The Office of the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement (OVPIE) and ConnectionPoint are ready to usher in some exciting new changes at the University of Saskatchewan.
In late 2019, the university identified issues with the ways honorariums were provided to Cultural Service Providers coming to campus to offer teaching, ceremonial leadership, and other cultural supports. The two offices collaborated over the past two years to create an improved streamlined submission and offering process for Cultural Service Providers.
Senior Strategic Officer, Indigenous Engagement, Matt Dunn explains that the changes were responsive to a need for the university to engage in a more culturally-appropriate and respectful approach to honouring the contributions of Elders, Elders-helpers, and Knowledge Keepers on campus.
“Being able to follow protocol such as the offering of tobacco and presenting a gift during or prior to the event is important,” said Dunn, emphasizing the importance of not taking a “pan-Indigenous approach” to these interactions because protocols can vary depending on the Elder or Knowledge Keeper that you are engaging with.
Dunn welcomes the changes to the honorarium process as a step towards the University Plan 2025’s goal to ‘Embrace Manacihitowin’ by supporting the guidepost of “policies and practices that honour Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and Language Teachers”. This new process is also in alignment with the Calls to Action and Markers for two of the Indigenous Strategy’s fundamental commitments: Stewardship and Right Relations.
Val Szydlowski, Manager at ConnectionPoint, said she and other members of the ConnectionPoint team collaborated with OVPIE to initiate these changes. Szydlowski describes ConnectionPoint as the backend support mechanism that ultimately delivered the new process after months of consultation. She says she hopes the new process will make it easier for the campus community to provide offerings to Cultural Service Providers in ways that are respectful and responsive to the differing protocols of Saskatchewan’s many Indigenous groups.
Find out more information on how you can engage with Cultural Service Provider on campus.
Adele Paul is a freelance writer based in Saskatoon.