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3 post-secondary institutions sign agreement to help Indigenous students in Saskatchewan

The Oẏateki Partnership aims to support 32,000 First Nations and Métis youth on their path to employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. File / Global News

Three post-secondary organizations have signed an agreement designed to transform education systems in Saskatchewan in the service of Indigenous young people.

The Oẏateki Partnership is co-implemented by the Métis-led Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI), the First Nations-led Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) and the University of Saskatchewan.

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Officials said historical systemic barriers have resulted in Indigenous people having 10 per cent higher unemployment rates than the non-Indigenous population.

They added the collaboration seeks to improve levels of self-determination among youth by increasing their engagement with post-secondary schooling and improving educational attainment and labour market outcomes.

Read more: Canadians want governments working harder on Indigenous reconciliation: USask researcher

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Over the next half-decade, the initiative aims to support 32,000 First Nations and Métis youth on their post-secondary education journey as well as transitioning to meaningful employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.

The three partner organizations said the collaboration would not be possible without the generous support of the Mastercard Foundation.

“With the support of the Mastercard Foundation, we have the capacity to drive successful outcomes for Indigenous learners across the province,” SIIT president and CEO Riel Bellegarde said in press release.

“There is no more important time than now for our province and communities to ensure meaningful Indigenous inclusion in the labour force and the economy.”

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“The Mastercard Foundation’s investment in the Oẏateki Partnership is a huge step forward in closing the education gap for Métis youth across the province. For this, we are so thankful,” GDI executive director Lisa-Bird Wilson said in a statement.

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“GDI is proud to contribute to this partnership in a way that creates meaningful change in Métis post-secondary education.”

According to a press release, Oẏateki is a Dakota word that means, “All people together and leaving no people behind.”

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