Gabriel Dumont Institue


GDI Thanks Dr. James Oloo for Nearly a Decade of Service

By Desirae Barker

Aug 5, 2020

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“For the past nine years, James has never missed producing the monthly issue of the Communicator,” states Lisa Bird-Wilson, Director of the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI). With over 100 issues of the Communicator under his belt, Dr. James Oloo, former Research Coordinator at GDI, has contributed significantly to the history of the Institute.

James began his career with GDI in April 2011. His first responsibilities were performing research and reporting for the GDI Training and Employment’s Aboriginal Apprenticeship Initiative. He remembers his first day quite vividly, and laughs at the fact he did not know the meaning of the words “apprenticeship” or “journeyperson.” He recalls that in his native Kenya, they used the term vocational training. Needless to say, now, he is very familiar with the words.

Over time, James’s role transitioned to providing research and reporting more broadly for the Institute overall. Essentially molding the position into what it is today, James worked hard to bring each department together for research, reporting, and communication. He was known as a “go-to person” for information. “James has been a good employee, always ready to help, and always has the Institute at heart,” says Geordy McCaffery, GDI Executive Director.


One of James’ passions was being able to share the student success stories that develop at the Institute. “It’s really great what GDI does in making a difference in people’s lives,” says James, adding that “I have always felt truly honoured and humbled to be entrusted with personal stories of lived experiences.” The joy in sharing the education journeys of students stems from his own background. James holds an undergraduate degree in education from the University of Lethbridge, a master’s degree in public policy from Simon Fraser University, and a doctorate degree in education from the University of Regina.

A large focal point in James’ studies was Indigenous education. His published thesis available online at is titled “A narrative and post-/anti-colonial approach to understanding the experiences of foreign certified teachers in rural Saskatchewan schools.” James credits his career at the Institute for helping further his knowledge of Métis-specific history, relations, and culture valued at GDI.

During James’ last week at GDI in June, staff gathered to thank him for the commitment and enthusiasm he brought to his roles at the Institute. At the celebration, James was presented with an Order of Gabriel Dumont Bronze Medal. This medal signifies an appreciation for the years of dedication and service James contributed to the Gabriel Dumont Institute.

All the best in your future, James! You will be missed. Always remember, no matter where you go, you have a family at GDI.

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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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