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Congratulations to the Inaugural Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NSITEP) Class of 2023

By Bethani Groat, GDI Communications Coordinator and Pearl Gardiner, GDI Program Coordinator. Photo by Morris Cook, GDI Program Coordinator.

Jul 4, 2023

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Big smiles all around at the inaugural Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teachers Education Program (NSITEP) held May 18th at the Jonas Roberts Memorial Community Centre (JRMCC) in Far Reserve, Lac La Ronge. As everyone arrived, they were greeted warmly by the NSITEP Staff, and the feeling around the hall was one of welcoming and belonging. The hall has hosted many major community events, and now the NSITEP graduation can be added to the list.

Morris Cook got the idea to host a graduation ceremony and Nancy Lafleur, Sue Carriere, and Gabe Andrews quickly joined in to help organize. Students were involved in fundraising and event planning efforts, and many hands pitched in for the celebration. Everyone was feeling excited and nervous at the same time for the big day, but Morris kept thinking “we can do this.”

Lisa Bird-Wilson offered congratulations on behalf of the Gabriel Dumont Institute, and Chief Tammy Cook-Searson shared gratitude on behalf of all the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, and Glen Hector McCallum, the President of the Métis Nation — Saskatchewan, brought congratulations as well. When each speaker congratulated the students on being the first ever NSITEP graduating class, the audience broke out into thunderous applause. Everyone felt a deep pride for all the challenges overcome and accomplishments earned by this class.

Many of the graduates speak Cree, which is a remarkable step forward. NSITEP students will be able to reintroduce traditional language skills in their classrooms, and this makes them highly sought after in the job market. As of writing, 15 of 17 graduates have signed teaching contracts for September in Cole Bay, Pinehouse Lake, Sturgeon Lake, Hall Lake, Stanley Mission, Sucker River, and La Ronge. For some faculty, they have been teaching these students since they were in grade school, so they’re filled with pride and joy while celebrating their students coming full circle to teach future generations of Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teachers.

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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