Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was raised on the Siksika Nation reserve and I speak Blackfoot and am familiar with the Blackfoot culture. I have more than 30 years of leadership, management and governance experience which I gained as a former chief, councillor, manager and consultant. I served the Siksika Nation government from 1993 to 2010.
I graduated from uLethbridge with a Bachelor of Arts in 2016 with a major in Native American Studies. I have also completed numerous management and leadership certificates from Mount Royal University (2004) and from the Banff Centre’s Aboriginal Leadership and Management Development Program (2005). I am currently enrolled in the Master of Education Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Calgary.
How long have you been at the U of L and what do you do here?
I started on May 10, 2021. I’m one of three uLethbridge Education Navigators hired under the Mastercard Foundation project. I will be working with the Siksika Nation students, while the other two positions will work with Kainai (Blood Tribe) and Piikani First Nations students. The Education Navigator position is a newly created role as part of the Master Card Foundation project and is part of uLethbridge’s support towards its commitment to reconciliation and providing an inclusive PSE environment working in partnership with the Blackfoot Confederacy. The Navigator’s goal is to aid the Director of Indigenous Education and Communications (my supervisor) to enhance recruitment and support for prospective Indigenous students at uLethbridge and increase Indigenous student success and community relationships. The position will be responsible for identifying required supports and recommending new student education pathways beneficial to enhance students pursuing post-secondary educational goals.
What’s the best part of your job? What is the most meaningful part of your job?
The best part will be to help Indigenous students succeed in pursuing their university degree while attending the University of Lethbridge.
With June being National Indigenous History Month, what do you wish everyone knew or understood about Canada's Indigenous history? Going forward, what do you hope happens with Canada's reconciliation efforts?
Canada needs to implement the 94 Calls to Action under the TRC. All levels of government — federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous — need to work together to change policies and programs that aim to repair the harm caused by residential schools and move forward with reconciliation.
The "calls to action" are divided into two parts: Legacy (1 to 42) and Reconciliation (43 to 94.)
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you? Or, alternatively, what do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy reading and writing: In January of 2020, I launched my book First Nations Self-Government: 17 Roadblocks to Self-Determination and One Chief’s Thoughts on Solutions. I’m working on my second book. I’m hoping to have it ready for launching in January 2022. I enjoying working with people (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) where I can contribute to making a difference in their lives, i.e. developing a pathway to success for the Indigenous students attending the University of Lethbridge.