The Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research Inc. (GDI) is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment, and cultural institute serving Métis across the province. The Institute is designated as the official education arm of the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S). The main campus is located in Saskatoon with delivery centres in 13 more communities in Saskatchewan. GDI was formally incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 1980 and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Community-based, Métis-focused Education
The Dumont Technical Institute (DTI) is the Adult Basic Education and Skills Training branch of GDI. Programming reaches anywhere from La Loche to Regina—providing students with the flexibility to learn close to their communities. This past school year, DTI had an impressive student population of nearly 1,000. Popular programs include Practical Nursing, Office Administration, Indigenous Birth Support Worker, and Heavy Equipment Truck and Transport Mechanic.
University-based undergraduate and graduate programming is offered through GDI in partnership with the province’s post-secondary institutions. One of the unique characteristics of these programs is that they incorporate Métis culture and ways of knowing. For example, the new Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NSITEP), delivered in partnership with the University of Regina, and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, is rooted in Indigenous cultures and languages, and land-based pedagogy.
The Gabriel Dumont Scholarship Foundation (GDSF) provides scholarships and bursaries to Saskatchewan Métis students in partnership with many Saskatchewan businesses. The foundation’s partners include Petro Canada Lubricants Inc., Nutrien, Sasktel, SaskEnergy and Affinity Credit Union, to name few. Over $200,000 in scholarships and bursaries were awarded in the past year to Métis students.
Expanding the Saskatchewan Métis workforce
GDI Training and Employment (GDITE) offers Saskatchewan’s Métis with the opportunities necessary to be fully competitive in the labour force. This program pairs Métis clients with employment counselors to help create a strong link between training and sustained employment. GDITE clients can receive financial support through help with tuition, living allowances, and employer subsidies where eligible.
In the past year, GDITE has sponsored and provided services to over 1,500 clients. Approximately half of these clients are currently engaged in on-going programming, while 700 have completed. 70 per cent of these clients have successfully found employment.
Advancements in Indigenous Apprenticeship
The GDI Indigenous Apprenticeship Program is a ten-year initiative (2011-2021) that works to increase the number of Indigenous apprentices across Saskatchewan. The program enhances the creation of new jobs through partnerships and the availability of qualified Indigenous apprentices to fill those jobs in Saskatchewan. The program also increases the number of Indigenous women in non-traditional trades.
To-date, GDI has partnered with over 500 employers across Saskatchewan to create employment for approximately 1,000 Indigenous apprentices. GDI has also placed above 60 Indigenous women with employer partners in the trade sector. The late Doug Elliot, publisher of Sask Trends Monitor, said it was “the right program, at the right time, in the right place.”
Supporting Métis Entrepreneurship
The GDI Pathways for Entrepreneurship Program is a six-year initiative (2017-2023) that enhances Métis entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan. The program develops capacity among Métis entrepreneurs through unique supports such as: in-house training workshops, designated funding for professional services and consulting, business planning assistance, milestone bonuses, and a transitional allowance to assist with full-time business start-up costs.
As of May 1, 2020, GDI has assisted in the creation or expansion of 103 Métis-owned businesses in Saskatchewan. Of these 103 businesses, 93 have been operational or reached an operational stage throughout the project period.
The Gabriel Dumont Institute has been able to anticipate and respond effectively to both community needs and labour market trends by building and nurturing partnerships that are beneficial to its students and the Métis community. GDI continues to make significant contributions to Indigenous education, business, and economy through the promotion of Métis-specific educational programs and services.
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View all GDI programming, scholarships & resources here: https://gdins.org/