Background, Vision, Objectives


The Oẏateki Partnership is a collaboration between the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI), the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT), the University of Saskatchewan (USask) and the Mastercard Foundation (MCF), and together are a partner in the MCF’s EleV Program. (EleV) is a collaborative initiative that is creating opportunities for Indigenous learners to be full partners in their education and journey to meaningful work.

The Oẏateki Partnership builds on a history of collaboration across GDI, SIIT and USask and leverages the expertise, relationships, and specific roles of each partner institution to scale efforts and transform education and employment systems in Saskatchewan.

The beginnings of the partnership were in reaction to the state of post-secondary education and employment for Indigenous Youth in Saskatchewan. Indigenous people represent 16% of the total population in Saskatchewan and since 2006 have grown at a rate four times faster than the non-Indigenous population. Indigenous people in Saskatchewan are also significantly younger on average than the non-Indigenous population (28 vs. 41). However, historical systemic barriers have resulted in Indigenous people having higher unemployment rates (~10% higher) and being less likely to have received a post-secondary education than the non-Indigenous population (12% vs. 29%).

Despite these realities, Saskatchewan is home to strong, resilient, and culturally grounded Indigenous peoples, Nations, and organizations as well as non-Indigenous allies and organizations committed to furthering reconciliation, decolonization, Indigenization and addressing inequities faced by Indigenous young people. The three partner organizations have been at the forefront of this work.

Launched in 2021 with a five-year commitment from Mastercard Foundation EleV Program, the Partnership’s aim is that 32,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit young people benefit directly (approximately 12,000) and indirectly (approximately 20,000) from greater coordination and collaboration, and enhanced and new programming, services, and supports focused on:

  • transitions to post-secondary,
  • success in post-secondary, and
  • transitions to meaningful work.


The Oẏateki Partnership seeks to improve levels of self-determination among Indigenous young people in Saskatchewan by increasing their engagement with post-secondary schooling and improving educational attainment and labour market outcomes. Achieving these short-term results will positively and meaningfully contribute to the overall ‘wholistic’ health, wellbeing, and socio-economic impacts for Indigenous individuals, families, and communities that will be felt in society.


The Oẏateki Partnership builds on a history of collaboration across the three partner institutions, the unique strengths and relationships that each institution holds, and a strong desire to create a more dynamic, integrated, ‘wholistic’, and responsive education system that meets the needs of Indigenous youth.

The outcomes of the partnership are ambitious and targeted.

  1. Support successful transitions to post-secondary for Indigenous youth.
  2. Increase positive outcomes for Indigenous learners while at post-secondary.
  3. Support successful transitions from post-secondary into meaningful careers and work for Indigenous youth
  4. Strengthen coordination, communication, and integration of the post-secondary and employment systems for Indigenous youth.

These outcomes will drive all activities and ensure the development of a truly inclusive system.