The Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research (GDI), the official educational affiliate of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S), is directed by a twelve-person Board of Governors representing the MN-S regions. GDI offers a variety of accredited educational, vocational and skills training opportunities for the province's Métis in partnership with the University of Regina, the University of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST), the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT), the province's regional colleges, and Métis Employment and Training of Saskatchewan.
GDI, the only Métis-controlled educational and cultural institution of its kind in Canada, provides a wide range of programs and services to the province's Métis, including the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP), which has graduated more than 700 teachers through centres in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina. Gabriel Dumont College (GDC), another affiliate, delivers the first two years of a University of Saskatchewan Bachelor of Arts and Science degree (in Saskatoon and Prince Albert). The Dumont Technical Institute (DTI) develops and implements Adult Basic Education, skills training, as well as vocational and cultural programs. GDI's library services possess a substantial Métis-specific library collection, and the Publishing Department has developed more than seventy-five Métis-specific resources. In addition, the Institute administers various scholarship and cultural development funds on behalf of the Métis community.
GDI was founded in 1976 at an Association of Métis and Non-Status Indians (AMNSIS) cultural conference. However, it took four years of hard bargaining, protests and even sit-ins at the Legislative Building by AMNSIS and community activists before the provincial government allowed for GDI's creation. In 1980, it began operations in Regina with the signing of an affiliation agreement between itself, the University of Regina, and Advanced Education and Manpower. In 1980, the Institute's programs included SUNTEP, Curriculum Development and Research, a Library/Resource Centre, and a Field Liaison Program. That year the Institute had its first of fourteen consecutive annual cultural conferences, where the Métis and Non-Status Indian community celebrated Aboriginal culture. In 1983, the Institute began offering federally sponsored technical and vocational programs through the Saskatchewan Training for Employment Program (STEP). In 1985, GDI played a lead role in preparing cultural content for the 1885 Resistance Centenary celebrations at Batoche.
Darren R. Préfontaine