date, SUNTEP has successfully graduated more than 1,400 Indigenous educators from the Regina, Prince Albert, and Saskatoon centres.
“We have been looking forward to this special day. The Red River Cart will celebrate our Métis symbolism on campus and ensure the public is aware of the Métis presence, our Indigeneity, and represent the good work that SUNTEP does within the Métis community,” said Sheila Pocha, SUNTEP Program Head.
The Red River Cart is one of the intrinsic symbols of Métis identity. These carts were created by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Métis people and used throughout most of the 19th century to carry goods across the plains. Over the years, it has become a passionate and powerful symbol of Métis nationhood in Canada.
“This installation is an identifiable marker of the rich history of Métis peoples and will instill a welcoming, cultural environment for the many Métis students on campus. GDI is proud to work closely with USask on this project to commemorate the four decades our teacher education program has been supporting the success of Métis educators,” said Lisa Bird-Wilson, GDI Executive Director.
In 2019, USask’s Office of Indigenous Engagement provided a $3,000 investment to SUNTEP to put towards the Red River Cart Installation. SUNTEP then commissioned well-known cart builder George Fayant to create the large-scale Red River Cart.
“The University of Saskatchewan is proud to be a part of this historic moment on campus for Métis students and for all students, staff, and faculty at USask. For Métis students, this cart, and the relationship between USask, GDI, and MN-S, demonstrates the importance of their presence and continued success at USask,” said Dr. Angela Jaime, vice-provost Indigenous Engagement.
University of Saskatchewan:
USask advances the aspirations of the people of the province and beyond through interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to discovering, teaching, sharing, integrating, preserving, and applying knowledge, including the creative arts, to build a rich cultural community. An innovative, accessible, and welcoming place for students, educators, and researchers from around the world, we serve the public good by connecting discovery, teaching, and outreach, by promoting diversity and meaningful change, and by preparing students for enriching careers and fulfilling lives as engaged global citizens.
Gabriel Dumont Institute:
GDI is a Métis-owned post-secondary and cultural institution in Saskatchewan. Since 1980, GDI has prided itself as a conservator of Métis culture and history. Together with its subsidiaries, the Dumont Technical Institute, Gabriel Dumont College, GDI Training & Employment, GDI Culture & Heritage, and the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP), GDI provides Métis-specific education programs and services in 13 communities across the province. GDI is affiliated with the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan (MN–S) and is governed by a 12-member Board of Governors plus a chair who is the MN–S Minister of Education.
For more information and media inquiries:
Gabriel Dumont Institute
Dr. Angela Jaime
Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement
University of Saskatchewan