The University of Saskatchewan wraps up its annual Indigenous Achievement Week Friday night.

Closing events include the SUNTEP Métis Dinner and Dance and the ITEP Student Round Dance.

The theme of this year’s event was Powerful Voices.

As always, Aboriginal Students’ Centre Team Leader Graeme Joseph says a big part of the week was the student achievement awards.

“What we want to do is recognize these students who are not only doing great in their studies but they’re also, you know, doing great within the community and taking up leadership roles and being role models,” he says. “And so, it is the foundation of this week.”

Students can be recognized for academic excellence, research endeavours, leadership and community involvement.

This year 40 students were honoured.

This year’s events also included a Tyndall stone breaking on Monday by Cree artists Ruth Cuthand and Vanessa Hyggen where students, faculty and staff could join.

The event was meant to signify decolonization and creation of space within the university for Indigenous traditions, languages and systems of knowledge.

The rest of the week was then spent making beadworks to fill the spaces between the stone as part of a collaborative art project.

As well, Kim Tallbear, a professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, gave a presentation on decolonizing science and technology on Tuesday and the university launched a certificate in the study of Indigenous storytelling.

Overall, Joseph says Indigenous Achievement Week has grown considerably in significance in recent years.

“You know when you think about the event and where it’s come over the last number of years and you see the different events that are taking place and the high level of Indigenous scholarship that’s being presented – I think that really speaks to the university’s effort to Indigenize the institution and decolonize it.”

He says in spite of the week’s sub-Arctic temperatures, events were generally well attended.

(PHOTO: The breaking of a Tyndall stone was one of the events at the University of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous Achievement Week. Photo courtesy University of Saskatchewan)