The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) will be paying tribute to Earl Cook, a northern indigenous leader and educator, during the 2017 spring convocation.
Cook said attending the U of S 40 years ago ignited a passion for education in him.
“My fondest memory is being part of a Métis local on campus that lobbied for the establishment of a Native Studies department,” Cook said in a statement.
“Also, meeting top-notch professors who became lifelong friends, and remain so to this day.”
The lobbying paid off with the formation of the Department of Indigenous Studies in 1983.
Cook also advocated for the establishment of the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research, which opened in 1980.
He went on to serve as an instructor and administrator in northern Saskatchewan for a number of education and training programs, including the Northern Teacher Education Program.
“The U of S is involved in the Northern Teacher Education/Northern Professional Access College in northern Saskatchewan and many of our graduates have become leaders in various fields at the local, regional and provincial levels,” Cook said.
U of S president Peter Stoicheff said Cook has spent his lifetime committed to creating education opportunities for First Nation and Métis people and improving their lives.
“His devotion to the promotion of education and training programs, Indigenous language retention and preservation, and developing economic opportunities for northern communities, has served as an inspiration to others,” Stoicheff said.
“His lifetime of achievement is a great example for all of us to follow as we build on our own commitment to Indigenous student success at the University of Saskatchewan.”
Cook will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws at the 2 p.m. CT convocation ceremony on June 7.