Our Journey

Reimagining the Indigenous Land Management Institute

The Indigenous Land Management Institute (ILMI) was established in 2008 to address the applied research needs of Indigenous communities in the area of land and resource management. In 2021, a proposal submitted by the College of Agriculture and Bioresource to the University of Saskatchewan (USask) for the revitalization of ILMI was approved. In March of 2022, a director and academic director were established to lead the revitalization project. The priorities included the establishment of a steering committee to guide the co-development of the strategy; collaborating and engaging with units across USask; facilitating the development of a campus network of scholars with interest and engagement in Indigenous land and resource management; and engaging with Indigenous communities and key stakeholders. 

"Nothing about us without us"

What should an Indigenous land institute look like at the University of Saskatchewan?

It was clear that the development of an Indigenous land centre would be led by Indigenous peoples. “Nothing about us without us” was put into action—Indigenous peoples would have an active role from the beginning and would lead the conversation, providing meaningful guidance now and into the future. 

manâtisiwin Engagement and Action Plan

How do we engage with Indigenous peoples, communities, and organizations in meaningful and respectful ways?

The answer is in the Cree word: manâtisiwin. The nêhiyawak (Cree peoples) describe manâtisiwin as the act of being respectful or polite; being considerate; being gentle and mannerly; and embodying respectability and tact. Based on the principle of manâtisiwin, an engagement plan was developed to guide relationship building with Indigenous peoples, communities, and organizations. 

The manâtisiwin engagement and action plan covers year one of the project. The plan starts with relationship building, includes strategic planning aspects, and has been fluid and adaptive throughout the year of implementation.

Our Path Forward

The kihci-okâwîmâw askiy Knowledge Centre honours the voices of kêhtê-ayak (elders), traditional knowledge and language keepers, Indigenous peoples, and USask Indigenous students, staff and faculty who supported the development of nīkānītān manācihitowinihk / ni manachīhitoonaan – “let us lead with respect” (UPlan 2025) and ohpahotân / oohpaahotaan - “let’s fly up together” (USask Indigenous Engagement Strategy). 

With the reimagining of ILMI, and the establishment of the kihci-okâwîmâw askiy Knowledge Centre, the centre is delivering on the UPlan 2025 aspiration, Transformative Decolonization Leading to Reconciliation. The centre is supporting the creation of a university that the world needs, a university in which Indigenous concepts, methodologies, pedagogies, languages, and philosophies are respectfully woven into teaching, research, and community engagement. 

The establishment of the centre also embodies the commitments found within ohpahotân / oohpaahotaan – Safety, Wellness, Stewardship, Representation, Right Relations, Creation, and Renewal. The centre is putting into action the Calls to Actions found within the strategy, therefore honoring the voices of Indigenous peoples. We are bringing to fruition the markers found within the plan indicating that we are headed in the right direction and doing things in a “good way”.