Mar 8, 2018
By Sheila Pocha and James Oloo
This month, Indigenous Achievement Week (February 5 – February 9, 2018) was celebrated at the University of Saskatchewan to honour and recognize the academic achievements, research endeavours, leadership and community involvement of Métis, First Nations and Inuit students, staff and faculty.
Forty four students were honoured at the Indigenous Student Achievement Awards Ceremony including four in the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP). SUNTEP is offered by the Gabriel Dumont Institute in cooperation with the University of Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Education. The four were Daniel (Brooks) Asham, Brittany Macnab, Curtis Vinish, and Vanessa Gardiner.
Daniel (Brooks) Asham, a first year SUNTEP student, received an Indigenous Student Achievement Award in Leadership. Brooks is very involved in the community, and is a leader at SUNTEP and across the campus.
Brittany Macnab received an Indigenous Student Achievement Award in Academic Excellence. Brittany is a second year SUNTEP student from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. Not only is Brittany an excellent student, but she is also very dedicated to student success, including serving in the SUNTEP Student Council, Indigenous Students Council, as well as organizing or participating in awareness campaigns on campus.
Third year SUNTEP student Curtis Vinish received an Indigenous Student Achievement Award in Leadership. Curtis, who is from Saskatoon, has served as student council vice-president, and is renowned for his efforts to promote Métis culture and ways of knowing. Curtis is also involved in the community. He led student workshops in Northern Saskatchewan to raise awareness and to support Indigenous youth who endured the suicide crisis.
Vanessa Gardiner received an Indigenous Achievement Student Award in Community Involvement. Vanessa is a fourth year SUNTEP student from the Métis community of Île-à-la-Crosse. Gardiner believes in the importance of family and kinship and is admired by her students for her mentorship role and involvement in extra-curricular activities.
Dr. Patti McDougall, the University of Saskatchewan Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning, noted that the awards were “about individual achievement [and] also about achievement for the benefit of others.”