Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Oki, my name is Lindi Shade (BA '06) and I'm a member of Kainai-Blood Nation. I live with my three children, Alexi, Jaiden, Brooke and my husband Darcy. I attended Red Deer College in 1998 and transferred to the University of Lethbridge in 2001, where I majored in psychology. The determination to succeed in obtaining this level of education was a challenge. I withdrew from the U of L to take care of my eldest daughter, Alexi. I returned to the U of L in 2005 when Alexi was 14 months old and it was difficult to balance being a mom and meeting the demands of my courses. I had tremendous support from my family as well as my grandfather, the late Allen Shade during those years. However, there was a huge missing element that I felt would have benefited my overall well-being — access to an Indigenous counsellor to help support me during my time at the U of L.

With the support and guidance of my psychology instructor, the late Phil Jones, I applied to the Bachelor of Social Work program during my last year in the BA program. In 2008, I achieved a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Calgary-Lethbridge Campus. I was hired by Southwest Child & Family Services as a caseworker in Taber; however, I was determined to work towards a graduate degree in order to provide mental health services to our First Nations communities. In 2009, the University of Calgary-Lethbridge Campus was offering the first Master of Social Work Degree program - Clinical Specialization. I was honoured when I was offered admission and I successfully obtained my degree in the fall of 2011. I primarily worked as a mental health therapist and managed addictions, mental health, and the Indian Residential School programs within Piikani and Kainai Nations. One of the major highlights is working as a mental health therapist for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Lethbridge in 2013 and for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Calgary, 2015.

How long have you been at the U of L and what do you do here?
I was hired as the manager for Iikaisskini-Indigenous Student Centre in February 2020 until present. Our Centre is awaiting an exciting transition to relocate our current centre to a centralized location to better serve our Indigenous students. Iikaisskini offers support, guidance, cultural programming and events, and Elder support for all our Indigenous students. Our office strives to promote a holistic framework to ensure our students are provided with an overall support system — a home away from home for all Indigenous students.

What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is working with a strong team that shares the same vision of supporting our Indigenous students towards success. The most meaningful part of my job is to support our Indigenous students and help them experience the excitement of their educational journey. I am honoured to be in this role and to continually support our Indigenous students in this capacity.

This week we recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. What does this day mean to you?
This week is a very emotional and overwhelming time for many Indigenous students and staff. Particularly, this year has been overwhelming with the discovery our Indigenous children’s remains in various Indian Residential Schools across Canada.

I am very honoured and proud the University of Lethbridge acknowledges and celebrates the importance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We invite all students and staff to partake in our activities and remember our Centre is open to all students who would like to stop in and visit our staff. Also, please purchase an orange shirt to commemorate the importance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy seasonal hiking, skiing, and I enjoy watching classic ‘80s cheesy movies, horror movies and cliché movies with my husband.