Indigenous Strategy holds event to honour Indigenous students

Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has been celebrating the hard work, dedication, and achievements of its Indigenous students since 1990 with annual honour ceremonies. These events are open to all Indigenous students to recognize their hard work during the academic year.

“The theme for 2022 is ka-kistēyīmayak kitahcahkowinaw, which means to honour our spirit in Cree,” says Deanna Speidel, director of Indigenous Strategy at Sask Polytech. “The honour ceremony is a time to acknowledge and honour our Indigenous students’ spirits and encourage them to complete their studies. It’s an opportunity for Sask Polytech to give back to our Indigenous students and demonstrate our pride in their hard work this academic year.”

The 2022 Saskatchewan Polytechnic Honour Ceremony, presented by SaskTel, was held on March 24 virtually and in-person. Each campus held a small come and go event to watch the livestream together as a community.

“Thank you to our sponsor, SaskTel. This event would not be possible without your investment in our Indigenous students,” says Anita Cameron, Indigenous Strategy program head for the Indigenous Students’ Centres coordinators. “The celebration this year included an honour song and jingle dress performance by Buffalo Boy Productions and entertainment by the Qu’Appelle Valley Square Dancers. The jingle dance is a healing dance. Many of us still need healing from the uncertainty of the pandemic the last two years.”

“As Saskatchewan students have endured another challenging year of learning, SaskTel continues to make our future leaders a priority,” says Don Morgan, Minister Responsible for SaskTel.  “Supporting events like the Honour Ceremony is truly a privilege, and each and every student recognized at the ceremony should be proud of their achievements.  I congratulate each of you, and know you will go on to do great things in our province.”

Tyren Habicht, a Métis Instrumentation Engineering Technology student from Moose Jaw Campus, shared his educational journey with those in attendance and offered this advice to students, “Commit to the education goals you have set for yourself and push to make them come true. No one aspires to complete half a program, put your heart and soul into your work to make it to the finish line.” Tyren is also a 2022 Indigenous role model for Sask Polytech.

Shannon Custer-Armitstead, a Cree student from the northern community of Pelican Narrows, also shared her story. Custer-Armitstead is studying Correctional Studies at Prince Albert Campus and is an Indigenous student representative for the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Students Association (SPSA). “My experience at Sask Polytech has been welcoming and supportive as I move forward to pursue my education and career in law enforcement. My advice for student is if you love life, life will love you back. Sahkitah Kipimatisiwin."   

“It is my privilege to be a part of Sask Polytech’s Honour Ceremonies,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO. “I encourage our Indigenous students to envision the impact you will have on the future, your communities and the world around you. Each of you has unique talents. These talents, when combined with your Sask Polytech education will take you to levels you can only imagine. Congratulations on your academic achievements this year.” 

Sask Polytech is committed to the renewal of relationships — miyo wahkohtowin — with Indigenous communities. For Sask Polytech, this means we must integrate Indigenous ways of being, knowing, teaching and learning in everything we do. The honour ceremonies support miyo wahkohtowin.

The video from the 2022 Saskatchewan Polytechnic Honour Ceremony is below. It includes greetings from:

  • Elder Diane Kaiswatum
  • His Honour the Honourable Russ Mirasty, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan
  • Honourable Don Morgan, Q.C., Minister responsible for SaskTel
  • Third Vice Chief Alyson Bear, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations
  • Glen McCallum, Metis Nation Saskatchewan president
  • Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO
  • Dr. Has Malik, Sask Polytech provost and vice-president, Academic
  • Deanna Speidel, Sask Polytech Indigenous Strategy director
  • Tyren Habicht, Sask Polytech Instrumentation Engineering Technology student
  • Shannon, Sask Polytech Correctional Studies student

Saskatchewan Polytechnic is signatory to the SDG Accord. Sustainable Development Goal alignment is one of the ways Sask Polytech is leading the rise of polytechnic education.

People logo

Published March 2022.