The Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program held its graduation ceremony in La Ronge yesterday.

The program is a four-year fully recognized teacher training program that focuses on Northern Indigenous culture, language, and land-based teaching.

NSITEP was first launched on September 5, 2019, and was established by a partnership between the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, the Gabriel Dumont Institute, and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.

The program was initially created as a way to address the teacher shortage in northern Saskatchewan.

Morris Cook, program head for NSITEP, said that this year’s graduation was the program’s first group of graduates.

“This is our first ever NSITEP, or Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program, graduation, so this cohort was formed in 2019, just two short months before the program was actually put together,” said Cook.

Cook explained that students who registered in the ITEP program also received a Bachelor of Education degree thanks to the Gabriel Dumont Institute’s partnership with the University of Regina, which allows them to work as teachers anywhere they want.

“This program is not only a teacher education professional program; all our teachers are going to get a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Regina, and they can teach anywhere on earth if they wish too,” said Cook.

This year’s graduating class had 17 graduates, including Becky Aubichon, Shalene Bird, Tracy Bouvier, Jolene Coullonneur, Carmen Fiddler, Glenda Lariviere, Olivia MacDonald, Rita McKenzie, Ronnie McKenzie, Sandra McKenzie, Denise McLeod, Jasmine Natomagan, Nikki Natomagan, Dolly Ratt, Megan Roberts, and Mary Venne.

The graduation ceremony was held in La Ronge at the Jonas Roberts Memorial Community Centre.

(Photo by Roman Hayter)