One single word can have a lot of power.
For years, Saskatchewan Polytechnic has used the term “Aboriginal” when discussing its First Nation, Métis and Inuit students and the programs and services designed to support them. However, the term has a murky past — it was not chosen by any group it refers to.
But, one single word can also be empowering. Which is why Sask Polytech is working to replace all references, across all campuses from “Aboriginal” to “Indigenous.”
Indigenous is a word developed by First Nation, Métis and Inuit people for First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples,” says Jason Seright, director of Indigenous Strategy, previously known as Aboriginal Strategy. “We strive to be an inclusive place of learning that fosters success for all who study and work here. We want everyone to feel welcome at Sask Polytech.”
Seright says that by ensuring inclusive language is used throughout the institution — from the classroom to the administrative offices — Sask Polytech can be an active participant in ensuring that Indigenous people across Saskatchewan, and the country, have an equal opportunity to achieve their educational and career goals.
“Removing references to ‘Aboriginal’ in our communications, teaching tools and language and replacing it with ‘Indigenous’ supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” says Seright. “We know that a big way of supporting our students is to ensure they can see themselves and their culture reflected in everything we do at Sask Polytech.”
As Sask Polytech gears up for a new cohort, it is pleased to go through various program and service name changes. Most notably, the Aboriginal Student Success Plan is now called the Indigenous Student Success Strategy.
“We want to empower our students, our colleagues and the future of Saskatchewan to be inclusive and welcoming to all people who live, work and play here. The best way to do that is to lead by example,” says Seright.
To learn more about the Indigenous Student Success Strategy, visit: saskpolytech.ca/indigenous.