Oẏateki Meaning


The concept of Oẏateki as a symbol of this collaboration was gifted to the partnership by Kunsi Connie Wajunta of Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation. Oẏateki is a Dakota word meaning: all people together and leaving no people behind. This sense of gathering holds two meanings for this collaboration. Firstly, the three post-secondary organizations come together in their commitment to empowering Indigenous youth. Secondly, this partnership endeavours to bring all people together into self-determination, the invitation of all people to the table, and the elimination of those barriers that keep us apart.


Ernie Scoles. a member of the Barren Lands Indian Band, was born at Cumberland House, Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1962 and raised in northern Manitoba. There he developed a deep feeling for nature and wildlife, taking advantage of every opportunity to explore the woods, lakes and streams.

Influenced by the late Isaac Bignell, his mentor and friend, Ernie’s work in woodland imagery reflects his Cree heritage and is found in collections throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.

In 1992, Ernie was awarded the Governor General’s Canada 125 Medal for his contributions to his community. As well in 2002, Ernie was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal for his contributions. He makes his home in Saskatoon with his wife Doreen and has four children, Davian, Amanda, Cassandra and Kale.

The Oẏateki Partnership

The Oẏateki Partnership aspires to lead and facilitate transformative processes to generate more dynamic, integrated, ‘wholistic,’ state-of-the-art, and responsive education and employment systems that will change the lives of Indigenous youth for the better. By inspiring these developments, we envision a stronger Saskatchewan for all of us.

The Oẏateki Partnership is a unique collaborative between the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI), Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT), and the University of Saskatchewan (USask) alongside First Nations and Métis youth, communities, and organizations. The Partnership builds on a history of collaboration across the three partner institutions, the unique strengths, and the relationships that each institution holds.