At the U of S, we have one of the highest populations of Aboriginal students among Canadian post-secondary institutions. You will learn in a culturally aware and academically stimulating environment that provides:
- gathering places for the development of community
- groups and services that provide cultural and spiritual support
- programs to help new students transition to university life
- academic programs with a specific focus on Aboriginal content
We know the importance of having gathering places for the development of community. Across our campus, there are several groups that can provide cultural and spiritual support.
The Aboriginal Students' Centre (ASC) is an inclusive gathering space for students to come before, after and between classes to study, use a computer, connect with other students or access services, such as:
- academic skills workshops
- cultural ceremonies (e.g. pipe ceremonies, sweat lodges)
- information sessions about campus services
- soup and bannock (twice a month)
- traditional teachings
Aboriginal students new to campus are encouraged to stop by the ASC and enjoy a free cup of coffee and meet the staff. Students can access transition supports as well as learn about opportunities to get involved in campus life, develop their leadership skills or become a mentor to other Aboriginal students.
The U of S has begun construction of the new Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre, which will be a vibrant, inclusive gathering place that welcomes everyone—Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike—to come together and learn from each other in respectful ways.
Designed by well-known architect Douglas Cardinal, who is of Métis and Blackfoot heritage, the new centre will house both the Aboriginal Students' Centre and the Indigenous Students' Council, with additional space for learning and ceremonies.
Construction of the centre is well underway and is slated to be completed in early 2015. Check out the live webcam feed of the construction site to see the centre's progress.
The Indigenous Students’ Council (ISC) is a U of S student group that aims to unify and engage Aboriginal students on campus through cultural, academic and leisure activities. The council, which is comprised of eight students, plans and implements programs to fulfill its mission.
One ISC initiative is the Role Model Program, which is designed to connect Aboriginal students at the U of S with Aboriginal students in high school. The goal of the program is to raise awareness about the post-secondary opportunities available to young students. For more information about the Role Model Program and the ISC, email i.s.c.@usask.ca.
Many colleges at the U of S have specific support programs for Aboriginal students.
The College of Arts and Science's Aboriginal Student Achievement Program (ASAP) helps first-year Aboriginal students develop a community on campus, improve their academic skills, and set academic and career goals. In the ASAP Learning Communities, a small group of Aboriginal first-year students register in a common set of three classes, including courses such as psychology, English and biology.
In addition to sharing a common classroom experience, the students gather as a smaller community in a weekly LC hour guided by two successful senior students, where they learn about career options, study together, participate in cultural activities and get involved in the larger community. Extra tutorials to work on essential academic skills are also provided.
The Rawlco Resource Centre at the Edwards School of Business is one of the few dedicated spaces for Aboriginal students in business schools across Canada. Business students can use the centre for studying, group project work, research, meeting classmates and lounging.
The Native Access Program to Nursing (NAPN) recruits and supports Aboriginal students interested in or enrolled in the University of Saskatchewan undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.
Aboriginal nursing advisors in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert work with students to build community through gatherings and peer networks, provide academic and personal advisement and facilitate tutoring, mentorship and referrals to culturally appropriate supports as requested. NAPN advisors are also available to provide information and referrals for childcare, housing, funding and other concerns.
In its 40th year, the Program of Legal Studies for Native People (PLSNP) is an eight-week summer course in property law that prepares Aboriginal students for admission to, and success in, law studies at universities across Canada. The goal of the PLSNP is to increase the number of Aboriginal lawyers in Canada’s legal profession.
Students who want to gain exposure to the health-care field may participate in the Aboriginal Student Mentorship Program. The College of Medicine will arrange for students to spend a half or full day with a physician, giving students the opportunity to meet medical students, doctors and other health-care workers.
The college’s Aboriginal programming and initiatives also include equity seats, scholarships, summer employment, the sharing of Indigenous knowledge, curriculum development and a warm and welcoming environment for community members, students and families.Jonathon, of Saskatoon and Star Blanket First Nation, has completed his second year of medical school. Studying medicine is the fulfillment of a “life-long dream” for Jonathon, who wants to become a psychiatrist.
The following programs have a specific focus on Aboriginal content.
- Arts and Science Transition Program
- Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Certificate
- Aboriginal Justice and Criminology
- Aboriginal Public Administration
- Native Studies
- Aboriginal Business Administration Certificate
- Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP)
- Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP)
- Northern Teacher Education Program (NORTEP)
- Aurora College Teacher Education Program (ACTEP)
If you have questions about applying for funding offered by your band or tribal council, contact your high school or post-secondary counsellor in your school or community. Visit our Band Funding page for more details, including contact phone numbers for Saskatchewan communities.
Scholarships and Awards
Thousands of scholarships, bursaries and awards are awaiting U of S students, and many are designated specially for students of Aboriginal ancestry. To search for awards aimed specifically at aboriginal students, enter “Aboriginal” as a keyword in the Awards Search database.
Other awards not administered by the U of S are also available:
- Aboriginal Multi-Media Society Scholarship/Bursary Guide
- Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Aboriginal Bursary System
Proof of Aboriginal Ancestry for Entrance Awards
Proof of Aboriginal ancestry is required for the purpose of eligibility to receive certain entrance awards for Aboriginal students. The following outlines what documentation is and is not accepted:
- photocopy of a Métis Nation Card
- letter from a First Nation Band or Métis Nation
- photocopy of an Indian Status Card
- family trees
- letters or notes from relatives
- photographs of grandparents, parents, relatives, etc.
Need help settling in Saskatoon? There are supports and services available.
- Child care
- Housing and Residence
- USSU Food Centre - provides emergency food hampers to students in financial need, and offers fresh, nutritious food though the CHEP Good Food Box program.
- Universal Bus Pass (U-Pass) - allows for unlimited travel on Saskatoon city buses for qualified undergraduate students