Saskatoon

U of S students look forward to Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre opening

A soon-to-be-opened building on the University of Saskatchewan campus has indigenous students talking.

Building will be new home for U of S Aboriginal Students' Centre

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. (University of Saskatchewan)

A soon-to-be-opened building on the University of Saskatchewan campus has indigenous students talking.

If everything goes according to plan, the Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre should be open by next month.

"It's going to be a pivotal moment in the history of this university," said Graeme Joseph, team leader of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Student Success at the University of Saskatchewan. "The aboriginal community in this province is younger and growing. What Gordon Oakes is going to be able to do is provide us with a platform to meet this increased need."

Recruiting and retaining indigenous students has become one of the university's chief goals. Advocates hope the centre will help achieve that.

It's going to be a pivotal moment in the history of this university,'- Graeme Joseph

"Students coming from either rural or urban communities, when they're coming to the university, it's a completely different culture," said Joseph. "And so that cultural divide can cause a lot of stress for students."

While the centre will be the new home for the Aboriginal Students' Centre, officials say the site will be for everyone.

"I really want more non-aboriginal students involved in the aboriginal students centre as well," said Indigenous Students' Union President Feather Pewapisconias. "I really want them to know that there are indigenous people on campus and how important it is that we recognize that we are on Treaty 6 territory." 

The centre was designed by world famous architect Douglas Cardinal.

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