Planning and Priorities Committee Reports
June, 2003 Progress Report:
Responding to the Needs of Aboriginal Peoples
At its May 23, 2002 meeting, University Council approved eight motions recommended by the Planning Committee to address the University’s goal of responding to the needs of Aboriginal peoples. These motions reflected Council’s responsibility for academic programs with focus on academic support for Aboriginal students. The motions contained seven recommendations for action, with the eighth motion requiring that the Planning Committee report back to Council about its progress in implementing the recommendations.
Background to the May 23, 2002 motions
The Planning Committee Subcommittee on the Aboriginal Goal developed last May’s recommendations following a series of meetings with faculty, staff and administrators involved in successful U of S initiatives for Aboriginal students. The conclusion of last year’s Subcommittee was that the University of Saskatchewan has already been offering a number of outstanding programs for Aboriginal students, directed by faculty and staff who are committed to the goal of responsiveness to the needs of Aboriginal peoples, but that several additional actions needed to be taken by departments, colleges and the university to advance these initiatives.
Among the outstanding U of S programs identified last year were:
· Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs (ATEP) and Indian Northern Education Program (INEP) in EducationWhy are these programs successful?
· Native Access Program in Nursing (NAPN)
· Program of Legal Studies for Native People (PLSNP) in Law
· Cameco Access Program for Engineering and Science (CAPES) in Engineering
· Commerce Aboriginal Business programs
· Aboriginal Students’ Centre and student services advising program
· Arts and Science programs for Aboriginal advising and support
· Aboriginal Justice and Criminology Program (ABJAC) in Sociology
· The programs offer an “Aboriginal” approach to learning, including the incorporation of Aboriginal knowledge and, though Elders, respond to the spirituality needs of students. Aboriginal culture is reflected and effective in defining program objectives.
· The programs are based on academic principles. Although social, political and economic issues are significant factors in the lives of Aboriginal students, and the programs recognize and respond to these factors, the programs are focused on providing academic support for students.
· The programs provide timely intervention at the appropriate time and level needed by students. The programs provide support and assistance to Aboriginal students at “transition” points in their academic careers – at the level of high school preparation, university entrance, and professional college entrance.
· The programs work collaboratively in partnership with Aboriginal leaders in program administration.
· The programs make significant efforts to be responsive to the stated needs of Aboriginal people. Each of these programs has developed and maintained a network of consultation and cooperation with Aboriginal educators and communities including post-secondary education counselors on reserves, the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, Gabriel Dumont College, Elders programs, and high schools at various locations across the province.
The recommendations for action contained in the May 23, 2002 motions were intended to advance academic support for Aboriginal students based on the principles and practices of successful models already in place in these campus programs, as well as to address several of the problem areas which were, in the Subcommittee’s judgment, impeding university progress. These included lack of visibility of the programs and little recognition of those directing and staffing the programs, inadequate and “soft” funding of these programs, and overwork of personnel.
Progress in 2002-03
Following the May 23, 2002 Council meeting, the motions were widely distributed to Colleges and to Council committees. In September, the Planning Committee Subcommittee for the Aboriginal Goal was reconstituted to monitor implementation of the motions and to participate in feedback on and review of the Foundational Document on Aboriginal Initiatives.
The 2002-03 Subcommittee members are: John Thompson (chair); Ruth Thompson, Ted Leighton, Bruce Waygood , Blair McDaid (USSU), Deborah Drake (GSA), Pauline Melis (VP Academic), Eric Howe (Budget Committee), Len Gusthart (Instructional Development Committee), Sam Robinson (Academic Programs Committee), Bill Archibold (Capital Planning Committee), and Cathie Fornssler (secretary).
University Events and Activities
The Subcommittee is pleased to report that the University, through the Office of the Provost and initiatives in colleges, has made significant progress throughout 2002-03 toward its goal of responding to the needs of Aboriginal people. The following are some of the events and activities:
· May 15-16, 2002: Workshop 1: Responding to the Needs of Aboriginal Peoples: Presentations of eleven Campus Aboriginal Initiatives
· June 19-21, 2002 Workshop 2: Responding to the Needs of Aboriginal Peoples: A Workshop on Practical Strategies for Student Support
· September 10, 2002: “Forging a New Relationship: Draft Outline of the Aboriginal Framework Document,” Acting Provost and VP Academic Ken Coates
· November 14, 2002: revised draft: “Forging a New Relationship: Initial Draft Outline of the Aboriginal Foundational Document,” Acting Provost and VP Academic Ken Coates
· November 15, 2002: Townhall presentation on Aboriginal Foundational Document by Acting Provost and VP Academic Ken Coates
· January 1, 2003: George E. Lafond appointed as Special Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Initiatives
· January 1, 2003: Maintaining northern mathematics and science access programs; appointment of David Cowan, College of Arts and Science
· March 14, 2003: “A First-Year Experience Program for Aboriginal Students at the University of Saskatchewan” (as of March, 2003), Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic Ken Coates
· March 14, 2003: 2nd draft: “Forging New Relationships: The Foundational Document on Aboriginal Initiatives at the University of Saskatchewan,” Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic Ken Coates.
· March 15, 2003: Workshop 3: Responding to the Needs of Aboriginal Peoples: Aboriginal Initiatives at the University of Saskatchewan: Progress and Priorities. Poster comments and evaluation available on U of S Provost’s Office website: http://www.usask.ca/vpacademic/integrated-planning/plandocs/foundational_docs.php
· April 21, 2003: revised 2nd draft: “Forging New Relationships: The Foundational Document on Aboriginal Initiatives at the University of Saskatchewan,” Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic Ken Coates.
· May 22, 2003: Council approved the following programs in Indigenous Peoples and Justice: B.A. Four-year and B.A. Honours in Aboriginal Public Administration; B.A. Four-year and B.A. Honours in Sociology with a focus on Indigenous Peoples and Justice ; Second Degree program in Arts & Science and Law (Indigenous Peoples and Justice) leading to LL.B. and Four-year or Honours B.A. in Sociology. These programs include implementation of the University’s first Indigenous Knowledge (IK) courses through the Priority Determination Project on “Indigenous Peoples and Justice” program
· Most College Plans now being developed in the context of the foundational documents, including the Aboriginal Foundational Document, are addressing issues related to academic preparedness, recruitment and support programs for Aboriginal students. Although these plans are not yet completed or approved by colleges, during their college Townhall presentations, deans identified a number of initiatives being considered. A partial list of these proposed initiatives is included in Appendix 1 for the information of Council.
Follow-up on Council Motions
The following reports the progress which has been made this year toward implementation of the 2002 Council motions. The experience over this year has demonstrated the need to follow up with several additional initiatives, and the development of the Aboriginal Foundational Document has provided a mechanism to focus on areas where action is needed.
1. Focus on Academic Preparation and Support
a) Academic Support
MOTION #1 (2002): That departments and colleges establish effective academic support services for Aboriginal students, for the fall of 2002.
As reported last year, one concern which faculty repeatedly mention is that the Aboriginal students now enrolled need academic support in their various courses. Failure rates for Aboriginal students are high. Charlotte Ross, Coordinator of Academic Programs for Aboriginal Students, Dean’s Office, College of Arts and Science, Coordinator of Academic Programs for Aboriginal Students, told the Subcommittee that in Arts and Science, 44% of the first-year intake either drops out or is Required to Discontinue. Not only is there a significant institutional cost to enrolling students who fail, but there are also societal and personal costs in the lost productivity of students who do not receive their degrees, and the human cost of blighted hopes and sense of personal failure. The Colleges of Nursing (NAPN) and Education (ATEP) provide models for how effective academic support can be provided in the contexts of ongoing courses. Nursing has been able to hire Aboriginal staff tutors who are capable of providing both academic and cultural support for Aboriginal nursing students. The tutors are sensitive to and knowledgeable about the challenges which many of our Aboriginal students face, and are, at the same time, knowledgeable in academic subject matter, skills, and skills instruction for the discipline. The ATEP programs have found that such academic support has to be concurrent with the teaching of the courses and have been successful in continuing such academic support throughout the program.
Progress report: The Planning Committee is unaware of any new academic support services for Aboriginal students at the departmental or college levels that were established during 2002-2003.
The Aboriginal Foundational Document addresses this issue in section II. Academic Programs, item 2, “Discipline-Based Support Programs for Aboriginal Students,” pp. 10-11. From the preliminary presentations of college plans, several such academic support initiatives are being proposed for 2004-2005.
As an example of such a support program, subcommittee member and GSA VP Academic Affairs Deb Drake is working with Dean Tom Wishart, CGSR, to develop a program whereby graduate students could be employed as special tutors for Aboriginal first-year and second-year students. Such a program would require financial commitment from the university to fund Graduate Service Scholarships. CGSR and the GSA are planning a pilot project for Fall, 2003. A brief statement of the CGSR project of graduate student tutoring/mentoring of Aboriginal students which is being included in the CGSR College Plan is included in Appendix 2 for information of Council.
b) Enriched Transition Programs for University-level studies
MOTION #2 (2002): That departments and colleges be encouraged to create enriched transition classes for Aboriginal students.
Enriched transition programs are designed to combine academic skills training, cultural adaptation and subject content in such areas as mathematics, science, and English. Examples of successful enriched transition programs can be found in the Program of Legal Studies for Native People (PLSNP) in the Native Law Centre, in the Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs (ATEP) in the College of Education, and University Transition Courses in the Arts and Science offered as a program of four summer courses which include orientation to University as well as academic skills training and course-specific tutoring. These programs and courses carry academic credit and are forward-looking to University requirements. They are not remedial. Because students receive academic credit, they can be financed for these studies through their band councils.
Progress report Some progress has been made at the university level. During this academic year and in response to Workshops 1,2, and 3 (see above), the Provost’s Office, based on wide consensus, has established transition issues as the top priority in the Aboriginal Foundational Document. In response to that priority, the Provost has agreed to undertake a university-wide transition program for Aboriginal students. (See “A First-Year Experience Program for Aboriginal Students at the University of Saskatchewan,” Appendix One to the Aboriginal Foundational Document, pp. 13-16.) This transition-year program is scheduled for initial implementation in 2003-2004, with a five-year timeline for full implementation. A coordinator for the program is being hired. Faculty are being recruited to participate in the program.
In January 2003, the College of Arts and Science appointed David Cowan, PhD to a full-time faculty position as Coordinator, University Preparation in Science and Mathematics for Aboriginal Students. In addition to research responsibilities, this position involves designing, coordinating and teaching transition courses in support of students, often of Aboriginal background, in their transition to university studies in programs involving substantial mathematics and science preparation.
c) Preparation for university in the elementary and secondary school system
MOTION #3(2002):That a task force on academic preparedness for Aboriginal students be established by the administration and Council to prepare a report on recommended actions.
The University has a serious responsibility to become involved at the community level, to establish a stronger presence in the minds of teachers, counselors, and students as an appropriate choice for high school graduates of Aboriginal ancestry. The CAPES program in Engineering and the ATEP programs in Education have provided models of how this can be done. These outreach programs work with high schools and communities to maintain and enhance student interest in academic study, to encourage young people and their families to envisage a university-based career, and to promote completion of high school as a crucial step toward embarking on such a career. Last year’s report suggested that the University must provide creative and cooperative leadership in academic programs to support high schools and grade schools, including working with elementary and secondary schools to support programs that enhance the academic preparedness of Aboriginal students for university entrance. This is a longer-term goal which involves coordination with schools and communities. Last year’s report emphasized, however, that the University needs to demonstrate both its acceptance of responsibility for these students and its initiative in establishing a working group to address collectively these interrelated issues of Aboriginal student success through coordinated strategies that match recruitment efforts with student support in order to increase retention rates
Progress Report: As noted above, University involvement in K-12 preparation is a longer-term goal. Although the suggestion of establishing a task force has not been implemented this year, the recommendation has been taken seriously as evidenced both in the appointment of George E. Lafond as Special Advisor to the President for Aboriginal Initiatives, and in one of the priorities of the Foundational Document for establishing partnerships both with other elementary and secondary education systems and with other Saskatchewan post-secondary institutions. See Aboriginal Foundational Document: p.2, 5th bullet; pp. 4-5; Recruitment of Aboriginal Students, pp. 7-8; and, the last two sections: V. Community Outreach, pp. 15-17 and VI. Next Steps, pp. 17-18.
2. Focus on Funding
MOTION #4(2002): Given the high priority of the Aboriginal Goal for the University, the Budget Committee should examine the funding of programs for academic support, enriched transition and outreach for Aboriginal students.
As was reported last year, a number of the existing U of S Aboriginal initiatives that are academic and enriched transition/support programs are funded from year-to-year, without clear assurance that either the funding or the level of funding will continue beyond that year. Concerns have been raised about the adverse effects such funding mechanisms have on the stability and continuity of these important programs as well as on the ability of the directors to engage in significant planning to meet changing and increased demands. As an example, the Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP), which is funded by annual federal grants, has three times more qualified applicants than the number of students who can actually be accepted into the present program. Although the program has developed significantly in meeting changing demands, the funding has not. Furthermore, because additional funding has not been available, ITEP has been unable to mount a secondary program to meet what is a clear and urgent need.
Progress report: The Budget Committee has looked into the general issue of funding for all Aboriginal initiatives associated with the University of Saskatchewan and has gathered information based on classifications and allocations provided by the Office of Financial Services.
The Budget Committee’s analysis has raised several issues. First, the present accounting system does not breakout and identify the funding and sources of funding for existing academic and enriched programs for Aboriginal students. It confounds the costs and sources of funding for such specific academic initiatives. In other words, the information provided underestimates the total funds/resources available to the University, and without further refinement, may not fully represent the resources available to specific initiatives. Some outside funding, while reported in other places, is not included in the reporting under Aboriginal initiatives.
Second, although the accounting system does not breakout specific academic support costs, it does indicate that Aboriginal initiatives associated with the University generally are proportionately underfunded from the regular University budget in comparison with the overall proportion of regular budget funding. The point is that the overall proportion of funding from regular sources available to Aboriginal programs compared to other programs is about 1% of $250 million.
The Budget Committee has raised the issue of fund raising support, both development/ fundraising personnel and administrative assistance, for Aboriginal academic initiatives. Such development and administrative assistance could have two beneficial effects. It could reduce the amount of time and effort expended by directors of academic Aboriginal initiatives in fundraising and in making applications for grants -- time and effort taken away from their academic mandate and work. Such development and administrative work could begin to develop sustaining financial support for these initiatives.
A central concern raised in last year’s report related to providing employment security for those persons engaged in these academic initiatives, increasing the visibility of their work, and moving these persons and initiatives within regular university funding associated with academic programs. Finding ways to move these initiatives within the base budget is one of the ways of addressing this concern.
The Aboriginal Foundational Document addresses this issue in the concluding section as a “Next Step,” p. 18, item 2:
A review of existing “soft money” programs and positions will be conducted by the Provost’s Office in 2003-2004 to see which programs should be transferred to base budget funding. Realignment and reallocations will be synchronized to coincide with decisions related to the outcomes of the college planning process.Finally, it should also be noted that the University has committed $90,000 in 2003-2004 as financial resources required for implementing the initial year of the transition year program, a five-year initiative See Appendix One to Aboriginal Foundational Document, p. 15.
3. Communications process for recruitment and retention of students
MOTION #5 (2002): In conjunction with progress in creating capacity and support for Aboriginal students, the University should develop a focused communications process to increase recruitment and retention of Aboriginal students.
Last year’s report noted that at present, the University of Saskatchewan has very little visible presence at the high school level in Aboriginal communities and in urban high schools which have a high proportion of Aboriginal students. It suggested that the University needs to work more closely with the network of post-secondary education counselors now in place on reserves, and guidance counselors and teachers in Metis and urban communities. The matter of this motion is also related to Motion 3 above.
Progress report: The Subcommittee agreed that the key aspect for implementation of this motion is to ensure that academic support programs for Aboriginal students are in place before additional attention is given to recruitment. We have to address the retention issue more effectively before we continue to recruit Aboriginal students who, based on our past experience, have a low probability of successfully completing first year. The Aboriginal Foundational Document addresses this concern in section 1. Student Affairs, pp. 5-10, and the specific issues of this motion under “Recruitment of Aboriginal Students,” pp. 7-8, items 1-4.
The reorganization of the Registrar’s Office and the Student Services Office into the Student and Enrolment Services Office now allows a coordinated focus on student recruitment and support activities. The draft Foundational Document on Enrolment and Student Success is also addressing the need for both recruitment and effective support.
The university-wide transition program, “A First-Year Experience Program for Aboriginal Students at the University of Saskatchewan” (Appendix One to the Aboriginal Foundational Document, pp. 13-16) is a significant effort undertaken to address the concern expressed in this motion, particularly the high dropout/failure rate. George E. Lafond, Special Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Initiatives, has begun consultations with band leaders and band counselors about these issues. Such consultation involves both the University and Aboriginal leaders and educators collectively addressing ways to increase the academic success of Aboriginal students.
4. Additional investigations
a) Student meeting facility
MOTION #6(2002): The Capital Planning Committee be asked to investigate the issue of an Aboriginal Student lounge/meeting facility.
Last year’s report noted the importance of creating a facility for Aboriginal students on campus. This matter was also raised at the Townhall meeting on November 15th at which the first draft of the Aboriginal Foundational Document was presented and discussed.
Progress report: The Capital Planning Committee held a number of meetings with Facilities Management, the Provost’s Office, and other relevant parties for decision-making on this matter, and reports that plans are being drawn up to meet the Aboriginal space needs. Acting Provost Ken Coates has now assumed leadership for this initiative, making it a matter of high priority. The Aboriginal Foundational Document addresses this issue in section IV, “Aboriginal Space on Campus,” pp. 14-15. When the Capital Planning Committee completes its term at the end of June, 2003, the Planning Committee will maintain oversight on this matter and will continue to press for timely and appropriate resolution. Even though this issue is not yet resolved, it is being addressed seriously by the Provost’s Office, the Capital Planning Committee, Facilities Management, and the Special Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Initiatives. Since this issue is complex and will not be addressed by a single space, it will take some time to carry out the appropriate consultations and to develop consensus. Although the $1.2 M dollars immediately available, does not fund much more than the renovation of an existing space and the construction of a relatively small new space, that money is scheduled to be spent on renovation of a facility and go toward the construction of a new facility. Despite the urgency on this matter, it is important to engage in the appropriate consultation processes to get this decision right. These are underway.
b) Aboriginal language teaching
MOTION #7 (2002): That the Academic Programs Committee be asked to investigate the issue of Aboriginal language instruction on campus.
Last year’s report noted that several programs in the area of teaching of Aboriginal languages have been suggested through the Extension Division's Indigenous Peoples Program, the College of Arts and Science, and the College of Education. These presentations noted the importance of Aboriginal languages to the Aboriginal community, and agreed that University presence in Aboriginal communities would be significantly enhanced if the U of S offered Aboriginal language instruction.
Progress report: Attached is a discussion paper developed by Sam Robinson (Education; member of the Aboriginal Goal Subcommittee) on behalf of the Academic Programs Committee on the issues raised by the teaching of Aboriginal Languages. (See Appendix 3.) This paper provides a careful overview of the various approaches, partners, and academic program/units presently involved in the teaching of Aboriginal Languages at the U of S . This overview, along with the concern to make the campus a culturally hospitable place for Aboriginal people, raises the issue of the role and significance of teaching Aboriginal languages in maintaining Aboriginal identity and culture. The matter is not simply one of language instruction and should not be reduced to a linguistic matter alone.
The Aboriginal Foundational Document also addresses this issue in section IV, Cultural Programs, item 3, “Aboriginal Languages,” p. 14.
This report responds to Council’s instruction in its final motion of May 23, 2002:
MOTION #8 (2002): That the Planning Committee be asked to report back to Council next Spring on the progress which has been made toward implementation of the above recommendations.
Given the goal established by Council in March 1998 of Responding to the Needs of Aboriginal Peoples as articulated in A Framework for Planning at the University of Saskatchewan, we can recognize that we are building on the significant achievements of a number of longstanding successful, though isolated and underfunded academic initiatives carried out by a small number of dedicated persons. These initiatives have operated without long term financial commitment by the University. In building on the work and commitment of these individuals, and extending these initiatives, we are now seeking to address these issues more systematically in the University as a whole through College plans within Integrated Planning. Among other things, this means making these Aboriginal academic initiatives more visible, more connected, better supported, and culturally more accepted and acceptable. It means their integration within the regular academic work and programs of the University. These efforts and hopes are reflected in “Forging New Relationships: The Foundational Document on Aboriginal Initiatives at the University of Saskatchewan,” the appointment of a Special Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Initiatives, establishing two Canada Research Chairs related to Aboriginal Issues, the approval of courses in Indigenous Knowledge, the development of a university-wide transition year program for Aboriginal Students beginning in 2003-2004. The process of formulating “Forging New Relationships” has also meant increased dialogue on campus about these issues: in Council and its committees, in Colleges and college-plans, in research and within a growing number of courses. A review of the Council’s motions of a year ago indicates that Council committees, Colleges and the University have continued to address key issues related to the academic success of Aboriginal peoples at the University.
Once the Aboriginal Foundational Document has been discussed by Council and has received Council approval, the Planning Committee will bring forward motions for Council’s consideration for monitoring and reporting on the continued implementation of the May 2002 motions reviewed in this report.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Subcommittee,
John Thompson, Chair
Partial listing of proposed items from College Plans presentations related to the Aboriginal Foundational Document
- Agribusiness, Summer employment, Transition programming, Ag Adventures
Arts and Science
- Coordinator of programs: university transition courses, Muskoday post-secondary readiness project, orientation
- science position this year; multi-college proposal underway for long-term support in the sciences
- aboriginal content in curriculum
- faculty appointments: two CRC chairs, Aboriginal literature, history, justice
Fine Arts and Humanities:
- Curriculum: list of courses on Aboriginal subjects already taught: Eng 350 Commonwealth Literature; Eng 399 Indigenous Storytelling; Span 420 Contemporary Central American Novel; Ling 342 American Indian Languages; Hist 150 Canadian History for the Indian Student from Earliest Times to the Present; Hist 250 Canada and Colonial Neighbours before 1800; Hist 257/8 History of Canadian Prairies; Hist 263 The Canadian North; Hist 264/5 Introduction to the History of Native-Newcomer Relations; Hist 351/5 Canadian Social History; Hist 451 History of Native-Newcomer Relations in Canada; Hist 452 The Canadian North from 1870; Hist 460 The Canadian Prairies, 1969-1939; Hist 372 Revolution and Social Change in Latin America; Hist 373/4 Race, Class, and Gender in U.S. History; Hist 376 Native Society under Spanish Colonial Rule; Hist 377 Rural Communities and the State in Latin America; Hist 385 Central American History (Antigua); WGST 453 Women, Health, and Body; ArtH 252 First People’s Art History; ArtH 322 Picturing the West: Representing the American and Canadian Frontiers, 1820-1940; ArtH 323 European Colonialism in the Visual Arts 1880-1920; ArtH 437 Post-colonial Issues in Contemporary Canadian Art; Drama 298 The Native Theatrical Tradition;
- Research: SSHRC-Sponsored in History (Canada Research Chair in Native-Newcomer Relations), Art History, English, Education, Women’s and Gender Studies.
-Mentions recruitment, student support services (Transition Program, Writing Centre); Role-Model Speaker Series.
- Plans: ITC in research (mapping Aboriginal orature)
- Intends Native Studies restructuring for graduate training
- Evolving initiatives: lists University of the Arctic, Aboriginal communities;
- Aboriginal Public Admin program; Aboriginal justice in Sociology; IK (Indigenous Knowledge) courses
- One of areas identified for improvement is Aboriginal student success
- Initiatives Related To Recruitment and Retention of Aboriginal Students -
The College is a leader in this area: but we are considering what more needs to be done. Current student enrolments 57 BComm, 6 MBA, 1 MPAcc, 32 CIBA
- Aboriginal Business Administration programs described, including visiting scholar program.
-Aboriginal quota positions available
-Rural and Northern Outreach listed in development strategies section
-SUNTEP (Saskatoon, Prince Albert) -Provincial Funding G.D.I.
-SUNTEP (Saskatoon) -Provincial Funding
-NORTEP -Provincial Funding & Northern Lights S.D.
-NWTTEP -Northwest Territories Funding
-Elders in Residence Program
-Native Resource Centre
-Counselling – academic and crisis
-Tutoring (individual when needed)
-Cree and Saulteaux Language Programs
Initiatives – Centre for Aboriginal Teacher Education: will coordinate ATEPs, prepare secondary teachers, develop course-based Masters programs, Aboriginal research; Aboriginal language program, Community outreach (off campus programs)
-Continuation of CAPES program.
Indigenous People’s Program:
- community-university research on Aboriginal housing and sustainable communities
- workshops, symposia, Aboriginal language training
- Iswewak Emerging Youth Leadership program, including international internships
- transition classes for Aboriginal students
- enhancing indigenous knowledge programs
Graduate Student Tutoring and Support program under development
Initiatives, Development, Challenges
- ensure accessibility – financial aid
- address retention issues
- develop a coordinated relationship among College of Law, Native Law Centre, Indigenous Peoples’ Justice initiative, other university programs, Aboriginal community
Goals and Outcomes
- greater success in LLB program
- greater participation in LLM program
- attract national and international LLM students
- improved research productivity in Aboriginal issues
- greater interdisciplinary research initiatives
Also: slides on Native Law Centre
- Aboriginal Resources scholarly portal – content and community; a Campaign 100 proposal
Aboriginal Initiative mentioned but no details on powerpoint
College wants to enhance NAPN staffing, expand this type of service to other health sciences.
Pharmacy and Nutrition:
Undergraduate programs – one of Challenges listed is to increase Aboriginal applications; to integrate curriculum content on Aboriginal health to become better practitioners; mention of Aboriginal advisor.
- mention of partnerships with tribal councils
no specific initiatives listed. Provision for special admission of up to two qualified Aboriginal students per year under an equity access program outside of Provincial quota admission (5th year of program).
From Tom Wishart, Dean, College of Graduate Studies and Research, Associate VP (Research )
Aboriginal Tutoring/Mentoring Program
As part of its College Plan, CGSR, in collaboration with the Graduate Students’ Association, proposes a tutoring/mentoring program in support of undergraduate Aboriginal students in specific courses beyond first year. The main goal of the program is to ensure the academic success of Aboriginal students who have completed one-year of university but who are experiencing academic difficulties within a course. Those courses which have high failure/drop-out rates by Aboriginal students will be identified. Working with the instructor, a graduate student of that department will be appointed as a tutor/mentor for the enrolled Aboriginal students. (S)he will work under the supervision of a program coordinator and in consultation with the course instructor to monitor student performance and to assist them to comprehend the course material. An academic advisory board, with a chair, composed of faculty knowledgeable about Aboriginal issues will be established to oversee the program and to monitor outcomes.
The personnel needed to mount this program include a program coordinator (ASPA II),and graduate students funded by Graduate Service Fellowships (GSFs). The program will including training graduate students as academic tutors and mentors such that they become fully aware of: (a) general academic skills needed by undergraduates, (b) perspectives and skills specific to the graduate students' fields and the undergraduate class, (c) Aboriginal awareness, (d) introduction to Aboriginal knowledge, and (e) awareness of campus support services available to Aboriginal students. The coordinator and the graduate student tutors would work in collaboration with the faculty members teaching the specific classes. All non-academic issues would be referred to the appropriate student services offices.
As a pilot program during 2003-2004, CGSR, in collaboration with the Graduate Students’ Association, will provide four graduate students with GSFs to serve as tutors to Aboriginal students in four key courses, identified by directors/coordinators of Aboriginal initiatives on campus. These tutors would receiving training and would also work with course instructors. This pilot will help identify issues which need to be addressed in putting into effect the tutoring/mentoring program within the CGSR plan for 2004-2005.
• The following are goals of the graduate students' tutoring/mentoring program for the academic success of Aboriginal students:
• to provide discipline-specific academic tutoring and support for Aboriginal students in designated courses in a timely and continuing fashion;
• to provide graduate students with tutoring/teaching experience with undergraduate students within their fields, in collaboration with faculty;
• to increase graduate students' awareness of Aboriginal issues and provide an opportunity for Aboriginal students to interact with graduate students;
• to provide meaningful work with funding for graduate students, related to future needs of graduate students as faculty, Aboriginal students, and the University;
• to foster a campus cultural context more conducive to and inclusive of Aboriginal students and culture.
Academic Programs Committee Report
Aboriginal Languages at the University of Saskatchewan: A Discussion Paper
I have prepared this paper in the context of three directives that form part of the University’s planning procedures
Directives for APC Consideration around Aboriginal Languages
Ø A Framework for Planning at the University of SaskatchewanThese three recent documents present the intent within the University to enhance Aboriginal education, and to develop strong, appropriate courses and programs to achieve this goal. The focus of this paper is the place of Aboriginal languages within the University plans and programmes.
Goal #4 – Responding to the needs of Aboriginal peoples.
Ø Responding to the Needs of Aboriginal Peoples, University Council, May 23,2002
Motion #7 - That the Academic Programs Committee be asked to investigate the issue of Aboriginal language and instruction on campus.
Ø Forging a New Relationship: Initial Draft Outline of the Aboriginal Foundational Document (Ken Coates, November 14, 2002) Undergraduate Academic Programming. It is crucial that the University offer the right kind of undergraduate degrees, in accessible formats, and with careful attention to opportunities to incorporate (according to appropriate protocols) indigenous knowledge into the courses and programs....
#3 Develop cultural awareness programs for faculty, with a particular emphasis on how to build appropriate Aboriginal content into their courses....
#5 Investigate mechanism for the appropriate inclusion of Aboriginal knowledge in university courses
#8 Enhance existing programs by providing stronger Aboriginal content, where appropriate.
#9 Encourage the development of new programs with a strong Aboriginal focus....
In thinking about Aboriginal languages within the University’s programmes, I suggest that APC consider the following issues as fundamental to any decision about Aboriginal languages:
Is the place of Aboriginal languages in the University program an issue of second-language teaching?Vision
Is the place of Aboriginal languages an issue of placing into the University’s programme living languages that are part of an existing culture, indigenous to Saskatchewan?
Some Aboriginal scholars on campus have a vision for the place of Aboriginal language at the University of Saskatchewan. They see our campus involved not only teaching about these languages, but teaching in these languages – as the language of instruction. They stress the importance of such a vision because much of the Aboriginal culture and spirituality is carried in the language, something which cannot be adequately conducted in English.
Nature of Aboriginal Languages in Saskatchewan
In Saskatchewan, there are four dominant Aboriginal languages: Cree, Saultaux, Dene, Siouan. Cree has three dialects: y, l, th; Siouan also has three variations: Lakota, Dakota, and Assiniboian. In addition, there is a Métis language, Mechif, spoken mainly around Ile a la Crosse.
APC needs to consider the unique status of these languages, and to know that our University has a different relationship with them than, say, modern European languages. The task of the University is to teach the modern, European languages that have a homeland elsewhere. The task of the University with Aboriginal languages is different: to maintain the Aboriginal languages because Saskatchewan is their homeland. The University, then, has a moral responsibility to those who speak Aboriginal languages that does not exist for speakers of other languages taught on campus.
Aboriginal languages are increasingly threatened with extinction, a fact that provides the University with a unique task – to become involved with the maintenance of a living language. This realisation invites a different way of seeing language instruction, and a different purpose for including Aboriginal languages in the University’s programme.
Delimitation of This Discussion Paper
Issues of language are often difficult and easily raise the anxiety of those thinking about them. For efficiency of discussion, I have delimited the consideration in this paper to issues of programme (and not budget). Issues of curriculum and instruction are the prerogative of other committees and no doubt the Department of Native Studies.
Programme: the University’s overall concern with the teaching of Aboriginal languages. Appropriate questions are the existence of such programmes, the languages covered, academic responsibility for such programmes.
Curriculum: issues around curriculum are the prerogative of a home department. Decisions around curriculum will go through the expected approval process for change: College Academic Committee; Academic Programs Committee, and Council where appropriate.
Instruction: issues of instruction are the prerogative of a home department and College. These issues include hiring of faculty, evaluation of students, and evaluation of instructors.
Current Achievements in Instruction Aboriginal Languages
The University has a long history of involvement in Aboriginal languages, a history integrated with the development of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs (ATEPs). The information below summarizes courses offered at (or through) the University of Saskatchewan in the current year: 2002-2003. In short, Aboriginal languages are being taught. Because of an absence of coordination, these courses are dispersed; they have grown in a topsy-turvy manner. It is clear that the ATEPs have gone off on their own direction, extending their offerings beyond those available in the Department of Native Studies.
Native Studies Department
The Department offers three classes in Cree: 2 sections of Introductory Cree 101.6; 1 section of Intermediate Cree, 120.6. Class enrolment is limited to 35 students per section. The Native Studies Department administers the courses. They have contracted these courses to the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, who hire instructors and consider all academic matters.
The Aboriginal Teacher Education Programs (ATEPs)
Note: SUNTEP has made an Aboriginal language compulsory in its programs
Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ITEP)
ITEP teaches three levels of Cree; classes are taught by a member of ITEP’s staff. The Cree courses are Cree 101.6 – Introductory Cree (18 students), and Cree 120.6 – Intermediate Cree (12 students). In addition, ITEP offers a third level Cree course: Edind 220.6 – Advanced Oral and Written Cree for Teachers (10 students); this course is taught in Cree. ITEP sends students who require a course in Dene to the SIFC campus, in Saskatoon. In addition, ITEP is currently preparing an introductory course in Saulteaux/Ojibway.
Northern Indian Teacher Education Program (NORTEP) and Northern Access Program (NORPAC)
NORTEP teaches courses in Cree and Dene. During this year, NORTEP offered Cree 100.3 (17 students), Cree 103.3 (1 student), Cree 105.3 (8 students) and Dene 101.3 (1 student) and Dene 105.3 (5 students). These courses are SIFC courses, although NORTEP/NORPAC hires the instructors, who are often staff of these programs.
Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program/Prince Albert (SUNTEP/PA)
SUNTEP/PA offers one class, Cree 100.3 (25 students) through Gabriel Dumont College and SIFC.
Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program/Saskatoon (SUNTEP/Saskatoon)
SUNTEP/Saskatoon offers Cree 101.6 (2 sections of 30 students) through Gabriel Dumont College and the Native Studies Department.
CILLDI – Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute
Through Extension Studies, this program is jointly offered by the University of Alberta and the University of Saskatchewan as a summer institute, focussing on Aboriginal languages and literacy.
· The teaching of Aboriginal languages is well established within the University’s programme.
· Much of the advanced work in Aboriginal languages has occurred with the ATEP programmes who have had to seek their own solutions, outside the Native Studies Department and the College of Arts and Science.
· The issue of Aboriginal languages presents an urgent and unique opportunity for language instruction on campus: language maintenance.
The issue for the Academic Programs Committee is to respond to the Council Question: to investigate the issue of Aboriginal language and instruction on campus. The concern, then, is to understand the context for Aboriginal language instruction and to advise Council on a course of action.
Embedded in a discussion of Aboriginal languages is the question of quality of instructors. Unlike most other disciplines within the University, qualified instructors are not being educated in other programmes, at other universities. If the University moves into Aboriginal languages, it will need to consider as part of the language equation the development of instructors: initial hiring, support for materials development, educational leaves.
Indeed, the issue of appropriate faculty can be conceptualized differently, from an Aboriginal perspective. A number of people in the Saskatoon area are interested in Aboriginal language development, and would no doubt readily become involved. For the most part, these people are not academics. This raise an interesting position. “The experts in the North American Intellectual Tradition should not have to have Eurocentric intellectual credentials to teach about the knowledge of the North American Intellectual Tradition.” Such a change undoubtedly involves a change in perspective within the University: to value the knowledge from Aboriginal cultures and with an Aboriginal epistemology.
· To invest in another institution responsibility for Aboriginal languages or to develop, perhaps enhance, existing programmes. The argument for contracting out such courses is mainly one of efficiency: this is one area of expertise that an over-stretched university would not have to fund, as well as quality: the expertise for Aboriginal languages resides with SIFC.
· The opposing argument is that Aboriginal languages are so inherently involved with Aboriginal culture it is not wise, indeed impossible, to separate language from culture. That is, our University cannot possibly achieve Goal #4 without making Aboriginal languages central to the University’s programmes.
· To continue with the Department of Native Studies’ decision to contract Aboriginal languages to the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College.----------------------------------------------------o the rationale here concerns cost effectiveness and expertise. Because SIFC is the Indian university in Saskatchewan, it makes logical sense to integrate the U of S offering with those of SIFC.
· To support the Native Studies Department (e.g. the Department of Languages and Linguistics) in developing expertise with Aboriginal languages within the campus community.
· To support the ATEPs in their development of Aboriginal language courseso the ATEPs have a track record of developing such courses, and their courses directly serve the needs of Aboriginal students.
o the ATEP programmes are charged with developing teachers with language competence, a crucial component of a provincial plan to maintain any Aboriginal language.
· To investigate potential offerings through the Indian Cultural Centre in Saskatoon, who have a long history with Aboriginal languages.
I have attached two Appendences to this report. Appendix A is a summary of the University history with Aboriginal languages. Appendix B provides excerpts from Dr. Cecil King’s paper in which he addresses the issue of Aboriginal knowledge and Aboriginal language.
These appendences provide a short summary of issues around Aboriginal languages, detailing their importance to the Aboriginal community. They also suggest the ways the University of Saskatchewan might change to include Aboriginal knowledge – a need to go beyond including an Aboriginal perspective to achieve the opportunity to add an Aboriginal worldview, and epistemology, to our intellectual community.
Appendix A: Background Information
From its beginnings, the University has had a commitment to the teaching and study of Aboriginal languages. The University, first located in Prince Albert, was created by federal charter in 1883. Indian languages were an integral part of the curriculum, as was agriculture.
The Indian and Northern Education Program (INEP) was involved in a pilot project, in 1972, around Aboriginal languages in Saskatchewan First Nations communities. Working with representatives from the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College, Indian Affairs, and others, INEP initiated courses with an Aboriginal focus. The initial pilot involved teachers who taught Cree enrolled in a series of Intersession and Summer Session courses designed specifically to teach strategies to language teachers.
The foundation courses about First Nations were originally taught in the Department of Anthropology, but were transferred to the Native Studies Department. The assumption was that the First Nations languages should be developed and delivered by First Nations people and be housed in the Native Studies Department. This was not necessarily the opinion of all First Nations people, some of whom believed that First Nations languages should be in the Modern Languages Department, with French, German, Ukrainian, and so forth.
The study of Aboriginal languages did not develop within the Native Studies Department. Perhaps because no faculty member was hired in this area, the Department grew in a different direction, and the language courses listed in the calendar were taught mostly as night classes, by sessionals.
Two simultaneous events occurred. The INEP programme taught Aboriginal languages to teachers, often buried in the disguise of methods of teaching language. And the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College (now Centre) moved off campus because this institution felt it would never achieve its dream: recognition as a College within the University of Saskatchewan.
By default, the ATEPs began to pick up classes from the University of Regina.
In 1988, the Assembly of First Nations undertook with federal government funding a study to “Pursue and investigate the feasibility of an ongoing mechanism as required by Aboriginal people to insure the survival and revitalisation at the community level of its aboriginal languages.” The Foreword to this document provides an understanding of the perspective of the First Nations people in the 1980s with regard to their language crisis:
Because of the systemic deterioration of Aboriginal languages in Canada, supported by assimilation efforts such as the residential school experience, only three languages (Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut) have strong chances of survival; eight languages within are facing extinction; twenty-nine are deteriorating rapidly due to the minimal number of young speakers, and thirteen languages are moderately endangered.These facts concluded by a 1982 Museum of Man Study paint a dismal picture of the state of aboriginal language in Canada today.
Even though the heroic efforts of a few committed individuals and organizations involved in language retention activities must be recognized, much more commitment and action is needed on the part of First Nations and government alike, if our linguistic legacy is to survive.
Eli Taylor, of the Sioux Valley Reserve in Manitoba, provided a strong rationale for the revitalization of Aboriginal languages in Canada. He said:
Our native language embodies a value system about how we ought to live and relate to each other.... It gives a name to relations among kin, to roles and responsibilities among family members, to ties with the broader clan group.... There are no English words for these relationships because your social and family life is different from ours. Now if you destroy our language, you not only break down these relationship, but you also destroy other aspects of our Indian way of life and culture, especially those that describe man’s connection with nature, the Great Spirit, and the order of things. Without our language we will cease to exist as a separate people.
In a follow-up document, the chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations, provided their final resolution on the Aboriginal Language Policy Statement. The following “whereas” summary provides a belief statement, statements which reflect the urgency felt in the First Nations communities to take whatever action necessary to stem the loss of their languages.
Whereas Aboriginal languages are key factors in the realization of self-determination and in our survival as distinct peoples; and
Whereas the federal government has promoted the systemic destruction of our Aboriginal languages through such assimilation efforts as residential schools; and
Whereas the First Nations realize the urgent need to revitalize and protect Aboriginal languages.
The state of urgency is embedded in Albert Lightning’s statement, in 1972:
All other peoples in Canada can go to their homeland to retrieve and revitalize their languages and culture; we the First Peoples of this land have no where to go. When our language and culture is lost, it is lost to the world forever.It is instructive to contrast the response at the University of Saskatchewan to the feeling of urgency of the First Nations peoples. In a report on Aboriginal languages, Shirley Fredeen delivered a report to a committee of the Indian Cultural Centre (March, 1992). Fredeen wrote:
At present, the teaching of Cree at the University of Saskatchewan is in a state of crisis. While Aboriginal language programs fall within the mandate of the Department of Native Studies, adequate resources to mount programs in this area have not been made available to the Department.
Fredeen went on:
Changes within the University of Saskatchewan and other post-secondary institutions, changes within the k-12 school system, and demographic trends in Saskatchewan all indicate that the demand for Cree classes, and indeed classes in other Saskatchewan Aboriginal languages, will continue to grow. Therefore, a Cree program at the University of Saskatchewan must do more than simply accommodate those students who currently require Cree classes. It must anticipate future needs. The University presently has an English Department, a French Department, a Modern Languages Department, together which provide programs in Canada’s immigrant languages. These include both our official languages: English and French; and many of our Heritage languages, including Spanish, Ukrainian, German, Polish, Russian, and Norwegian. Yet those languages indigenous to Saskatchewan are not represented in the form of departmental status, faculty members, degree programs, or research. (Fredeen, March, 1990)
Excerpts from Dr Cecil King’s Paper/ Queen’s University
To further examine the centrality of Aboriginal languages to Aboriginal culture, knowledge, and world view, I have included excerpts from a speech by Dr. Cecil King, an Odawa Indian, who at the time he delivered this paper was a professor at Queen’s University.
Cecil King. (1993). Towards a More Inclusive Curriculum. A paper presented to the Council Of Ontario Universities/Ontario Council on Graduate Studies, Conference on Educational Equity in Ontario University, May 21.
Language according to psycho-linguists, are a people’s window on the world. Our Odawa language is a Gift from the Maker and as such expresses our reality in terms of the Order that the Maker gave. Our language embodies and conveys our worldview. We express and talk about the world in ways provided by our language. Therefore, an Odawa speaker sees the world through a different window than those with other Mother tongues. To give you an example of how this works with my language –
In the Odawa language the interdependence that is part of our philosophy is an integral part of the language itself. Our language is structured around the animate-inanimate sense of all things. In the Odawa language all things are either animate or less animate. The designation of a thing as animate dictates the grammatical structure used in describing it. (p. 3)
Further, just as cultures differ in the structure of their languages, they also differ in the structure of oral discourse. Learning to communicate means learning what to say (i.e. words, phrases, meanings, structure), who to say it to (i.e. role perception, status hierarchies), who you are (self-concept), how to say it (affective components, non-verbal cues, intonation, stress), why you say it (intentions, values, assumptions, attitudes), when you say it (time), and where you say it (place) – language is not learned in isolation from the cultural context to which it naturally belongs. Odawa individuals as children learn all of the above mentioned aspect of communication. This is part of what Odawa students bring with them to your institutions. (p. 4)
This was the framework of existence that governed my people until the newcomers came. It is into this world then that the newcomers intruded bringing with them a new way of defining and describing the world, the relationship with the Earth, the plants, wisdom grounded on the perception of the primacy of humankind over all things and the primacy of European humankind over North American humankind. The Western intellectual tradition soon relegated my people to the position of “red objects” to be exploited with the flora and the fauna in pursuit of the European view of progress. (p. 5)
If you are serious about braiding Indian content into the curriculum or weaving a Metis sash of knowledge into your institutions, you must engage your faculty and the community in a discussion of what is defined as legitimate knowledge and who in your institutions make these judgments.
To create a more inclusive curriculum, institutions must be prepared to be open and respectful of other forms of knowledge and must share time, space, and status in the curriculum with the bearers of other views of what constitutes legitimate knowledge. (p. 6)
I want you to think especially about the system of knowledge that I have shared with you. How could you assist an Odawa student to emerge from your institution as a better educated Odawa. Is Ojibwe taught in your program? If it is, is it housed in the Modern Languages area, or is it hived off from the more “recognized modern languages” into the Anthropology Department or the Native Studies unit? Think about how the location of my language in your institution conveys a message about how interested you are in the knowledge of my people. (p. 7)
It is not enough to have white scholars dredge the archives to put brown faces in the otherwise white story. Aboriginal peoples must feel that their knowledge is respected, and deemed legitimate worthy knowledge. (p. 7)
The Aboriginal Peoples of Canada are the founding peoples of this land. Our cultures, our languages, our ways of relating to each other have come from the land. What makes us either Cree, or Metis, or Inuit, or Mohawk is not the statistics of how many suicides are in our communities, or of how poor we are – but is our different way of seeing the world around us – our relationships with our Manitou, Mother Earth, the Plants, Animalkind, and other Human Beings. This is our Essence. This is our soul. (p. 9)