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Garrick Schmidt: SUNTEP Grad and Land-Based Teaching Icon

By James Oloo

May 6, 2020

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Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP), Regina. He is currently a Grade 8 teacher at Kakisiwew School on Ochapowace First Nation, Saskatchewan. Garrick has become increasingly popular on the social media for his posts including videos on how he incorporates land-based teaching and learning into both his online and face to face lessons.


Although as a teacher, Garrick’s first priority is the welfare and education of his students, his “online land-based program,” as he calls it on Twitter, attracts ‘students,’ colleagues, and parents from across the country. In the process, Garrick has become a sort of ‘evangelist’ for land-based teaching and learning.


This month, Garrick was featured on CBC Radio One, CTV Regina, and CTV Yorkton. The Regina Leader-Post also did an article on him titled, ‘Sask. teacher keeping land-based learning alive online during pandemic.’


Garrick received an endorsement from Reid Roberts (Twitter handle: @ReidRoberts13), who describes himself as an “Outdoor Ed teacher and trapper at DP Todd Secondary School, Prince George, BC.” Reid Roberts tweeted on April 10:


“If you want to learn more about Land Based Learning from an educator, I recommend following



Garrick’s March 24, 2020 Tweet (via his handle @GarrickSchmidt): “Good morning everyone! I am making land based project videos for online interaction for students and those wanting to learn. First day: learn-to shelter and fire reflector built. Traps and snares also set. Stay tuned for videos!” received over 280 likes, retweets, and replies. Some of the replies included: “Great job Garrick!!! Keep up the great work!;” “I appreciate you, and your teaching;” and “I plan to do the same thing once we go back after spring break, but more of a focus on trapping, skinning, and fleshing.”


Garrick is proud of the education he received at SUNTEP Regina and often tags the Institute (@gdins_org) on his posts. Like him, several SUNTEP students and graduates have been sharing their experiences on social media and highlighting how the knowledge and skills they acquired at SUNTEP have enabled them to be effective teachers.


One of the unique characteristics of Gabriel Dumont Institute programs is that they incorporate Métis culture and ways of knowing, including relationship with the land and traditional environmental knowledge.


In fact, the Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NSITEP), that is offered by GDI in La Ronge, in partnership with the University of Regina’s Faculty of Education and Lac La Ronge Indian Band, is rooted in Indigenous cultures and languages, and land-based pedagogy.


Given the audience that Garrick’s online land-based teaching and learning continues to attract, it is nice to see that education that is rooted in Métis traditional knowledge is being celebrated in the popular media.


It is worth mentioning that land-based education is not a new concept in Saskatchewan. A number of schools around the province have already adopted it. For example, Bert Fox Community High School in Fort Qu’Appelle, Buffalo River School, and Muskeg Lake Cree Nation’s Kihiw Waciston School are all offering land-based learning programs with practical life applications.


In March 2020, Gabriel Dumont Institute received the President’s Recognition Award from the Métis National Council (MNC) in recognition of its 40 years of providing education, training and employment services, curriculum development, publishing, and Métis cultural initiatives to the Métis of Saskatchewan and across the Métis Nation Homeland.

Photo courtesy of Garrick Schmidt

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