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Saskatchewan Indian Federated College: Canada's Only Indian Controlled Academic Institution

The Saskatchewan Indian Federated College is a unique institution. Federated with the University of Regina, the SIFC is governed by a Board of Governors elected by the Chiefs of Saskatchewan. SIFC offers under graduate and graduate university courses in an environment of Indian cultural affirmation.

The SIFC is fully accredited, While being academically and physically part of the university, SIFC hires its own faculty and staff, offers unique programs and has a personalised student services department. Academically, SIFC students and graduates are members of the University of Regina and SIFC.

The College has been an innovator pursuing international agreements with indigenous peoples and institutions around the world.

The SIFC is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC).

The SIFC is organized into three Faculties and several programs. The three faculties are; Arts, Science and Indian Education in addition the college contains a research and development into three faculties and several program. The three faculties are; Arts, Science and Indian education is addition the college contain a research and development and a substantial academic library.

The SIFC also operates professional schools, containing education and Graduate Studies.

The following is a brief explanation of the college Faculties and program. Additional information can be obtained from the college.

The Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, Regina and Saskatoon Campuses, employs five Elders -three men and two women. It is unique for a college to have Elders included as members of the staff. They fill a void in the life of the College. Their knowledge of tradition, culture and Indian spirituality adds up to wisdom.

The Elders on campus support the students and staff and remind us all that there is good in the traditional ways. Their lives are filled with old teachings and many experiences. Above all, the Elders' cultural values are dynamic. The need for the Elders' presence is strong. We need to walk the trails of Mother Earth with them to learn respect and to try to understand why they hold so much reverence for the Creator, who made Earth and all things.

The College's earlier Presidents and Directors, as well as the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian nations, foresaw the students' need for Elders in the life of an Indian controlled university college. The need for women Elders was acknowledged by the inclusion of a mother-grandmother Elder in Regina in January, 1986. The female Elder has been in Saskatoon since November, 1985. The Elders' philosophy of life has carried them far.

Sometimes, students will want traditional counselling in accordance with special needs. The Elders will join with them in prayer, using sweet grass and the stone pipe. Their psychology can restore students' self-confidence and ease their minds.

The Elders' sense of humour is something to be admired. This pan of their philosophy is always ready to be shared. They are a valuable asset to the College as advisers and counsellors. Their experience is drawn on as they participate in appeals. The Elders' philosophy of life weaves a nerve-thread through the lives of Indian students at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College.

In conclusion, the importance of Elders has endured despite strong opposition from Church and State. They are living proof Indian culture was meant "To Be" by the Creator.


The SIFC Library is situated at the University of Regina Campus. It houses over 14,500 items which include monographs, periodicals, newspapers, microform, audiovisual materials and vertical files. The SIFC Library provides a specialized collection which focuses on the Indigenous Peoples of North, South and Central America, Inuit and the Metis. The collection supports the courses offered by the SIFC and the University of Regina.

The SIFC Library, Saskatoon Campus maintains a substantial collection of monographs, periodicals newspapers and videotapes to supplement the Indian Social Work and Indian Studies programs.

The SIFC Library also houses the Extension collection, which supplements the off-campus courses offered.

Other Libraries at the Regina Campus include the University of Regina Main Library, two branches and the other Federated College Libraries, Campion College and Luther College. As well, the Eeniwuk collection of approximately 4,000 items is housed at the SIFC Library.

Other services available to students are: Reference services, library orientations at the beginning of each semester and interlibrary loans (available through the University of Regina - Main Library).


The history of the Indian and Inuit of North and South America is hundreds of thousands of years old. This history was recorded through the arts and languages. Culture is the heart and soul of a nation. Language conveys culture. Art documents culture.

The Department of Indian Fine Arts at the SIFC teaches the history of Indian art with pride for the people who created this heritage. As well, the Department utilizes and teaches modern mainstream art and technique. The Indian artist today must learn to use the tools of modern society and have the heart of the past.

The Indian Fine Arts degree is a three-year Bachelor of Arts degree program with a major in the Indian Visual Arts. A degree in Indian Fine Arts is for the individual who has a strong commitment to the arts and Indian culture. An Indian Fine Arts degree provides the graduate with the background and strengths of both mainstream and Indian art to compete in the professional world of the artist.

Students take classes in the arts of modern mainstream society through the University of Regina's Department of Visual Arts, as well as core classes in the areas of Indian Fine Arts. Students are also required to take arts and science classes outside of the fine arts field.

The Department of Indian Fine Arts offers a degree in Indian Fine Arts, studio studies. The Department is planning to add two new programs of study in the future. Within the year a degree in Indian Fine Arts, art history studies maybe offered. For the future, the Department plans to add a degree in performing arts studies.


No culture can survive with out the retention of its language. Thus, one goal of the Department of Indian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics is to strengthen Indian identity be ensuring the survival of the languages of Saskatchewan's First Nations. The Department aims to instill in its students a sense of pride in the knowledge and use of the Indian languages.

Through centuries of use every language has developed ways to express the full breadth and complexity of its people's culture, knowledge of the environment, and intellectual and religious heritage. The department seeks to share with students the excitement in discovering these rich resources and interesting structures. To the extent that we can see how a language and culture see the universe all humans are much richer.

The study of linguistics is of value to many students: future teachers, Indian educators and anyone working in an Indian context; students of all languages and literatures (English, French, German, etc.); students of anthropology, computer science, education, philosophy, psychology, law, poltical science and other disciplines.

The Department of Indian Languages, Literature, and Linguistics offers classes in Cree, Ojibway, Dene, Nakota, Dakota languages, and in general linguistcs as well. For the First Nation Indian languages of Saskatchewan, beginning classes teach: conversational fluency and an awareness of how each language works. More advanced classes explore the structure, writing systems, and literatures of Saskatchewan's Indian languages, as well a principles of translation.

Our department offer classes covering all these fascinating topics as well as classes exploring linguistic theories which offer different ways to describe these parts of language, exploring techniques of evaluating language learning processes, and teaching the basic research methods of linguistics as a science.

In 1987 the University of Regina approved our Bachelor degree programs in Cree Linguistics and in Ojibway Linguistics, the first university-accredited degree: in specific Indian languages anywhere. In addition, a Bachelor of Arts in General Linguistics was approved. Several students are now doing a final year of work toward an Honours B.A. in Linguistics, with emphasis on Indian Languages, intending to pursue Master degrees.

With an undergraduate degree program now established the Department is turning its attention to the development of graduates studies. The Department has been leading the way in the development of linguistics for SIFC and for the University of Regina with the support of the Dean's Advisory Committee on Linguistics and the collaboration of the other departments at the University of Regina whom offer some linguistics classes.


The SIFC Department of English offers courses that are approved by the University of Regina English Department and are described in the University of Regina General Calendar. SIFC English classes normally contain a strong Indian component, particularly in the literature section of the class.

The mandate of the SIFC Department of English is: to create a curriculum based upon the philosophical beliefs of Indian people; to respond to the specific needs of Indian students; to meet the academic criteria of the University of Regina; and to assist the university in its task of scrutinizing as broad a spectrum of values and viewpoints as possible.

The Department is currently comprised of two permanent full-time professors and ten sessional lecturers.


Indian Studies is a unique and distinct area of studies. It seeks to preserve, transmit and interpret the cultural knowledge of he Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. In doing so, Indian Studies interprets the past, clarifies contemporary thinking and anticipates the future with sensitivity and enthusiasm for the traditional values and needs of Indigenous People.

As an interdisciplinary field Indian Studies covers a broad range of topics, from the study of Indian ceremonies, researching government records in the Archives, studying legal issues affecting Indian people, researching lands and economic resources, to studying issues affecting Aboriginal people in other areas of the world. In addition, a student taking an Indian Studies degree takes courses in a broad range of other subjects.

Indian Studies aims to develop proficiency in important skills such as reading, writing, analyzing researching and speaking, all which are indispensable for success.

Graduates with degrees Indian Studies are especially suited to fill a wide variety of employment positions. These include work for Indian Bands and Indian organizations. As well, many opportunities exist to work within federal provincial and municipal agencies.

More important, the graduating student will be in better contact with the world, have a better understanding of him/herself, have marketable working skills and overall, be an improved and more independent person. All of the skills are of significant importance in an increasingly complex world.


The SIFC Department of Science offers a Certificate Indian Health Studies. The certificate program includes five Indian Health Studies subjects from the SIFC Faculty of Arts.

Indian Health Studies is pre-professional course of studies that will prepare students for entry into professional health and allied health programs in various post secondary institutions in Canada. Students who satisfactorily complete all classes will be granted Certificate in Indian Health Studies. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor Science degrees can also be earned under the program.


Indian Communications Arts is a 2-year program of studies leading to a Certificate in Indian Communication Arts. INCA's goal is to prepare students for opportunities in both the Indian and non-Indian communications sectors.

Students in INCA study the mass media, print, radio and television-newsreporting, photography, advertising, management and marketing, interviewing and writing.

Saskatchewan Indian federated College: Canada's Only Indian Controlled Academic Institution

They also take classes in Indian Studies, economics, art, history, and Indian languages. Students spend two academic years on campus. The communication courses are held in classroom, darkroom, newsroom and studio facilities at SIFC and at the Communication Centre of the University of Regina.

Students enroll in the INCA program for a variety of reasons - to work as journalists for existing media outlets; as information officers for Indian bands and organizations; as community reporters; or to initiate new communication media in their respective communities.


Science programs a new initiative for SIFC. All of the career pathways discussed in the following section will be available at SIFC as of September, 1989.

The programs involving the natural sciences, computer sciences and mathematics that SIFC offers are designed to give Indian students a maximum level of support and provide clear accessibility to a variety of science careers. Depending upon previous studies, individuals coming to SIFC may be advised to begin their studies in the University Entrance Program (UEP).

University science and math programs offered by SIFC have the additional commitment of presenting curriculum with a strong Indian perspective, as well as articulating the relevance of the natural and mathematical sciences to contemporary Indian concerns.

The specializations that SIFC offers in the sciences, computer sciences and mathematics are also designed to foster a mentoring relationship between the individual student and one or several of the professional scientists on the SIFC faculty. These working relationships are encouraged in order to provide the student no only with the best quality of academic counselling but also to enhance the student's understanding of the ways in which practicing scientists go about their research.


The Bachelor of Education(Indian Education) was approved by the University of Regina in October, 1977, and by the board of certification, Province of Saskatchewan, in May, 1978.

The Bachelor's degree consisting of core classes which follow the Elementary Program, offers additional specializations such as Indian Studies, Indian languages, and cross-cultural courses designed to meet the growing needs of teachers.

The program offers a comprehensive practicum base which includes rural, urban, and band controlled school experiences. Curriculum development and methodological considerations are integrated throughout an array of specializations and core classes.

This is the only Indian Education Program in the Americas which falls within Indian governance structures.


SIFC's School of Business and Public Administration provides full-time and part-time students with an opportunity to study management and administration subjects at the university level in the context of Indian public and private sector organizations.

The School works closely with other departments of the College and with the Faculty of Administration of the University of Regina, on both curriculum development and instructional requirements. The Indian Studies Research Centre co-ordinates the process of curriculum development.

The School's primary goal is to produce graduates who will have the knowledge and the skills to manage emerging Indian-controlled government and business organizations. Managerial training is essential to providing the skills necessary to enable graduates to operate a business and handle economic development issues in a bi-cultural context.


As a program leading to a two-year certificate and a four-year degree in Indian Social Work, the School of Indian Social Work places emphasis upon the acquisition of social work knowledge that is relevant from an Indian perspective, and skill which may be useful in Indian communities.

Students in the program have an opportunity to learn ways of working with individuals, groups and communities in Canadian society, but, in addition, to examine critically the relevance of this knowledge for Indian people.

Social work is a highly valued and respectable vocation. In a general way, the skills of social worker are helpful to any situation where human beings have to depend upon each other, and where human interaction is a factor in the effective and successful functioning of an individual or group.

Since most of our life depends on interpersonal relationships it is easy to see how vital social work skills can be. In the past, the functions that are now attributed to social workers were performed by the Elders or respected men and women in the community.

These people did not practise social work as a profession, but their assistance was sought be cause of their reputation for maturity and ability to give sound guidance. However, with the impact on industrialization, rapid changes have taken place in the social structure, and lifestyles have been altered. Because of these unavoidable changes that individuals and communities must cope with, social work programs have been developed at many universities.

After careful study, the SIFC has come to the conclusion that social work education is vital to Indian communities. Good social workers can assist Indian leaders on the reserves to guide their communities in the direction of healthy progress.

Social workers can work with families, communities, health centres, schools, and in all other situations that would lead Indian communities to use their human environment resources for making reserve life satisfying and happy. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, however, believes that social workers in Indian communities can be effective only if they respect the Elders, and have a genuine interest in the well being of the people with whom they work.

Dedication and cultural understanding are the basic qualifications of a good social worker. The Federations, therefore, has proposed that social workers on reserves should be Indians. Furthermore, it has recognized that university training for Indian social workers should be special; it should take into consideration Indian traditions and mode of life, as well as problems and aspirations unique to our Indian people.


Continuing Education/Extension is an integral and essential component of the SIFC. The responsibility of the Department is to liaise with Indian people of Saskatchewan and across Canada to determine educational needs and to design programs to meet those needs. The major focus of the faculty is the delivery of credit courses to off-campus students.

Over the past several years, the courses and programs offered through the Department have undergone growth and change. These developments have improved the services provided to off-campus students.

Off-campus students are able to undertake university studies through the Department through a variety of Certificate programs, through single classes and through special programs.


The Department undertakes number of special programs designed to enable students to access university education programs of study. These special programs include:

• University Access Program
• Summer Institutes in Indian Public Administration and Management
• Professional Development Work shops


This program offers students the opportunity to undertake University Entrance studies and first year undergraduate studies at selected off-campus sites. The program is comprised of up to 18 selected classes from the Faculties of Arts, Science and Administration, and from the University Entrance Program. Upon completion of these classes at the off-campus site the student may transfer to on-campus programs to compete his or her studies or continue in an off-campus Certificate program.

Summer Institute in Indian Public Administration and Management

The Institutes program is comprised of intensive three-week residential programs of studies offered annually each July and August. Designed for practicing administrators and managers of Indian Government administrations and organizations, the Institute provide opportunities for practitioners to qualify for a Certificate in Administration.

The Department delivers upon request special workshop; in a number of professional development areas. Areas presently available include:

• Alcohol, Drug and Substance Abuse Counsellor Training (four workshops)
• Band Administration (four work shops)
• Band Planning (four workshops)


The Research and Development Unit identifies developmental needs in areas of policy and programming and facilitates the development of infrastructures and mechanisms which support attainment of the academic and institutional goals of the College.

The central aim is to strengthen research links between the university college, Indian Bands, and various institutions interested in enhancing educational and related community development objectives within an overall structure of Indian governance.

Activities include the development, implementation, and evaluation of academic programs as well as the assessment of relevant proposals and initiatives.


The Centre contributes to the strengthening of a sector of society that has traditionally been kept on the outside of the power structures and excluded from opportunities available to non-Indian communities in the field of international education and development. Technological change, development of economic-natural resource bases, self-government, training and culturally relevant education and awareness are some of the issues the Centre will focus on. There are enormous and urgent demands for sound structures able to deliver and facilitate access to knowledge, expertise and financial resources for the challenges that indigenous people face today. The Centre will also serve as a central resource for the Indian and non-Indian community concerned with the developments of indigenous people globally.