Saskatoon

Indigenous students share thoughts on new Gordon Oakes Redbear Student Centre

The 1,900 square-metre building was designed by renowned Métis and Blackfoot architect Douglas Cardinal and officially opened last week.

New Douglas Cardinal-designed building at the U of S home to Aboriginal Students’ Centre

The Gordon Oakes Redbear Student Centre is home to the Aboriginal Students' Centre and a gathering place for anyone on campus. (Eric Anderson/CBC)

The Gordon Oakes Redbear Student Centre has officially opened at the University of Saskatchewan.

It is home to the Aboriginal Students' Centre and a gathering place for anyone on campus.

The 1,884 square-metre building was designed by renowned Métis and Blackfoot architect Douglas Cardinal and reflects indigenous teachings and traditions. (CBC)

The 1,884 square-metre building was designed by renowned Métis and Blackfoot architect Douglas Cardinal and reflects indigenous teachings and traditions.

Three indigenous U of S students share their thoughts on the new building.

Feather Pewapisconias​

Feather Pewapisconias says that the new building is a positive step towards reconciliation. (Eric Anderson/CBC)

"I think it's an opportunity for us to come together as indigenous and non-indigenous people," Pewapisconias said.

She added it's a positive step towards reconciliation and showing indigenous students that they matter to the school.

"To have all these people together in one spot is really significant and really shows the importance that our indigenous population has at the University of Saskatchewan," she said.

Regan Ratt-Misponas

Regan Ratt-Misponas says it shows 'we are all Treaty people'. (Eric Anderson/CBC)

"The feel of it now makes for a much more open space for diversity and a much more open space for people to come and learn about such things as the medicine wheel," Ratt-Misponas said.

The political studies and indigenous studies student is from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and is a member of the community of Pinehouse.

"It just gives us a feel that we are all welcome and the saying is true 'we are all Treaty people,'" he said.

Dana Carriere​

Dana Carriere says the new building will lead to more indigenous faculty, leadership, and administrative staff at the University of Saskatchewan.

"The students centre has been a long time coming," Carriere said. "The building means different things to different people. To me it means success and it means leadership."

As a graduate student, Carriere said it is important for undergraduate students to see further education as an option.

"To have indigenous undergraduate students and indigenous graduate students in the same space, I think that's going to do wonderful things for the university because I think we need more indigenous graduate students," she said.

She added that way, in the future, there will be more indigenous faculty, leadership, and administration.

"It will start with the conversations in this building," she said.

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