A partnership on Métis education between the Central Urban Métis Federation and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools has been renewed indefinitely.

The partnership was originally signed with a Memorandum of Understanding in 2010. The agreement was renewed again in 2015. However, officials from both organizations say the original partnership predates the first MOU by nearly a decade.

Since its inception, the agreement has seen the integration of Métis culture in the school division’s curriculum in a number of ways including the formation of a Michif immersion language program along with fiddling and jigging classes.

CUMFI President Shirley Isbister says this agreement is important because it brings Métis voices to the table.

“That doesn’t normally happen because with the education system it normally comes from the top down…but that’s not the case in this agreement,” said Isbister.

While the previous agreements have been signed on five year terms Isbister pointed to the Métis infinity symbol for how long she believes this new agreement will last.

The agreement has been renamed as the nakateyimitowin partnership, which roughly translates to “caring relationships” in Michif. Three Métis knowledge keepers came up with the name.

“It’s part of reclamation in naming,” said Isbister. “I think it is really important as we move forward that all of our projects are named by our elders and they come with a reason and a purpose.”

I think it’s so fitting that ‘caring relationships’ is in the name of the agreement,” said Diane Boyko, Board Chair of the GSCS Board of Education. “That describes education in such a good way. Everyone at CUMFI has showed care and compassion working with us, from the board level right down to students in classrooms, to deepen our relationship and guide us in our work with Métis students, staff and programming.”

The two organizations celebrated the signing of the new agreement at an event in Saskatoon Thursday morning with several students joining the celebration showcasing their fiddling, jigging, and Michif language skills.

(PHOTO: GSCS Board Chair Diane Boyko and CUMFI President Shirley Isbister sign the nakateyimitowin agreement at an event in Saskatoon.  Photo by Joel Willick.)