Darrell Daniels is employing his skills and education gained at the University of Lethbridge into his new career as Siksika Education Navigator, helping Indigenous students find a pathway to post-secondary success. He will graduate in Spring 2023 with his Bachelor of Arts.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Oki, my name is Darrell Daniels, and I am from the Siksika Nation which is approximately 30 minutes east of Calgary. Growing up, I attended school off-reserve and graduated from Strathmore High School in 2009. I was raised with strong pride in my Indigenous culture and followed my Blackfoot traditions at a young age by participating in powwows, hunting, fishing and connecting to the land. As I got older, I had to make the tough decision of going to powwows or playing competitive baseball over the summers, which led me to playing Triple A hardball throughout my teenage years. I have just recently completed my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Lethbridge with a major in Indigenous studies and minor in Indigenous governance and business management.
I will be participating in convocation on June 1, which is a huge highlight for me as I will be the first person in my family to graduate with a post-secondary degree. I could not have done it without the support of my wife and daughter.
How long have you been at ULethbridge and what do you do here?
I am currently employed with Iniskim Indigenous Relations as the Siksika Education Navigator. I have been in my role since October 2022, balancing my full-time school studies and high dedication to my navigator position.
What is the best part of your job?
This role is very rewarding to me because it allows me to be in the community of Blackfoot territory and it allows me to use my skills to help Indigenous youth be successful in their post-secondary studies. The best part of my job is seeing the increased numbers of Indigenous graduates at the post-secondary level during a time of reconciliation.
How did your experience as a student at ULethbridge prepare you for your new role?
Being a student at ULethbridge has prepared me for my role as the Siksika Education Navigator in so many ways. It has allowed me to be more confident in my public speaking and have a strong understanding of Indigenous culture not only in Canada, but worldwide.
Thanks to ULethbridge, I have a clear insight on Indigenous sovereignty, Indigenous law and Indigenous governance, which has given me self-confidence and helped guide me in creating opportunities to encourage Indigenous youth to rise at the post-secondary level.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work, you can find me golfing, refereeing minor hockey or watching the New York Yankees on TV. I also enjoy spending time with my wife Jami and daughter Jayla. In the fall I usually go hunting, which has been an annual tradition with my late grandfather that I still carry on.