New $1.05M research chair at USask nursing college aims to improve Indigenous health

SASKATOON – University of Saskatchewan (USask) researcher Holly Graham has been awarded an Indigenous Research Chair in Nursing by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to build research capacity in Indigenous nursing and improve the health of Indigenous peoples.

Apr 6, 2020

The new research chair—the first at the USask College of Nursing—will support and mentor Indigenous and non-Indigenous undergraduate and graduate student nurses to conduct research that will advance reconciliation in nursing practice, research, education, and administration.

“This exciting new research program, with its holistic approach, will prepare a new generation of Indigenous youth to help reduce the health disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people,” said USask Vice-President of Research Karen Chad.

“Under Dr. Graham’s highly regarded leadership, this program provides an opportunity to strengthen reconciliation in nursing education so that Indigenous people are better served within the health care system.”

Funding for the new USask chair will total almost $1.05 million, with contributions of $666,500 from CIHR, $308,500 from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, $10,000 from the Canadian Nurses Foundation, and $60,000 from USask.

Graham, an assistant professor in the USask College of Nursing and a member of the Thunderchild First Nation, aims to increase student recruitment and retention of trained Indigenous nurses. Scholarships will be provided to 11 graduate and undergraduate students, with a focus on building relationships with community partners.

With the guidance of an Indigenous Advisory Committee, the program will bring together both Indigenous and Western research paradigms, incorporating First Nation and Métis ways of knowing into the curriculum, said Graham.

“Our goal is for all graduates from our program to have an understanding both of the traditional Western perspective of health and wellness, and of Indigenous worldviews,” said Graham. “Having this understanding will enhance all aspects of nursing practice.”

Graham, who has extensive experience as a registered nurse and as a registered doctoral psychologist, aims to harmonize Indigenous cultural approaches to nursing care with evidence-informed health practices.

Entitled, wahkohtowin (we are all related), the program will create the opportunity for personal, community, and collective wellness for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, with the ultimate goal of transforming relationships.

“The Medicine Wheel provides the framework for the holistic approach that considers the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the individual,” Graham said. “The Seven Sacred Teachings will provide the foundation for human conduct towards others by instilling the values and virtues of humility, honesty, respect, courage, wisdom, truth, and love.”

USask’s College of Nursing has a long history of Indigenous student success, and is recognized as having both the highest number and proportion of self-declared Indigenous nursing students in the country.


For more information, contact:

Kylie Kelso
Marketing and Communications Specialist
College of Nursing
University of Saskatchewan

Victoria Dinh
Communications and Media Relations Co-ordinator
University of Saskatchewan


COVID-19 in Sask: Youngest age group sees its biggest bump in cases – CBC

Four more cases in general were reported Monday, bringing the province’s total tally to 253

Apr 06, 2020

  • The province reported four more people infected with the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing Saskatchewan’s total tally of cases to 253.
  • 81 people in the province have no recovered from the virus.
  • Four are currently in hospital, including two people under intensive care.
  • Premier Scott Moe and Dr. Saqib Shahab will provide the latest provincial update at 2:30 p.m. CST. Stream it live here.
  • Three Nutrien potash workers have been infected by the virus.
  • Buy only what groceries you need, advocate says.

Saskatchewan reported its lowest new crop of COVID-19 cases in more than two weeks on Monday.

The province reported only four new cases, bringing the province’s total tally of cases to 253.

Out of that total, 81 people have recovered from the virus.

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Some of group charged with violating public health order, weapons and drug charges released – The Battlefords News-Optimist

April 6, 2020

One of the seven remanded in custody facing numerous offences – including failing to comply with a public health order during the COVID-19 pandemic – was released after a brief court appearance.

Eleven people were arrested March 27 and charged with breaking the Saskatchewan Public Health Order that says no more than 10 people can gather at one time without maintaining a two-meter distance. They were also charged with numerous weapons and drug-related offences. Dedrick Stick was released March 30 after appearing in Meadow Lake Provincial Court. Seven of the 11 were initially remanded in custody.

Six of the 11 remain in custody, including Cherokee Cantre, Lucas Oakes, Francis Waterhen, Jasmine Wahpistikwan, Loewen Wolfe and Lorrin Wolfe.

The charges stem from an incident on March 27 when Loon Lake RCMP responded to a report at about 1:30 a.m. of a suspicious person knocking on the door of a residence in Loon Lake. RCMP say they got a description of the vehicle and it was a stolen black 2000 GMC Yukon SUV. They notified nearby detachments to be on the lookout for the SUV.

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Metis Nation of Saskatchewan offering aid package to members – APTN

The Metis Nation of Saskatchewan (MNS) is offering a financial aid package to help with the burdens placed on its members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the MNS, $2.8 million will go towards helping with childcare, personal protective equipment and what its calling “financial household distress.”

The money is coming from the federal aid package to Indigenous communities that adds up to $305 million.

“This is the first time in our history as a Metis Nation that a government in Saskatchewan has the capacity to be able to react or deal with an emergency situation like this pandemic,” said MNS President Glen McCallum. “It’s very good to have those resources to be able to deal directly with our government which is made up of our local presidents with over 100 locals in our province.”

According to McCallum, this is part of a larger relief package that will be announced in the days to come.

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How to access free mental health and emotional support during the COVID-19 crisis – CBC

Whether you’re experiencing anxiety, addiction or abuse, confidential help is a call, text or click away

Apr 02, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic changes everyday life in dramatic ways, it’s also shaking the foundation of our psychological and emotional well-being. “Our basic premise for mental health is feeling safe and secure,” explains psychiatrist Dr. Sabeena Chopra, who works with Stella’s Place, a charitable organization providing support to young people in Toronto. “Now, we’re facing such uncertainty — about our physical health, the health of our loved ones, our jobs, our housing.”

Making matters worse, the COVID-19 crisis is also hindering what Dr. Chopra calls one of the most protective factors we have: social connection. “For some people, there is sometimes a great degree of social isolation even at baseline,” she says, “but now we’re all experiencing it, in a way we never have before.”

If you feel alone, overwhelmed or in crisis, there’s always someone you can call (or text) for help. Here are just some of the free, confidential resources available in Canada, depending on your needs.

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Saskatchewan First Nation announces first case of coronavirus –

April 3, 2020

Indigenous communities across Saskatchewan are putting measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It comes as the Indigenous services minister announced there have been 15 reported cases of the novel coronavirus in those communities as of April 2.

The minister wouldn’t clarify where the 15 were, but Onion Lake Cree Nation (OLCN), north of Lloydminister, confirmed its first case.

“Pandemic committee has been dispatched and will start the tracing process to ensure containment is done effectively and efficiently. Please continue to follow all precautionary measures at your home and keep social distancing a high priority,” the statement read.

OLCN said it is also in the process of applying to the Saskatchewan Health Authority to set up a drive-through testing site.

Read More:

GDI: COVID-19 – April 2nd

NEW Métis-specific emergency response (PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WIDELY)

*Full program details and instructions available on the MN-S website

On March 31, 2020 the Métis Nation Saskatchewan announced $2.88 million for immediate emergency COVID-19 relief measures for childcare, housing, and PPE. Below is a summary.

MN–S Emergency Housing Support Program

  • One-time $500 payment to Métis households needing relief
  • Available to registered and self-identifying Métis households accepted by the Métis community
  • Download the application for emergency relief funds here and submit the completed application to your regional office.
  • Contact your Regional rep to register for emergency funds / 1-833-343-8391

MN–S Childcare Support

  • One-time $500 per child to a maximum of $2,500
  • Children must be under 10; registered MN–S citizens; resident of SK for the past 6 months
  • An MN–S daycare for first responders and emergency workers will also be available
  • Full criteria and online applications are available on the MN–S website.
  • You can access the application here. Submit the completed application to
  • Contact Lisa Fleming at or 1-833-343-8391

MN–S Personal Protective Equipment Program

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may include hand sanitizer, masks, disinfectant cleaning supplies, gloves, clinical thermometers
  • Available to registered and self-identifying Métis
  • MN–S will access and distribute supplies and Regions will identify at-risk Métis
  • Identify need to your Regional representative / 1-833-343-8391

Student Updates

  • Gabriel Dumont Institute/Dumont Technical Institute classes continue to be delivered remotely.

Gabriel Dumont Institute Training & Employment Funded Clients:

  • GDITE funded clients whose programs are interrupted or altered will not have their income support, dependent care, and other non-travel-related allowances penalized, reduced, or cancelled.
  • Additional supports are available for funded clients who are required to relocate due to the COVID-19 situation.
  • Additional supports are also being offered to funded clients whose programs are interrupted or altered, who would benefit from tutoring.
  • GDITE funded clients whose programs are cancelled or extended due to COVID-19 will be allowed a one-time extension to their intervention.

GDI Graduation Ceremonies

  • All graduation ceremonies and events for all GDI/DTI/GDC programs to June 30, 2020 are postponed. Rescheduling to celebrate/mark graduations will be assessed in the future.

Public Updates

  • GDI facilities and service offices are closed to public access. Students and clients may be served by appointment and/or remotely. Call GDI toll-free at 1-877-488-6888.
  • NEW The GDI Prince Albert building re-opened to staff effective April 2, 2020.
  • GDITE career, employment, and training services to Métis continue to be available. Find more information at

GDI Golf Tournament

  • The GDI Golf Tournament, scheduled for May 29, 2020, is postponed. A tentative future date is August 21, 2020. Contact for more info.

For the health and safety of our workplaces and communities it is imperative to work together to limit exposure and spread of illness.

  • Practice effective handwashing techniques. Wash hands regularly with soap and water and for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home if you are sick (to prevent spreading illness to other people).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or cough or sneeze into your arm. Turn away from other people. Dispose of tissues immediately.
  • Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or using a tissue.
  • Do not touch your face (eyes, nose, or mouth).
  • Keep a distance of at least two meters (six feet) between people.

COVID-19 Information Online

Residents can go to for the latest information.

The province has introduced a dedicated, toll-free phone line for people who have general questions about the COVID-19 pandemic that are not health-specific. The new number will help take the pressure of the 811-healthcare line which is for people with symptoms or health concerns. The new number, for non-emergency COVID-19 questions, is 1-855-559-5502 (for Regina residents: 306-787-8539) available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Use Social Distancing

As individuals, we are responsible for ensuring our actions do not put others at risk.  Social distancing means avoiding close contact with others to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Keep a minimum distance of two metres from others when shopping or walking in the community (from Government of SK news release March 22, 2020).


PAGC: COVID-19 Office Closure

TO:  PAGC Staff, PAGC Offices, PAGC Member First Nations

FROM:  PAGC Executive

DATE:  April 2, 2020

RE:  COVID-19 – Office closure

Further to our memo of March 19, 2020; The Prince Albert Grand Council will continue to suspend all non-essential operations within our organizations. Non-essential staff will not be required to report to work but we do ask that you continue to be available by cell or to check your email throughout the day. This closure will remain in effect until it is safe to return to work.

All Full-time and part-time staff will continue to be paid. The Prime Minister promised in his address to the Nation that employees will receive financial support should this emergency continue indefinitely. Our organization will work with the Federal and Provincial Governments to ensure the best possible outcome.

Directors and Managers will identify duties and responsibilities that must continue during this closure.

At this time; the PAGC Executive would like to acknowledge and thank the essential and front line workers for their service during this difficult time.


Original signed
Al Ducharme
Executive Director



Huge impact on northern Sask. as COVID-19 shuts uranium mine – National Observer

April 2nd 2020

The economic cost of COVID-19 is hitting northern Saskatchewan — causing closures and lost jobs. Cameco’s shutdown of the Cigar Lake mine, combined with that of partner company Orano Canada’s McClean Lake mill, are now taking place. Real and far-reaching impacts of these closures have started to hit home.

Cameco corporation announced in March that the company is temporarily suspending production at Cigar Lake uranium mine and is placing the facility in care and maintenance mode due to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Impact on the ground is starting to play out.

Cameco Corp is the biggest publicly traded uranium company in the world and accounted for 18 per cent of production worldwide in 2015. It is also an economic staple for north Saskatchewan. Cameco’s partner, Orano Canada Inc., simultaneously shuttered its McClean Lake mill where ore from Cigar Lake is processed.

Read More:

USask awarded $5 million to lead new CIHR Indigenous health research networks to address health disparities

SASKATOON—University of Saskatchewan (USask) researchers have been awarded $5 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as part of a major new national initiative that aims to create a network of Indigenous research centres driven by and grounded in Indigenous communities.

Apr 1, 2020

The new $100.8-million, 16-year national program—Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR)—represents the largest-ever single investment in Indigenous health research in Canadian history. It is led by USask faculty member Dr. Carrie Bourassa, scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health based at USask, and involves the other 12 CIHR national research institutes as partners.

“Through these nine health research networks across Canada, researchers, Elders, and communities will work together to conduct vitally important health research based on the priorities and values of Indigenous peoples,” said USask Vice-President of Research Karen Chad. “This Indigenous-led, community-based approach will ensure better health outcomes for Indigenous peoples and foster the next generation of Indigenous health researchers. This is reconciliation at work.”

The national co-ordinating centre will be based at USask. It will work collaboratively with the NEIHR centres in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, and Canada’s circumpolar region to advance national and international Indigenous health research partnerships, establish an annual international Indigenous health research conference, and help evaluate the effectiveness of the new research networks.

Dr. Caroline Tait, a USask medical anthropologist and member of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S), has been awarded $1.5 million from CIHR to lead the national centre that will co-ordinate health research and training with the leads of the eight other regional Indigenous health research networks.

As well, with $3.5-million from CIHR over five years and in-kind support from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and MN-S, Tait will lead the Saskatchewan NEIHR network to foster health research within Indigenous communities, working in partnership with the FSIN, MN-S, the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, and a team of more than 60 researchers and community partners.

“The majority of our provincial network members are First Nations and Métis peoples who are best placed to lead health research, training and knowledge mobilization for our communities,” said Tait.

“These networks will help improve the health of Indigenous peoples by removing the barriers communities face in conducting their own health research, and by matching community needs with researcher interests and expertise.”

Two intertwined Saskatchewan networks—one for First Nations communities and one for Métis communities—will be established with funding from post-secondary institutions: $400,000 from USask, $75,000 from University of Regina (U of R), and $25,000 from First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv).

Over five years, these two networks will hire 12 people, award over $300,000 in community project grants, and support more than 50 Indigenous students.

Research assistants hired from Indigenous communities will collect data in communities across the province, community research facilitators will connect communities to relevant research opportunities, and Elders and Knowledge Holders will provide cultural guidance on relationship building, protocol, research, and community and land-based learning. The networks will also educate researchers in best practices.

“This project will provide an opportunity to collect and protect Métis-specific health data to inform Métis health and well-being priorities which will then determine areas of health care program design and service delivery to improve the overall wellness of our citizens, based on our identity, culture and values,” said Marg Friesen, MN-S health minister.

The Saskatchewan networks will work with researchers at USask, U of R, and FNUniv, and with partners including the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Gabriel Dumont Institute, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, Aboriginal Friendship Centres of Saskatchewan, Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

“Our goal is to ensure researchers and communities have the tools they need to work together effectively, guided by the First Nations’ OCAP® (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession) principles, and Métis health research and data governance principles,” said Tait.


For more information, contact:

Victoria Dinh
Communications and Media Relations Co-ordinator
University of Saskatchewan


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