University description (as per official university website)
Gabriel Dumont Institute Mission Statement: To promote the renewal and the development of Métis culture through research, materials development, collections and the distribution of those materials and the development and delivery of Métis-specific educational programs and services.
The 1996 Census of Canada estimated that 11% of Saskatchewan's population, or 109,540 people, were Aboriginal. Of this number at least 35,885 are identified as Metis (1999, Women's Secretariat). While non-Aboriginal society tends to be aging, the aboriginal population is extremely young in comparison with more than half of the population under 25 years of age. When one combines the fact that the bulk of the Aboriginal population is either currently in, or soon to enter, their childbearing years, with the fact that the birth rate among the Aboriginal population is three times greater than that of non-Aboriginal society, it is clear that the demographics of Saskatchewan will change dramatically in the near future (Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative, 1998). The Role of the School Interim Report (2000) stresses the significance of this changing demographic, "by 2016 a full one-third of Saskatchewan's population will be of Aboriginal descent and nearly half of the children ages 5 to 17 will be Aboriginal: already today, in some medium-sized urban centers, the student population of Aboriginal descent is estimated to be 40% and even higher. (p.55)"
Once these projections become reality, they will present a number of challenges for the province. Studies and statistics clearly indicate that the province's Aboriginal population experience higher levels of poverty and its accompanying social problems. It is also a well-known fact that Aboriginal people have not been able to access the benefits of post-secondary education to the same extent as the non-Aboriginal community. These social issues present a challenge for the province's future. If Aboriginal people are to become full participants in the provincial economy, we must find creative avenues to allow for the redistribution of wealth and work towards a new economic reality in which Aboriginal people are fully contributing participants. As a major constituent of Saskatchewan 's work force in the twenty-first century, Aboriginal people need greater access, input and participation into post-secondary educational institutions. To efficiently address these challenges, education and training must work in tandem with social, economic and employment strategies.
Overview of GDI
The Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research Inc. (GDI) was formally incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 1980, to serve the educational and cultural needs of the Saskatchewan Métis and Non-Status Indian community. The Institute is designated as the official educational arm of the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S). GDI offers a variety of accredited educational, vocational and skills training opportunities for the province's Métis in partnership with the University of Regina, the University of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, the province's various regional colleges and the Metis Employment and Training of Saskatchewan Inc.
As a completely Métis-directed educational and cultural entity, GDI is unique in Canada. At its inception, GDI focused on education through cultural research as a means to renew and strengthen the heritage and achievements of Saskatchewan's Métis. It soon became apparent, however, that the Institute would need to become more directly involved in education if it were to fully serve the multifaceted needs, including the employment needs, of Saskatchewan's Métis community.
As a result, the Institute began developing Métis-specific curriculum and historical publications. It also began to train Aboriginal teachers and to deliver programming contracted from the province's universities, colleges and technical institutes. The first and, perhaps the best known of these efforts, was the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP). In essence, SUNTEP trains Métis and First Nations teachers to meet the needs of the province's Aboriginal students in the K-12 system. SUNTEP also serves as a model for Aboriginal adult education programs across Canada.
Special Features of GDI Programs
All programs offered by the Gabriel Dumont Institute, the Dumont Technical Institute, and Gabriel Dumont College are designed with a number of special features:
Programs are, for the most part, community based.
Most programs offer a preparatory phase of training or run concurrent update courses with regular programming when the course begins.
All courses offer Métis Studies programming and are sensitive to Métis culture.
Programs provide comprehensive academic and personal counseling support to students.
Whenever possible an applied practicum phase is included as an integral part of all programs.
All training and professional education is fully accredited and recognized.
Instruction and programming is of the highest quality.
GDI provides the following programs and services to the province's Métis and non-Aboriginal communities:
Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP): Since 1980, over 650 educators have received a four-year Bachelor of Education degree from the program, which is offered in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.
Gabriel Dumont College (GDC): Delivers the first two years of a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree to both Métis and non-Métis and is offered in Saskatoon and in Prince Albert.
Dumont Technical Institute (DTI): Is GDI's largest component and is responsible for the design, development and delivery of Adult Basic Education, skills training, vocational and cultural programs. DTI's main office is in Saskatoon, with programming province-wide.
Library Information Services : GDI has its own Métis-specific library system – the largest owned by any Métis educational, cultural or political institution – with branches in Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert.
Curriculum and Publishing Department : Since 1985, GDI has developed more than 75 Métis-specific literary, cultural and educational resources. The Publishing Department is based in Saskatoon.
Finance and Administration : GDI's Department of Finance and Administration oversees the Institute's financial and personnel management.
Museum and Archives : In its Saskatoon centre, the Institute has a museum and archives, which includes traditional arts and crafts, oral histories, and a print, video and audio archival collection.
The Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture : In May 2003, GDI released The Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture in order to better share its extensive archival, cultural and learning holdings with the public.
Métis Cultural Development Fund : In partnership with SaskCulture Inc., GDI administers the Métis Cultural Development Fund, which provides funding to the province's Métis community for activities that preserve, strengthen and transmit Métis culture and traditions.
Gabriel Dumont Institute Scholarship Foundation - Napoleon LaFontaine Scholarships and SaskEnergy Scholarships : GDI provides scholarships to Métis applicants, living in Saskatchewan, enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited post-secondary institution in Saskatchewan.
Gabriel Dumont Institute Health and Wellness Program : Offers both scholarship and bursary support to encourage Saskatchewan Métis to enter into health-related careers associated with the advancement of Métis people.