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Cort Dogniez

I am a Metis and was born and raised in Saskatoon in a single parent home. My grandmother played a major role in my life, providing me with encouragement, love and support. Growing up in our home however, was not easy. There was plently of alcohol abuse, violence, and we were neglected Cort Dogniezquite a bit of the time. We were raised on welfare. My escape was school and I did well in most of my classes though absenteeism was a major problem. I am a spiritual person and always believed if I could just survive the first seventeen years of my life, God would bless me in my future life. My seventeenth year was rough, and I didn't know what I would do if I graduated from high school. Doors seemed closed to me. I was failing my classes, had moved away from home, and though I was living with my grandma I felt alone and depressed. Then God stepped in and through my aunt I found out about the Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP). My average was too low for regular admission and I didn't qualify for adult admission but the outgoing administrator felt sorry for me and admitted me anyway! By the time my admission came into question I had one of the highest averages in my class and continued to be successful over the next three years. ITEP changed my life and gave me a strong understanding of my culture and a strong desire to reach out to Aboriginal children. I was immediately hired by the Saskatoon Board of Education and am currently a Grade Eight teacher at Lakeridge School, having also taught at Caswell, Westmount, Fairhaven, and Alvin Buckwold schools. I also spent a year on exchange to England, where I taught at a middle school in Wimbeldon. This is my 22nd year working with the Saskatoon Board of Education and one of my on going goals has been to strengthen pride and confidence in the abilities of First Nation and Metis children. Over the years I have been involved with many committees that have worked for the improvement of Indian/Metis education. I was a treasurer, president and past president of AWASIS, a Special Subject Council with the Sask. Teachers Federation. I have been a member of the Indian/Metis Education Commitee with the Saskatoon Board of Education for about 15 years and its chairperson for the last three years. I am an advocate for the incorporation of Indian and Metis content in the curriculum and have provided numerous workshops around the province on this topic. I also provide workshops in association with Sask. Professional Development Unit, through the S.T.F., promoting the Diversity in the Classroom series, focusing on the "Aboriginal Cultures and Perspectives" document. I am proud of the increasing number of Aboriginal students who are successfully completing their education, overcoming various adversities and following their dreams to become positive role models for the next generation. Poundmaker once said, "We cannot be like the man who sat beside the trail too long and it grew up and he couldn't find his way. We cannot go back nor can we just sit beside the trail." These words inspire me to move from my past, to set goals and to work hard to achieve them. I hope they inspire you too. Ekosi.

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Indian Teacher Education Program

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