The University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture and Bioresources is taking two major advancements toward expanding its commitment in Aboriginal relations. The Sprott Foundation donated $1 million in support of a proposed post-graduate program for Aboriginal students, and David Natcher was appointed as the new assistant dean of Aboriginal programs and research.
The post-graduate diploma will be an opportunity for Aboriginal students who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in a non-agricultural discipline to further their education. The college has a tradition of partnerships with industry, conservation groups and government, through which graduates become familiar with current trends and issues required for successful careers with these partners. Once approved, the new post-graduate diploma in Aboriginal agriculture and land management will provide students with practical training in agribusiness and land management to enable them to operate at the interface of the Aboriginal community and the agribusiness sector.
“Partnering with the Sprott Foundation allowed us to extensively consult with various Aboriginal groups and then create an innovative program that will meet their needs and serve our society,” said Dean Mary Buhr, College of Agriculture and Bioresources. “By creating an assistant dean of Aboriginal programs and research, we have provided a focal point around which our various initiatives can cluster, while also providing outside communities with an obvious go-to place for inquiries, ideas and activities. Finally, by appointing David Natcher to this position, we have committed one of our college’s most successful, energetic and talented young faculty to encourage the success of this very important endeavour for the college, the university and the province.”
The creation of this position demonstrates the college’s genuine commitment to Aboriginal programming. Natcher is also director of the Indigenous Land Management Institute in the college. The new assistant dean will foster relationships with provincial and national Aboriginal organizations and communities to identify and develop opportunities related to Aboriginal agriculture and resource management education and research.
“The College of Agriculture and Bioresources is determined to collaborate with this land’s indigenous peoples to better understand and serve our environment and its inhabitants,” said Buhr.
The Sprott Foundation is a charitable trust that has been active for nearly 20 years as a philanthropic foundation addressing urgent human need, hunger, homelessness and other areas of interest to the founding family. The Sprott Foundation believes that philanthropy should offer recipients the means to become self-sufficient. Beyond supporting program development, funding will also provide bursaries for Aboriginal students.