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New Director For Cultural College...

Louise Cuthand

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FEBRUARY 1978      v08 n02 p56  
Myrna Yuzicapi has assumed new responsibilities as the Director of the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College which is situated on the University of Saskatchewan Campus in Saskatoon.

Myrna, who has been the Assistant Director since last August, became the new Director when Alex Greyeyes became Assistant Executive Director, looking after administration. The change came about when the work-load became too heavy for Cliff Starr who was Chief Administrative Officer of the organization, to handle.

Myrna, who is the former director of Saskatchewan Indian Social Work program, said her new duties will include programming, administration and continued development of the college. This would, of course, include contact with the bands to see that the college is providing what is required in terms of their development. She said "the college will also act as liaison with the other colleges, because they have programs that are operating, but there is a scarcity of materials, and I would see that as one of the responsibilities of this college, to continue to develop materials for use in courses that the other colleges are doing."

Myrna said it is too early to say if she will make any changes. Although she has been involved in the administrative capacity, she is more into programming and development now.

Her first contact with the Cultural College was in 1973 when she began doing research at the library. She did general research but at the same time was writing proposals for different projects that bands wanted, but projects that didn't fit under the different programs that were in existance at that time. She also wrote articles on Indian heroes from the past like Big Bear, Poundmaker just to mention a couple for children's magazines, but unfortunately these articles were never used and Myrna is in the dark as to whatever happened to those articles. She gave the articles to the director who at the time was Jack Sikand.

From her work in the library, Myrna's stint with ISWEP began in a peculiar fashion. In 1974 when the program started, they had no staff to begin. They had no director or co-ordinator and no counsellor. They had instructors coming from Regina and returning the same day. As a result she started working on a temporary basis. Acting as a substitute until they had hired permanent staff. Permanent staff was not to be hired for a long time so from a substitute for the program, Myrna just blended in with it and became the director in 1975. She had been doing the work of a director all this time but just didn't have the title. She has been teaching mostly the Indian side of things. The first thing she did was to co-ordinate a cultural camp back in 1975. The old people did the teaching. The camp was held in Poundmaker during the first two years and in Smallboy's camp in Alberta last year. This cultural camp was of course part of the curriculum.

Each year she also teaches the Indian Studies program, and for one year she also taught a class on Indian families. This year she is teaching a class on social work with Indian families in rural settings.

Myrna still has responsibility over ISWEP until they can find a director to replace her.

Aside from her work with the Sask. Indian Cultural College, Myrna completed her grade 12 at Canwood after which time she took a two and one-half year training program in psychiatric nursing in North Battleford. After her graduation, she moved to Calgary, working there for two and one-half years in a residential treatment centre for children with emotional problems.

From Calgary, she moved to Saskatoon and worked for the provincial government, Department of Social Services for approximately one year. Her next move took her to Prince Albert working at the training school for only about six weeks before transferring to the Victoria Union Hospital Psychiatric Centre. Myrna was there for nearly a year before she decided to move back to Saskatoon where she worked in the psychiatric services of the University Hospital. Her next move of course, is to the cultural college where she has assumed one of the higher positions.

Being hard and conscientious has payed off for Myrna as she is now one of the top workers within the Cultural College.

Myrna is married to George Yuzicapi and is now a member of the Okanese Reserve in Southern Saskatchewan.