Debates of the Senate  
  1st Session, 39th Parliament,Volume 143, Issue 86.
    Wednesday, April 18, 2007
 
University of Saskatchewan- Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program
  Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, on March 28, 2007, Convocation Hall at the University of Saskatchewan was the scene of a graduation ceremony for 23 students of the new Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program. This program was designed and delivered by the College of Agriculture and Bioresources in consultation with the National Aboriginal Land Managers Association and with funding provided by Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

In his address at the graduation ceremony, the President of the University of Saskatchewan, Peter MacKinnon, recognized that these students were the first graduates of the Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program and that they were also the first graduates of the University of Saskatchewan in its centennial year. He also noted that the Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program is the first of its kind.

Ms. Marilyn Poitras, Director of the Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program, says that the program drew students from across Canada with seven of 10 provinces represented in this first student cohort. This year marked a clear beginning for the University of Saskatchewan as a leader internationally in recognizing this profession through academic programming.

The program provides land managers with university-level training to examine basic environmental, legal and economic aspects of land and resource management.

The students who graduated from the program came from diverse backgrounds. They represented First Nations from across Canada, and their experience ranged from individuals beginning their careers in land management to those with 30 years of experience. The program was a special challenge for the students because it required that they manage their full-time jobs and family responsibilities along with the academic demands of their jobs.

The Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program was structured on an executive training model. To complete the program requirements, the students came to the University of Saskatchewan campus three separate times over a period of eight months. Each trip to the campus involved two weeks of intensive lecture, laboratory and field-based learning. When they returned home each time, they had eight weeks of follow-up assignments.

The successful students received a certificate of proficiency upon completion of the six required classes. An exciting development will occur next year when a partnership with the University of Laval will allow the program to be offered in French.

The Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program has recognized a profession within First Nations that is as old as human existence, and which reflects the importance of environmental resource issues for all Canadians. Honourable senators, let me conclude by saying, let us all congratulate the first graduates of the Indigenous Peoples Resource Management Program and the University of Saskatchewan for being the first to offer such an important certificate program.