SIIT and Nutrien unveil pawâcikêwikamik: Nutrien MakerLodge to empower Indigenous innovation and technology
Published: Aug 15, 2023
As a company deeply rooted in Saskatchewan, Nutrien recognizes the importance of building meaningful relationships and supporting initiatives that empower individuals in the province.
The recent announcement of Nutrien’s partnership with Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) as they proudly launched the pawâcikêwikamik (pronounced puh-wah-see-kew-wik-ah-mik’): Nutrien MakerLodge, demonstrates Nutrien’s commitment to inclusion, paving the way for increased opportunities and enhanced educational pathways for Indigenous students and entrepreneurs.
“SIIT and Nutrien have been partners for a very long time. When Nutrien heard there was a physical space that they (SIIT) wanted to create to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and innovation, we knew that was something we wanted to be a part of,” says Pam Beaudin, Senior Indigenous Relations Manager. “It aligns with our values at Nutrien and supporting our community here in Saskatoon, helping to grow that entrepreneurial spirit within our Indigenous communities.”
The MakerLodge will stand as a vibrant hub, with the name “pawâcikêwikamik” which is a Cree word meaning 'a lodge supporting those who dream.' Its mission is to empower Indigenous learners, nurture creativity and strengthen community connections while preserving culture and language. The MakerLodge has already facilitated over 800 training hours, benefiting more than 60 First Nations and making significant strides in fostering First Nation inclusion and leadership in the tech economy.
For Nutrien, this partnership holds additional significance as one of its employees, Brooke Laliberte, Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations, is a proud graduate of SIIT.
"SIIT played a crucial role in my academic journey, providing access to the Business Administration Program and easing my transition to Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan for my Bachelor of Commerce,” says Brooke. “I then began my journey with Nutrien in 2020 as part of the company’s Indigenous Internship Program. Nutrien’s investment in SIIT’s MakerLodge makes me feel proud to work here. The MakerLodge empowers youth, supporting their growth as future leaders in the technology field, benefiting our communities for generations to come."
Beyond the physical infrastructure, Nutrien and SIIT also joins forces to empower Indigenous youth by providing access to cutting-edge technology, hands-on learning opportunities and equipping students with state-of-the-art technology to empower young minds, enabling them to become future leaders.
"The partnership with SIIT exemplifies Nutrien's commitment to inclusion and meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities,” says Brooke. “Investing in these opportunities and including Indigenous communities in community investment reflects respect for Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories and belief in the potential of Indigenous youth to shape a brighter future."