Faculty members and students applying for scholarships at the University of Saskatchewan will now require documentation to prove their Indigenous identity.

The university announced they are introducing the new policy in the fall with the approved documentation to be determined by Indigenous governments and communities.

Until now, the U of S had used self-identification as their process for determining Indigenous ancestry.

The new policy comes after Carrie Bourassa, a professor at the university, resigned this past year after her claims of Indigenous identity came under fire.

In the wake of that situation, a task force was created to help develop this new policy.

“This work on Indigenous membership/citizenship verification is imperative and timely,” said USask President Peter Stoicheff.  “I am particularly grateful for the leadership and guidance of our Indigenous partners without whom this policy work could not have been successfully undertaken.”

The name of the policy is “deybwewin (Saulteaux)| taapwaywin (Michif)| tapwewin (Cree)” meaning truth.

“Guided by Indigenous members of the task force, this policy recognizes the inherent rights of self-determination and self-governance of Indigenous communities,” said Dr. Airini (PhD), USask provost and vice-president academic.   “It is important that the work regarding Indigenous membership/citizenship verification has been led by Indigenous peoples, and we are particularly grateful for the participation of external Indigenous partners who bring the perspectives of their communities.”

According to the university, an Indigenous-led committee will also be established in September to help guide the new policy moving forward.

Both the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Tribal Council have thrown their support behind the new policy.

“With our Indigenous Elders guiding the work, the task force has come up with a positive solution to Indigenous verification,” said MN–S President Glen McCallum.

“We at the Saskatoon Tribal Council are pleased the University of Saskatchewan has created and endorsed a policy that recognizes First Nations communities as these traditional rights holders,” said Saskatoon Tribal Council, Tribal Chief Mark Arcand.  “This will enable accountability for those entering positions meant for Indigenous peoples.”

The university says consultation with First Nations communities on implementation of the new policy will begin in August.