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Sask Polytech releases updated five-year plan for Indigenous Student Success

The new Indigenous Student Success Strategy (2024-29) is called 'Wichitowin ahci kaskihtamâsowin ati nikan', which is Michif for 'helping each other with success for the future'
The Sask Polytech Moose Jaw campus is located at 600 Saskatchewan Street West

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has reaffirmed its commitment to a formal strategy for Indigenous success with the release of its latest five-year plan, continuing a legacy now 15 years old, aimed at enhancing recruitment, retention, and post-graduation success for Indigenous students.

The new Indigenous Student Success Strategy (2024-29) is called 'Wichitowin ahci kaskihtamâsowin ati nikan', which is Michif for 'helping each other with success for the future'. Michif is the most commonly spoken Métis language, a combination of French, Cree, English, and other Indigenous languages.

"In terms of stakeholder engagement in developing this strategy, we went through an intensive consultation with students, employees, First Nations, Métis groups, and more," explained Deanna Speidel. Speidel is from Sapotaweyak Cree Nation on Treaty 4 territory and is currently director of Indigenous Strategy for Sask Polytech. 

"We have close to 400 touch points to provide us feedback on where our strategy should go over the the next five years. We're still creating that welcoming, inspiring, empowering sense of belonging for prospective and current students coming to Saskatchewan Polytech, and the overall goal is to enhance our recruitment, our retention, and the achievements of Indigenous students across all our programs."

One new development, Speidel noted, is the creation of a community relations team within the Indigenous Strategy department. The team will work with rural and remote communities and schools with large populations of Indigenous students to recruit those students more proactively, as well as making sure they are aware of the opportunities offered by Sask Polytech.

"We're also really trying to embed a lot more of the Indigenous languages of the Saskatchewan area," she added, "which is part of the (Truth and Reconciliation Committee) calls to action. ... Saskatchewan Polytechnic is, I think, leading the rise of working with miyo wâhkôhtowin (Cree for interconnectedness and good relations), so this enhances all service areas, the entire organization has an investment. The Indigenous Student Success Strategy does not live just within this department — it's embedded throughout Sask Polytech."

In the 15 years since Sask Polytech’s first Indigenous student success plan was established, there have been several notable successes, including hosting the first Sask Polytech powwow to celebrate Indigenous traditions, celebrating a decade of publishing the annual Indigenous Role Model calendar, incorporating, teaching, and promoting ever more Indigenous language on campus, and international recognition for efforts to help Indigenous students reach their educational and career goals, notably the Education Award of Excellence from the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics.

"This new Indigenous Student Success Strategy will serve as our guide for the next five years as we build on efforts we began in 2009, providing Indigenous students at each of our campuses with a variety of services to enhance their experiences and remove barriers to success," said Dr. Larry Rosia, president and CEO of Sask Polytech.

"While I am proud of what we have accomplished, I acknowledge there is still work to do. My colleagues and I recognize that the cultural change necessary to fully embrace reconciliation will take time. Such change will also require willing hearts and minds — something our students, faculty, and staff have in abundance. Sask Polytech is committed to fostering an open and inclusive environment that embraces diverse cultures, heritages, and opinions."

Learn more about the strategy on the Sask Polytech website at

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