Each year in March the University of Saskatchewan hosts Aboriginal Achievement Week to celebrate Aboriginal achievement, reflect on traditions and ceremonies, and connect with the community. Everyone is welcome to attend Aboriginal Achievement Week events (full list of events are below).
Attend events. Win an iPad. (and other great prizes!)
Students can pick up an event-tracking booklet at the Aboriginal Students’ Centre. Attend seven or more events and you'll be entered into the draw for prizes.
8:30 to 9:30 amNative Law Centre
Bob Badger, the Aboriginal Students’ Centre cultural coordinator, will lead and explain the history of the pipe ceremony. For more information, contact Bob at (306) 966-5790.
No filming or photography at this event please.
9:30 to 10:30 amAboriginal Students' Centre
Aboriginal Women in Leadership Panel
10:00 to 11:30 amGSA Commons
The Aboriginal and Indigenous Graduate Student Council (AIGSC) will host a panel presentation on Aboriginal Women in Leadership. Panelists include: Kim Jonathan, vice chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations; Jennifer Campeau, MLA; Jennifer Altenberg, Métis youth leader; and the Honourable Lillian Dyck, senator of Canada.
For more information, email email@example.com.
Signing Ceremony with The Office of the Treaty Commissioner
Noon to 1:30 pmPlace Riel Student Centre - North Concourse
At this signing ceremony the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and the University of Saskatchewan will renew a partnership, with new stakeholders such as the Department of Native Studies and the Indigenous Students’ Council. Lunch will be provided.
Love Stories for Mother Earth: Artistic Responses to Idle No More
The College of Arts and Science and the Indigenous Students’ Council presents a series of discussions to promote a greater understanding of the issues behind the Idle No More movement. Presenters include Marjorie Beaucage; spoken word artists (Eekwol, Zoey “Pricelys” Roy and Khodi Dill); Bob Badger, cultural coordinator at the Aboriginal Students’ Centre; and Sheelah McLean, teacher and co-founder of Idle No More. For more information on this series, visit the event's webpage.
Baking Bannock with Bob Badger
3 to 5 pmMarquis Hall
Bob Badger, the Aboriginal Students’ Centre cultural coordinator, will teach participants how to prepare and cook healthy traditional Aboriginal foods. This event is supported by Student Health Services, the Aboriginal Students’ Centre and CHEP (Child Hunger and Education Program). For more information or to sign up, drop by the Aboriginal Students’ Centre or call (306) 966-5790.
CHEP Food Bingo
6 to 8 pmRoom 263 Arts Building
Learn about the services offered by CHEP (Child Hunger and Education Program) while playing bingo and winning great (food) prizes. Bingo dabbers will be supplied!
This event is supported by the Aboriginal Students’ Centre and CHEP (Child Hunger and Education Program).
Jigging and Fiddling Workshop
10:00 am - 12:00 pmEducation Student Lounge
Listen to live fiddling music and learn Métis jigging. Refreshments will be provided.
This event is supported by the Aboriginal Students' Centre and the SUNTEP Student Council.
Reconciliation Discussion with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner
10:00 -11:30amRoy Romanow Student Council Chamber
A roundtable discussion on reconciliation with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. Participants will discuss reconciliation as an ongoing process, a new beginning and a bridge to enlighten our province of the greater potential as we are all treaty people.
Aboriginal Graduate Presentation and Lunch
11:00 am - 12:00 pmGSA Commons
Current Aboriginal graduate students will explain how graduate school helped them achieve their goals. Presenters will highlight a few U of S graduate programs and will be available to answer questions.
The Panel Presenters are:
- Omeasoo Butt - PHD in History
- Denelle Spence - Masters in Public Administration
- Wendie Marks - PHD Psychology
- Melissa Arcand - PHD Soil Science
- Irene Oakes - PHD in Educational Administration
Lunch will be provided. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flag Raising Ceremony
11:30 am to noonAgriculture Atrium
The Treaty 6 flag was gifted to Ilene Busch-Vishniac, U of S president and vice-chancellor, in November 2012 by Onion Lake Chief Wallace Fox. At 11:30 am, smudging ceremony will take place outside of the Agriculture building. The ceremony will then move into the Agriculture Building atrium where the formal ceremony will begin, which will include an honour song and a flag song.
Pizza and a Chat with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources
Noon to 1 pmRoom 1E80, Agriculture Building
At this free pizza lunch, speakers will discuss the opportunities for Aboriginal students in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. Students currently studying in the college will speak about their experiences in the college.
Speakers will include Murray Drew, professor and associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources; Candice Pete, Director of the Indigenous Land Management Institute, U of S; and students from within the college.
Walking Together: Students Share Stories of their Educational Journeys
1 to 2:30 pmRoom 146, Arts Building
A panel of first-generation Canadian students, international students, and Aboriginal students will share their educational success stories and the paths they took to get here.
This event is supported by the College of Arts and Science and the Student Employment and Career Center.
Two-Spirited: Our Aboriginal Identities and Queer Identities
2:30 to 4 pmRoom 146, Arts Building
Afternoon activities will examine the intersectionality of Aboriginal identities and queer identities and how these reflect or inspire Two-Spirited artists.The USSU Pride Centre will present two short films from internationally acclaimed artist, Kent Monkman. Acclaimed artists, Thirza Cuthand, Marjorie Beaucage, and Adrian Stimson will sit on a panel following the films.
Significance of the Drum Workshop
10:00 - 11:30 amEducation Student Lounge
The Gwenna Moss Centre and the Aboriginal Students' Centre will host an interactive workshop to discuss the significance and importance of the drum.
Workshop attendees will:
- Learn about the oral teachings of the significance of the drum
- Learn about the materials for drum making and the traditions and ceremony of making a drum
- Discuss why First Nations people utilize song in ceremony / social gatherings
Refreshments and snacks will be provided. For more information, email email@example.com or call 306.966.5790
Native spirituality 101 (and Soup and Bannock)
Noon - 1 pmAboriginal Students’ Centre
Join Elders Walter and Maria Linklater for soup and bannock at the Aboriginal Students’ Centre. During lunch the Elders will explain the significance and history of their culture.
USSU Speaker Series: Joseph Boyden
1:30 - 3 pmRoom 241, Arts Building
The University of Saskatchewan Students Union and St. Thomas More College invites you to join Canadian novelist and short story writer, Joseph Boyden for a presentation on Native literature with questions and answers to follow. For a current list of speakers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aboriginal Symbols: What makes sense for the U of S?
Aboriginal Arts Festival
6 - 9 pmLouis'
U of S Aboriginal student achievement in the areas of visual, performance, and literary art will be celebrated and showcased. Performers include Ryan McMahon and Joseph Boyden.Tickets are $5 for U of S students, $10 for non-students and will be available at the Aboriginal Students’ Centre. Aboriginal U of S students are encouraged to submit their artwork. For more information, contact email@example.com or call (306) 966-5790.
Conversational Cree Workshop
10:00 - 11:30 amRoy Romanow Student Council Chamber, Place Riel Student Centre
Join us as we learn different words from the Cree culture. All levels welcome as this will be an informal workshop from beginners to experts!
Dispelling the Myths Panel
11:30 am - 12:30 pmConvocation Hall, Peter MacKinnon Building
A panel discussion on the myths commonly associated with Treaties and Aboriginal People. This panel is open to everyone and will be a safe environment to ask questions both in person and anonymously to a panel of Office of the Treaty Commissioner staff including Jennifer Heimbecker, speakers bureau and special projects coordinator; Harry Lafond, executive director and Brenda Ahenakew, director of educational programs.
Refreshments will be provided.
USSU Speakers Series
1:00 - 2:30 pmConvocation Hall
Speakers will discuss the theme "honouring our treaties". The series is hosted by the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union (USSU).
For a current list of speakers, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Aboriginal Symbols: What makes sense for the U of S?
6:00 - 9:00 pmDakota Dunes Casino
The Indigenous Students’ Council (ISC) is honoured to celebrate the achievement of students from different colleges and departments. This year’s event will be at the Dakota Dunes Banquet Hall with the program starting at 6:30 pm. The tickets are $25 a plate for non U of S students and $15 for U of S students.
For more information, email email@example.com.
Unpacking The Past, Engaging The Present, And Building Towards An Anti-Oppressive Future Conference
10 am to 4 pmRoom 1004, Education Building
The Student Teachers’ Anti-Racism Society (STARS) is pleased to offer a conference advancing the theory and practice of anti-racist/anti-oppressive education. Drawing on insight and expertise from a range of experienced anti-oppressive practitioners, the conference seeks to empower attendees with knowledge and strategies toward transforming racism and other forms of oppression experienced daily in our society. Please join us in a collaborative dialogue digging into the heart of what is needed to transcend injustice and shift toward social arrangements that honor and dignify all people.
Aboriginal Symposium: Taking Stock
9 am - 4:30 pmEducation Gym
Aboriginal Symposium: Taking Stock - Expo & Poster Display
9:00 am - 4:00 pmEducation Gym
Aboriginal Symposium: Taking Stock - Speech by President Busch-Vishniac
9:30 - 10:30 amEducation Gym
Aboriginal Symposium: Taking Stock - Launch of Community Engagement Map
10:30 - 11:30 amEducation Gym
Aboriginal Symposium: Taking Stock - Graduate Poster Competition
10:30 am - 12:30 pmEducation Gym
Aboriginal Pre-Health / Health Science Role Model Session
11:30 am - 1:00 pmLower MUMPS - Health Science Building
This session is specifically for Aboriginal high school, undergraduate and health science students who are interested in an education and/or career in health or science disciplines. Role models will be available to offer words of inspiration and encouragement.
RSVP is required. To register, please contact Valerie Arnault-Pelletier (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Aboriginal Symposium: Taking Stock - Feast
Noon - 2:00 pmEducation Gym
Aboriginal Symposium: Taking Stock - Round dance
2:00 - 4:30 pmEducation Gym
ITEP Round Dance
6 pm - 2 amEducation Gym
the ITEP Student Council, in partnership with the Aboriginal Symposium Project, is hosting a roundance to celebrate the Indian Teachers Education Program's 40th anniversary. The feast will take place at White Buffalo Youth Lodge at 3 to 5 pm and the roundance will be held in the Education Gym.
Free parking in Lot P lot after 5 pm.
Attend events. Win an iPad!
Pick up an event-tracking booklet at the Aboriginal Students’ Centre. Every event you attend during the week gets you a stamp in your booklet.
- Collect 15+ stamps to be entered into the grand prize draw for an iPad!
- Collect 7+ stamps to be entered into our other prize draws
Deadline to submit the booklet: The booklet must be submitted by 3 pm on Friday, March 15. The draw will take place in the Aboriginal Students’ Centre at TIME on Monday, March 18 (you do not need to be present at the draw to win).Contest open to current U of S students only. One booklet per student. If you lose your booklet, you lose any accumulated stamps in that booklet.
As part of this year’s Aboriginal Achievement Week, we will host the first of a two-part Aboriginal Symposium. Part I: Taking Stock will celebrate achievements related to the Aboriginal framework, raise awareness across campus of current Aboriginal initiatives and celebrate their success. This event was identified as a commitment in the third integrated plan.
All Aboriginal Symposium events are open to the campus community and the general public.
Location: Education Gym
Poster expo begins
Speech by President Busch-Vishniac
Launch of Community Engagement Map
Student poster competition
From March 11-15, the University of Saskatchewan will host Aboriginal Achievement Week to celebrate Aboriginal accomplishments, reflect on traditions and ceremonies, and connect with the community.
“…together we identified Aboriginal engagement as a priority in Promise and Potential, our third integrated plan, and it is something I am personally committed to, “ said President Busch-Vishniac in a recent letter to the campus community. “The U of S has historically been a leader in this area and it is time now to revisit where we have been successful, and look ahead to opportunities that will allow us to do more in the future.”
Four events held as part of Aboriginal Achievement Week – the pipe ceremony, flag ceremony, feast and round dance – are deeply rooted in Aboriginal tradition and customs. Saskatchewan has six language groups - Cree, Saulteaux/Nahkawē, Lakota, Nakota, Dakota and Dene. These language groups all have different customs in regards to ceremony, hunting, song and dance, arts and traditional practices and therefore different ways of conducting each of these ceremonies.
The following is an overview of the history, customs and traditions that may be associated with these four events.
A pipe ceremony is a spiritual time where tobacco is placed into a pipe bowl and prayers are rendered by an Elder/Traditional Knowledge Keeper and blessed by the smudge of sweet grass, sage or cedar. The pipe ceremony is a very highly honored rite that is only given to certain people such as an Elder, Leader or Traditional Knowledge Keeper. In some areas only men are allowed to smoke the pipe while women observe (Saulteaux/Nahkawē, Cree and Nakota), and in others the pipe is shared to smoke with men and women (Lakota, Dakota and Nakota). Some First Nations have women pipe keepers that only the women are allowed to smoke.
This ceremony is used for many different reasons such as blessing, honouring, commemorating and paying respect to a deity, or may be held to pray in a humble way. A pipe ceremony could be 30 minutes to two hours in length depending on the Elder/Traditional Knowledge Keeper and what First Nation they come from.
A long time ago, Aboriginal groups used the eagle staff or lance as an identification of nationhood. This staff/lance was taken into battle to control the movements of warriors and identify the tribes in battle, and was adorned with feathers, furs and even locks of hair from a buffalo or enemy.
After contact and implementation of the reserve system, Aboriginal people joined the Armed Forces for Canada. As the war veterans came home from World War I and then II there were many celebrations in their honour, such as feasts, giveaways, ceremonies and powwows. At these special gatherings they would use the eagle staffs and incorporated the Union Jack and Canadian flag. They were proud to fight under the nation’s flag and for this reason it was taken in to ceremony. Songs have been composed for the flags of Canada and the United States of America. The Treaty 6 flag also has a song and history behind it and this song will be used at the formal flag ceremony.
A feast is a special time to pray and reflect on the blessing nature has to offer. Food is seen as a medicine after the prayer and feasting occurs for many different reasons, such as memorials, honourings, celebrations, feeding the spirits or even settling disputes. A traditional feast would have wild meat soup, bannock, berries and maybe a type of grease. Long ago fat from a wild animal was a highly prized commodity and was used as a special treat. Eating commences only after the prayer is rendered. Participants sit on the floor or ground.
Round dances may be used as a social event or spiritual event depending on the First Nation and situation. They usually begin at sundown and go to the early hours of the morning, and can be shared in by anyone. The round dance starts off with a feast and prayers, and offerings of tobacco and cloth to the Elder or leader of the ceremony. Special songs are used to open the dance. The singers use hand drums or the big drum to sing many different spiritual or self-composed songs where spectators gather around the singers and dance in a clockwise direction. The dancers hold hands to symbolize unity and the circle of life.
Some round dances are held to remember ancestors in memorial gatherings. It is said that the northern lights are the ancestors dancing in the heavens and that is where the round dance ceremony came from - mimicking the motions of the northern lights. Some round dances are a social event that brings people together to mingle and enjoy the company of friends and family, but continue to be rooted in spirituality and culture. The ITEP round dance will have two announcers who traditionally were the camp criers, the stick man or arena director, singers and dancers, who could be anyone who wishes to dance.
Unique to this year’s Aboriginal Achievement Week, the university will host the first of a two-part Aboriginal Symposium. Part I: Taking Stock will celebrate achievements related to the Aboriginal framework, raise awareness across campus of current Aboriginal initiatives and celebrate their success. This event was identified as a commitment in the third integrated plan.
All events held throughout the week, including the Aboriginal Symposium, are open to the campus community and the general public. For more information, including a schedule of all events, please visit www.aboriginal.usask.ca.