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SUNTEP Unveils Métis Red River Cart Installation on Campus

By Desirae Barker

Jan 16, 2023

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September 16, 2022, marked a historic day for the Gabriel Dumont Institute, Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP), and the University of Saskatchewan (USask). All institutions gathered with students, alumni, community, and special Métis guests to celebrate the unveiling of a Métis Red River Cart outside the SUNTEP and GDC Saskatoon centre located outside McLean Hall on the USask campus.

Before the event, SUNTEP students along with well-known cart builder George Fayant, gathered outside McLean Hall to assemble the large-scale-sized cart. SUNTEP students were also a large part of the organization, preparation, and execution of the unveiling.

The event opened with a blessing by Dr. Maria Campbell, which set the tone for this memorable occasion. She reminisced about the earlier days when her family used the Métis Red River Cart in their daily lives. The Red River Cart is one of the intrinsic symbols of Métis identity. These carts were created by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Métis people and used throughout most of the 19th century to carry goods across the plains. Over the years, it has become a passionate and powerful symbol of Métis nationhood in Canada.

Following this, greetings from various partners and stakeholders were shared. GDI Executive Director stated, “It fills me with a lot of pride to be standing here next to the Métis Red River Cart. As I drove into campus, this installation literally took my breath away. It is a visual representative of Métis culture and will help make the Métis presence more visible and help students feel more comfortable on campus. I’m very proud of our affiliation with the University of Saskatchewan.”

SUNTEP has operated in McLean Hall on the USask campus for over 40 years. The program was established to ensure Métis are adequately represented in the teaching profession. To date SUNTEP has successfully graduated more than 1,400 Indigenous educators from the Regina, Prince Albert, and Saskatoon centres. “We’re a strong presence on this campus, so the Red River cart acknowledges that — it shows that we’re here, we’re alive, we’re jubilant, we’re paying homage to our homeland,” said Sheila Pocha, SUNTEP Head, at the event.

In 2019, USask’s Office of Indigenous Engagement provided a $

3,000 investment to SUNTEP to put towards the Red River Cart Installation. SUNTEP then commissioned George Fayant to create the Red River Cart. “To see this Red River Cart here today, with the blue Infinity flag and the sashes draped on it, that’s your textbook definition of Métis symbolism,” said George Fayant in his greeting at the event.

To wrap up the day, Dr. Maria Campbell and George Fayant cut the ribbon on the Métis Red River Cart, officially recognizing the installation. The ribbon cutting symbolizes new beginnings and promises an exciting future.



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