Dec 10, 2019
On November 14, 2019, dignitaries, invited guests, community members, partners, board members, and staff gathered at Gabriel Dumont Institute Central Office in Saskatoon for the grand opening of the Institute’s newly renovated and expanded facility.
The 8,400 square foot expansion houses the Institute’s Métis Culture and Heritage Department and Gabriel Dumont Institute Press. It also includes the Métis museum, art gallery, a new boardroom, and office space. Geordy McCaffrey – GDI Executive Director and emcee for the event – noted that with the new space, the Institute now owns about 74,000 square foot of property across Saskatchewan.
The Honourable Russell Mirasty, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, started his speech by saying, “It is a pleasure to be here at Gabriel Dumont Institute. You have a beautiful facility here.” Noting that “Métis are resilient people,” Mr. Mirasty said, “It warms my heart to see Indigenous people providing educational opportunities for our people. I want to thank GDI for the work you have done in promoting education across Saskatchewan.”
President Glen McCallum of the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) commended GDI for its work as an educational and cultural institute. Dr. Earl Cook, who serves as the Chair of the GDI Board of Governors and MN–S Minister of Education, acknowledged the presence of representatives of the Clarence Campeau Development Fund (CCDF), and CIBC. He also recognized Institute employees for their work and dedication.
Mayor Charlie Clark of Saskatoon stated that “To be a good leader, you have to know who you are and where you are coming from,” adding that, “GDI plays a great role as a place where future leaders come for their education and be grounded in their identity and history.”
Geordy thanked the over 200 “Institute staff who work hard each day to help us meet our mandate.” He also said, “Sorry to employees who were displaced during the construction.”
The Honourable Mirasty, Elder Margaret Harrison, and President McCallum commemorated the celebration with the untying of a Métis sash.
Also present at the grand opening ceremony were board members Viola Bell, Dennis Langan, Glenn Lafleur, Tracy Tinker, Jimmy Durocher, Jackie Kennedy, and Juanita Tuharsky.
The MN–S was represented by Billy Kennedy, Sports and Recreation Minister; Mervin Bouvier, Minister of Environment; Jaycee Bell, Minister of Youth; and Lisa McCallum, the Secretary.
Others dignitaries included Dr. Ryan Meili, MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin; Mr. David Forbes, MLA for the Saskatoon Centre; and Mr. David Buckingham, the MLA for Saskatoon Westview.
By James Oloo