Education and culture the focus for GDI's new expansion
- NC Raine | November 19, 2019
In the newest phase of its 40-year history, the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI), one of Canada’s most important Metis institutions, has opened a new building and heritage centre in Saskatoon.
The grand opening held on November 14, 2019, unveiled a new 8,400 square foot addition, as well as opening their Metis Culture and Heritage Department.
“These institutions really promote and carry the culture that, at time, we maybe lose a little or lose connection with. But GDI, and other, make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Russell Mirasty, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.
The new and expanded GDI Building, located on 22nd Street in Saskatoon, houses the GDI administrative services, Metis Culture and Heritage Department, GDI Press, and a number of new offices for staff.
Mirasty, a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, who was named Lieutenant Governor earlier this year, spoke on how the importance of fostering education and young people, which he says are of particularity interests to him in his position as Lieutenant Governor.
“It warms my hear to see that Metis people, First Nations people, and other Indigenous people have established educational programs that are reflective of our community. I think that's so important for both us and young people,” he said.
The GDI building also features a one of a kind Metis museum, art gallery, rare-book room collection, which are open to the public for viewing.
“We are very proud to provide a positive work environment and a community space that is interactive, engaging, and affirms Metis culture and identity,” said Glen McCallum, President of the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S).
Earlier this year, the MN-S announced a ten-year, $89 million post secondary fund specifically for Metis students, which will be delivered primarily through the GDI.
As Saskatoon is home to one of Canada’s premiere Metis institutions, Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark addressed the value that GDI and its students provides to the city.
“In order to become a good leader, you have to know who you are and where your values come from... that role GDI has played in being a place for young people, the next generation of young leaders, to come be grounded in the history and culture and traditions of the Metis community,” said Clark.
“It’s the opposite mentality of residential schools, where you take children away from culture, and remove that identity and history. As we build a strong country, a strong province, a strong city, these kinds of institutions are fundamental.”