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Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre: Offers Support to Indian Educational Development

The Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre was established in 1974 as an Educational developmental institution to support Indian control of Indian Education. The Centre operates a variety of programs including Curriculum Development, Elders, Audio/ Visual Services, a Library and a Languages Department.

Library and Informational Services

The library offers informational material in print (books and magazines) and audio-visual forms (16 mm films, slides, kits, and audio and video cassettes). Most material is in English, while others are in Indian languages.

The purpose of the library is to offer information of value to Indian people and their way of life. Information is also available to non-Indian people who wish to learn from reliable sources about Indian culture.

In addition, the library is in the process of establishing strong resource centres at the reserve levels. The objective of supplying much needed information to the local level is now a reality. The positive reaction of members of those Bands who are receiving the service is more than a reward for the time taken to provide the service.

Materials Available:

• Books
• Periodicals
• Pamphlets
• 16 mm films
• Audio Cassettes
• Records
• Video Cassettes
• Microforms
• Media Kits

Only reference books, microforms and magazines must be used in the library. Everything else may be borrowed, either in person or by mail.

Where we are unable to obtain material from our own resources, we will try to borrow from other libraries on our clients' behalf. In turn, we lend to other libraries. If a request is made for information, which cannot be lent, we offer photocopy services at a small charge.

Reference work is an important part of the library function and we handle questions ranging from Indian cultural matters to big game ranching.

The old and inaccurate card catalogue has been totally converted to an automated database. Printed catalogues of authors, titles, and subjects have been produced and distributed. If you would like a catalogue, please contact your district office. Each district office was supplied with a complete catalogue of the library's book holdings.

Displays are always popular and the response is invariably enthusiastic. So many libraries and teachers are unsure of what is available for purchase, whether print or non-print, so the opportunity to examine material and exchange opinions with the library staff is welcomed.

When it is realized that we serve clients as distant as Black Lake and White Bear, our service reaches anyone who has access to transport, phone, or the Post Office. Children are not forgotten either the library has books and films for them too.

Elders Program

Indian activities materialize in the months of May, June, July and August across the province of Saskatchewan. For the duration of the summer months, the Elders like to travel around and visit each other.

Council of Elders

This project was done in three phases as follows:

PHASE I - Establishment of Council of Elders

The project was put in place through the positive support of the Indian Governments. The Council of Elders is comprised of nine Elders, a representative from each district and two from the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre.

PHASE II - Series of Meetings/ Workshops

The fiscal year quarterly meetings in the past have been held in various locations at District/ Agency/Tribal Council levels. The Elders acknowledge and appreciate each other by sharing the knowledge and wisdom of the Indian lifestyles. Also, the Elders are qualified in their knowledge of Indian beliefs and practices since they have a lot of experience.

PHASE III - Developmental Process

In this area, the meetings/ workshops are recorded onto cassette tapes for developmental purposes. Eventually, the tapes will be transcribed and will be published in a written format and developed into Indian literature. A few projects have been completed and the materials are made available for distribution upon request.


The objectives of the Eldership Movement at the Districts/Agency/Tribal Council levels are as follows:
1. To co-ordinate and conduct the development of Indian Cultural awareness.
2. To promote the usage of Indian languages.
3. To co-ordinate and conduct the Youth Cultural Camp.
4. To co-ordinate and conduct the Cultural Days with the purpose of promoting better understanding between Indian and non-Indian students in the schools.

Elders Book

The new Elders Book is completed and some books were distributed to the assembly at the FSIN Chiefs Treaty Gathering held at the Beardy's and Okemasis Band on June 6, 7, and 8, 1989. More books will be made available for distribution. All nations of Saskatchewan Indian Elders are included in this new publication. A lot of research work was done while completing the portraits and interviews of Elders in the Indian Nations.


It is very interesting to study different tribal groups across the Indian Nations. It is also important to understand the relationships of the various tribal groups of the past and present and to understand their cultural development overtime.

The religious and spiritual beliefs of the tribal groups has to be taken into account. Although the tribal groups are different from one another, there are many similarities. This is where the unique spiritual beliefs of the specific tribal groups need to be clarified.

It is very important that the Elders be recognized and utilized. The future generations will need to know the true meaning of the Pipe Ceremonies; the sweetgrass, sundance, sweat lodge, feasts and other important aspects of the Indian Spirituality. If we do not take the steps to properly document these beliefs, anthropologists will do it for us. The true meaning of the spirituality will be distorted and presented from the point of view of a white person.

This is why it is essential to document from the views of our Elders. It has to come from the Elders. Once the Elders of today are gone, it will be lost forever.

Curriculum Studies and Research

Curriculum Studies and Research has been very busy in the past few months. Of course, production of the 1990 Calendar is in full swing. As well, the teacher's guide for 'Dances of the Northern Plains' is ready to pilot in schools this fall.

A new catalogue is now available to help bands order material from the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre. The catalogue has combined all curriculum materials, as well as materials from the Languages Department and Technical Unit.

Indian and Metis Curriculum Advisory Committee

The Curriculum Department as had a representative sitting on the Indian and Metis Curriculum Advisory Committee for several years now. A five year action plan has been completed, and a policy regarding on-going work of the committee has been ratified by the provincial government. Invitations will be sent to Indian and Metis institutions to form the next Advisory Committee.

The following four principles guide the development of education programs for and about Indian and Metis peoples by Saskatchewan Education. These are:

• Indian and Metis peoples must be given the opportunity to participate fully in the education system at all levels.
• The education system must recognize Indian and Metis students are the children of peoples whose cultures are, in many ways, very different from those of the people who established the school system. These differences which may include learning styles, language and world-view, must be accounted for in curriculum, programs, teaching methods and climate in the schools attended by Indian and Metis children.
• There must be co-operation and consultation among all federal, provincial, local and Indian and Metis authorities to ensure co-ordination of efforts to meet the needs of Indian and Metis students.
• Efforts to improve the success of Indian and Metis students in school are most effective at the school-community level.

Curriculum Department

The goal of this department is to prepare material for Social Studies in Grade 10.

The material is published in the Saskatchewan Indian Newspaper, which is being used by a good number of schools for additional information in Social Studies classes. Stories about Poundmaker, Kakikakasakewew, Paspasehase, Sam Swimmer, James Blackman, Ermineskin and Big Bear have been published.

The story of Joe Dreaver is to be researched. Other stories such as Crow Woman, Medicine Hat and Mistasiniy, adds to the list.

Curriculum is searching for more historic photos. We need photos of lifetime Chieftains from the 1900 -1930s.

Languages Department

Many services are provided by the Languages Department. Some of these include teacher in-service, publication and distribution of language teaching materials, materials development, research, and university classes.

Some of our on-going projects include the Cree Medical Terminology Project, Traditional Roles of Indian Women, Saskatchewan Indian Language Specialist Diploma Program and the Sociolinguistic Survey.

The Cree Medical Terminology Project began in 1985 with workshops that elicited Cree medical terms. From the terms collected, Freda Ahenakew and Dr. Chris Wolfart produced the publication A Preliminary Check-list of Plains Cree Medical Terms. Since July, 1988, a number of follow-up workshops have been held with elders to elicit Cree medical terms for thirteen body systems, including cardiovascular, reproductive, respiratory, etc.

The key people working on this project were the elders. Those involved were Rose and Smith Atimoyoo, Jonas LaRiviere, Sarah Whitecalf, Emma Okanee and Monica Whitstone. We wish to thank these elders for their valuable knowledge and wisdom.

By the end of this project we hope to have a Cree medical terminology dictionary in first draft form and a booklet of body systems assessment questions, also in first draft form. A Dene medical terminology project is at the proposal stage.

The Traditional Roles of Indian Women is a project designed to study and to analyze traditional roles of Indian women prior to the 1950s. Forty interviews were conducted in several communities in two Indian languages, Cree and Saulteaux.

This project will make a valuable contribution to the written accounts of Indian women's personal experiences and their views on various matters. It will also allow others to learn from these wonderful and descriptive stories which are filled with a mixture of humour, sadness and happiness.

Indian women have been left out of history and their stories and experiences have rarely been told. We hope to change this trend by publishing their personal recollections in a document that could be a valuable resource for educators, students and the general public.

The Saskatchewan Indian Language Specialist Diploma Program began in October, 1988. This program is an intensive eight-month training course which includes nine seminars and training on the job.

Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre: Offers Support to Indian Educational Development

It is intended for Indian people who would like to work as interpreters, language instructors, transcribers of oral history, translators and teaching materials developers. Some of the graduates will move immediately into jobs and others plan to continue their education.

The program has an enrollment of ten students from various reserves in the province. The general aim of the program is to produce individuals who are educated in the grammar and orthographies of their Indian language, second language teaching, teaching materials production, and the role of Indian languages in today's society.

The Sociolinguistic Survey is a study designed to collect basic data on the state of indigenous languages in the Saskatchewan region. This will be done by conducting questionnaire-guided interviews in a sample of homes of Indian and Metis people in Saskatchewan. In total, over 400 interviews will be conducted. The interviews will be done by people from each community.

Through this research we hope to identify to what extent our languages are being lost or maintained. This will be accomplished by correlating language loss or maintenance data with demographic characteristics and patterns of language use. This survey will be done in 22 communities and includes all of the language and dialect groups in Saskatchewan.

The survey is in the data collection stage and this will be completed by June, 1989. The data will be analyzed during 1989-90. The final report will be available to all Indian Nations and indigenous groups in Canada.

The Language Department also continues to support Nehiyawwaciscwanis Cree Immersion Daycare in Saskatoon, and the Saskatchewan Indian Languages Committee.

AV Department

The A/V Department is producing more pow-wow tapes which are selling successfully across North America. In the future look for a new Red Bull cassette as well as a tape of songs from both the Pipestone Singers and the Blackstone Singers.

The Cultural Centre has tapes available now of the Red Bull Singers, Kehewin Singers and Northern Eagle Singers.

Other projects on the go include a video series to be used for training band school committees and an informational video on the martial art, tae-kwon-do, which is proving to be a successful, positive after-school activity at Piapot Band.

As well, the audio-visual department has provided the sound system and audio recorded various workshops including the meeting between the FSIN, PTNA and AFN at Piapot and Pasqua Bands.

The department has also been working in conjunction with the Languages Program record the Medical Terminology Project. This project involves Cree Elders, who translate English medical terms into Cree. The finished written and video material will be used to help people in the medical profession communicate with Cree speakers.

On a final note, the technical unit completed a promotional video for the Saskatchewan Indian Agricultural Program. The video was produced by Albert Angus, and is being shown at an international food fair in California.

Graphics Department

We are here to assist bands to produce posters, brochures, pamphlets, books, letterheads, envelopes, business cards and anything else you need. We provide typesetting; layout and graphic design services that will help you with a project from concept to camera ready art.

Since opening, the department has been very busy. One of the projects on the go is a book that is being put out by Gordon Ahenakew - President of the Saskatchewan Indian Veteran Associates. The book "We Were There", recalls stories told by Indian veterans as young men leaving their families and going off to war.

We also assisted the students at St. Michael's School produce their year-book. The students did all the typesetting and paste-up themselves with some guidance from this department.