Rita Bouvier (M.Ed.) is a Métis educator, writer/researcher, poet and activist who lives in Saskatoon, Sask. Originally from Ile a la Crosse, Rita maintains a strong connection to her family and home community in northern Saskatchewan. Rita has served in various leadership roles in support of K-12 and post-secondary education. These include: classroom teacher; Director of Gabriel Dumont Institute’s - Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program; administrative staff of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation; and, Coordinator of the Canadian Council on Learning - Aboriginal Learning Knowledge Centre with the University of Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal Education Research Centre. Rita continues to provide leadership as a consultant and researcher facilitating learning conversations and supporting decolonization efforts of communities and institutions. In 2014, she was named a laureate of the Indspire Award for Education in honour of her commitment to and extensive work in education.
Rita also does volunteer work in the arts and in community organizations addressing systemic problems confronting society. Currently, she serves as an advisor to the national Aboriginal Editors’ Circle initiative, as a board member on the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Writers’ Circle Inc., and as ‘friend’ to Iskwewuk E-wichiwitochik – Women Working Together (I.E.), having served for a decade with I.E.—a grassroots organization addressing the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
As a result of Rita’s commitment to community, education and the arts, she is often called upon to serve on various task forces and panels, the most recent being the Joint Task Force on Improving Education and Employment Outcomes for First Nations and Métis People. The 25 recommendations of Task Force’s 2013 final report reinforced foundational understandings of mutual dignified relations between governments and First Nations and Metis, the recognition and prevalence of racism and the need to reduce poverty, and the recognition of Indigenous languages and cultures.
Rita is a published poet with three collections of poetry: nakomowin’sa for the seasons (2015); papîyâhtak (2004); and Blueberry Clouds (1999). nakomowin’sa for the seasons was the 2016 winner of the Saskatchewan Rasmussen, Rasmussen & Charowsky Aboriginal Peoples’ Writing Award. In 2005, Gabriel Dumont Institute Publishing transformed the title poem papîyâhtak into a children’s book, Better That Way. Her poetry has appeared in literary anthologies, musicals and television productions, and been translated into Spanish, German and Michif. In addition to her poetry Rita has also contributed as an editor and author to books on education and the experience of Indigenous students.