Saskatchewan Polytechnic celebrates Indigenous cultures with new mural
Mural painted by Calgary artist Anna Krop helps to create a sense of belonging for Indigenous students
October 19, 2016 – The new mural at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Moose Jaw campus is another aspect of the institution’s indigenization efforts, which are developed towards reconciliation and long-term positive change. With enrolment for Indigenous students increasing 31 per cent since 2011-12, it is the responsibility of the entire organization to ensure every student feels welcome on our campuses.
“The Moose Jaw Aboriginal Student Achievement Plan committee set out with a theme of ‘gathering’ because we felt that Sask Polytech has really become a place where indigenous individuals come together and are supported by the community they are a part of,” says Jason Seright, director of Aboriginal Strategy.
“The mural project aligns with our strategic initiatives to increase the participation and success of Indigenous learners,” says Seright. “It also aligns with our Aboriginal Student Achievement Plan, which outlines a need to ensure our Indigenous students feel like they belong on our campuses and are valued members of our community.”
The mural, painted by Calgary artist Anna Krop, says the artwork reflects the notion of “walking with the spirit.” The mural was a collaborative process with the artist and Moose Jaw Aboriginal Student Achievement Plan committee.
“It is a vision of gathering and belonging that is reflected through the rich heritage of the Indigenous culture and the positive spirit of new learners,” says Krop. “It is a flowing story transforming from the past to the present. It is an example of all cultures coming together.”
Found within the artwork are images of dancers, symbolic animals, landscapes and historic scenery – all of which are elements of what Krop calls “Indigenous inspiration and reflection.”
Sask Polytech has 3,700 Indigenous students; these students make up more than 18 per cent of the total student population. Sask Polytech is committed to Indigenous students having an equal opportunity to succeed in their educational and career goals. As such, the Aboriginal Student Achievement Plan was developed to provide Indigenous students with a variety of services, developed to enhance the student experience and remove barriers to success. Last fall the Aboriginal Student Achievement Plan created an indigenization declaration to reinforce its commitment to the Indigenous community and Indigenization.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves 27,000 distinct students through applied learning opportunities at campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon, and through extensive distance education opportunities. Programs serve every economic and public service sector. As a polytechnic, the organization provides the depth of learning appropriate to employer and student needs, including certificate, diploma and degree programs, and apprenticeship training. Saskatchewan Polytechnic engages in applied research, drawing on faculty expertise to support innovation by employers, and providing students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.