Meet our 2019 Stipend Award Winners!
My name is Brooke VanderKooi and I am a fourth year Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Alberta, majoring in Sociology and minoring in English. Once having completed my BA, my plan is to attend law school. I am Metis, and very proud of my connection to Metis history through my great-great-great-grandfather Ambroise-Dydime Lepine, the military leader of the Metis people during the Red River Resistance. I currently serve as Vice President Administration of the Aboriginal Student Council at the U of A. I am very excited to be working with Maskwacis this summer and to be joining the AIM-HI Network!
Internship Supervisor: Dr. Richard Oster, University of Alberta
Kari Brown is a member of the Louis Bull Tribe (Kisipatnahk) in Maskwacis, Alberta. She is of Plains Cree descent. Kari was raised in the small four nation community of Pigeon Lake Indian Reserve 138A in Central Alberta. She is a mother of three beautiful awasisak (children). In 2017 she earned her diploma in Early Childhood Development graduating with honours. In 2018 she also earned a University Studies Diploma from Maskwacis Cultural College. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Education with the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program through the University of Alberta MCC 2019 cohort. She also studies Cree language, and hopes to one day be a fluent Cree speaker. She has worked with children and youth within her community for the past 6 years. It is very important to Kari to role model to her children and her community the importance of Education. She has a love of learning especially in indigenous knowledge. The Cree culture and language plays is a significant part of Kari’s life. She grew up always attending ceremonies and learning Cree from her family and elders. Practising Cree culture and continually learning the Cree language is at the forefront of her way of life and being. Kari hopes that with the AIM-HI Network/AFNIGC experiential internship with Dr. Ross and Dr. Voyageur she can help other women in her community with regaining their identity and overcome the damages of cultural genocide, by helping them to learn the Cree culture and language.
Internship Supervisors: Dr. Sue Ross, University of Alberta and Dr. Cora Voyageur, University of Calgary
Angela is a Métis educator in Saskatchewan. She was raised in the village of St. Louis along the South Saskatchewan River. Angela is pursuing a Master’s degree in Education which is a course-based program delivered by Gabriel Dumont Institute and the University of Regina. She is a part of the River Women Collective, and is committed to the wellness of families, communities, the land and the rivers. Her work is guided by the Grandmother’s and shared with the youth.
Internship Supervisor: Dr. Janice Gaudet, University of Alberta
Yôtin Iskwêw (Wind Woman) - Holly Johnson-Rattlesnake
My name is Yotin Iskwew (Wind Woman); otherwise known as; Holly Johnson-Rattlesnake. I am a Samson Cree Nation member; my parents are Late Doreen (nee Buffalo) and Late Lawrence Johnson, grandparents were late Joe (Dion) Buffalo and Sarah (nee Louis), and Late Louise (nee Wahkeenew) and James Johnson. I am married to Chris Rattlesnake, I have 2 biological children, Wanona and Joel; and step- children, Jim, Mitchell, Shayla, Christan, Christi; I am also a Proud Grandmother.
The most profound education I have is the Traditional teachings that I have learned from my grandmother, Elders and Knowledge Keepers. The traditional knowledge I have gained has given me a greater confidence to be who I am today; and has empowered me as a Nehiyow Iskwew.
My Western Society education includes a BCOM and MA (Leadership and Administration), and currently a candidate for a Doctorate. I have numerous certifications in various areas of management and personal development including Virtues Project, Energy Balancing, Traditional Parenting, Leisure and Recreation, First Nations Management, IT Network Management and Executive Development Training.
My belief is that we need to reclaim our knowledge and to share the traditional knowledge we have to our People. Knowing who you are and where you come from will give you the confidence to move forward; and that is what I encourage always. Understand protocols; and respect all traditional keepers; as each and everyone of us has a teaching to share. We are all traditional knowledge keepers and have a responsibility to share our knowledge for generations to come.
I am currently involved in a variety of presentations such as on Nehiyow identity; traditional parenting; sisikwan, beading, leadership training, administration, strategic planning, career planning, Circle of Life with Nehiyow teachings incorporated into the teachings. A variety of sharing of language, protocols, directions, traditional teachings and using the Circle of Life as the model; and with hopes that the Spirt is awakened; seed is planted; and the journey begins.
I continue to do my part in teaching and reclaiming our traditional knowledge; as a statement that has resonated with me is from Samson Cree Nation Elder;Late Louis P. Crier who says in his interview with Maskwacis Cultural College:
“kispin kihkskêtên kinêhiyowin; wahyow êko katahkotaykohn”
(When you know your Cree way of life; that is going to take you a long way)
Internship: Population, Public and Indigenous Health Strategic Clinical Network
Nicolas Gibson is a proud Métis person from Winnipeg, Manitoba which is located on Treaty No. 1 Territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Dene, and Dakota, and is the Birthplace of the Métis Nation and the Heart of the Métis Nation Homeland. Nicolas is a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation. Nicolas is a second-year medical student at the University of Alberta and has an interest in dermatology and geriatrics. As one of the Senior Local Officers of Indigenous Health at the U of A, Nicolas organizes events aimed at engaging students, faculty and staff about Indigenous culture and current health issues. Nicolas also helped establish the Indigenous Medical and Dental Students’ Association whose purpose is to identify, represent, encourage, and advocate for the distinct needs of current and prospective Indigenous health care professionals that are grounded in our respective and distinctions-based traditions and teachings. This summer, Nicolas will be working with Dr. Cara Bablitz and the Palliative Care Outreach and Advocacy Team to help with their ongoing project of delivering palliative care services to inner-city and Indigenous patients. Nicolas will help establish a new project with the team called End-of-Life Wishes for Terminally-Ill Patients which will help grant inner-city community members facing a terminal illness with a meaningful wish during their end-of-life journey to help improve quality of life.
Internship Supervisor: Dr. Cara Bablitz, University of Alberta
Brittany Schroeder is a proud Métis woman from Vernon, BC located on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and a member of Métis Nation British Columbia. Brittany is a second-year medical student at the University of Alberta interested in pursuing a career in family medicine with a focus in Indigenous health. As a Local Officer of Indigenous Health at the U of A, Brittany organizes events and initiatives that promote awareness of the specific health issues that Indigenous communities face. She also helped to found the U of A’s first Indigenous Medical and Dental Students’ Association to represent and advocate for future Indigenous healthcare providers and provide mentorship and support to prospective and current students. Currently, she is working with the Palliative Care Outreach and Advocacy Team to learn about the multidisciplinary approach to supporting her patients on their end-of-life journeys and further understand the various challenges faced by inner-city and Indigenous patients and their families. Brittany strives to work with others to achieve the ultimate goal of health equity for Indigenous peoples.
Internship Supervisor: Dr. Cara Bablitz, University of Alberta
I am Metis and a member of the North Slave Metis Alliance, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. I am currently enrolled full-time at Athabasca University in my fourth year of a four-year B.A degree – Concentration: Sociology, Minor: Women & Gender Studies. I am the co-founder of an Indigenous focused holistic health program, Women Warriors (www.womenwarriors.club). For the past three years, alongside my co-founder, Dr. Sonja Wicklum, MD, Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary we have created a free 8 – 12 week program that includes physical fitness classes, nutrition education and a sharing circle aimed at improving Indigenous women’s health outcomes. I am also the proud mother of three girls ages 9, 7, and 6.
Supervisor: Dr. Janelle Baker, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Athabasca University
Melissa Shouting is a member of the Kainai (Blood) Nation and is of Blackfoot, Plains Cree and Gros Ventre descent. Melissa was raised by her family and community, collectively, within the Southern Alberta area. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences majoring in Public Health with a minor in Aboriginal Health, at the University of Lethbridge. She has worked on various research projects within the Faculty of Health Sciences receiving mentorship, training and guidance from academics and community leaders who are very knowledgeable within their fields. She has recently received an inaugural fellowship from the Sovereign Bodies Institute, which is based out of California and is also an affiliate of the Seventh Generation Fund. Her topics of interest include gender and sexual violence against Indigenous people, women’s health, HIV/AIDs within Indigenous populations, and the revitalization of gender roles within Indigenous populations. Melissa hopes to work alongside health care professionals within her field as a program specialist and analyst utilizing both Blackfoot and Western methodologies to encourage a holistic approach to overall health and well-being, both within Indigenous populations and the services that they access.
Supervisor: Dr. Silvia Koso, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge, with Kelsey Berg, Population Studies in Health, University of Lethbridge
MICHAEL BROADFOOT, Metis, feels he has a role to play in supporting a healthy Canadian identity. Michael has found much of his own identity through Post-Secondary and will finish his academic pursuits educated in scientific and traditional forms of health. Michael’s vision is to be a public figure for mental health, while acknowledging how the history of Canada has led to poor mental health outcomes for Indigenous peoples of Canada. Every person that has walked with Michael has taught him something, as he often says, “people are the best teachers.”
Supervisor: Dr. Pattie Pryma, Mount Royal University
Claire Heavy Head
My name is Claire HeavyHead, Niitaikitstikakii (One Holy Woman offering). I am Blackfoot/Cree from Kainai First Nations. Currently I am in my first year at the University of Lethbridge, in the Aboriginal Health Program. I have four wonderful children that mean the world to me and they are part of the reason I have chosen my educational goals. My goals are to graduate with the credentials needed in order to return to my community and support Indigenous women, children, and families. I am very passionate about supporting others, as there were people there to support me. Also, I am grateful for this opportunity to grow and enhance my skills that will help me in my educational journey. Hai Hai
Supervisor: Dr. Janice Victor, University of Lethbridge
Marlena is of Cree and Dutch ancestry; she is a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation out of Northern Alberta. Marlena is the eldest of 5 children; she is a mother, little mother (auntie), sister, daughter, granddaughter, friend, collogue, student, and she is dedicated to her community. Marlena is a helper, listener, protector, and advocate. Driven to help strengthen the connection of her culture and people. Coming from a family of strong Indigenous woman who have inspired her to challenge the limits. She has chosen to pursue an education, so she can further better the community. She is a first-year student at Mount Royal University. Accepted immediately into the Social Work program. This year she has been honoured with the opportunity to partake in 2 research projects as a research assistant over the spring and summer.
Supervisor: Dr. Cynthia Gallop, Mount Royal University
My name is Reanne Arcand and I am in my second year of Social work at Mount Royal University. I am a full time student and mother to a 4 year old boy. I am from Enoch Cree Nation, and I am currently an AIM-HI research assistant for an advocacy plan project. I plan on working with Indigenous women and children after I complete an undergrad degree in Social work, or in a hospital.
Supervisor: Dr. Cynthia Gallop, Mount Royal University
I am an Indigenous student from the Piikani Nation, and I am currently doing a studentship at the University of Calgary to support research in the Department of Family Medicine. Since 2016, I have been enrolled in environmental science at the University of British Columbia, and I plan to continue my studies in the social sciences at the University of Calgary from September 2019. While my degree began in the sciences, I have a passion for both sociology and media, leading to my change of major. Over the past couple years, I have hosted a radio show at UBC’s CITR 101.9 FM and have contributed in writing and with podcasts to various freelance and independent media outlets. While my own personal show has ended, I still routinely guest host on the University of Calgary’s student radio station, CJSW 90.9 FM. Additionally, I have worked with UBC’s Museum of Anthropology to study and share the importance of Indigenous cultural context and autonomy for healing and wellness. With the MOA, I was given the opportunity to work with archiving and presenting Indigenous coastal western cultures through a self- determined lens, and I have studied the valuable impact that can make upon a community. Supporting an Indigenous lens as a means for empowerment and healing, whether in the context of research or media, is what I consider to be my main career goal and the eventual result of my studies.
Supervisor: Dr. Rita Henderson, Departments of Family Medicine and Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary
Amber (Buffy) Bromley-Grier
Oki, my name is Artimissia Amber Bromley-Grier better known as Buffy. My Blackfoot name is A’poy’akii, which translated in English, means Light Haired Woman. I am a proud member from the Blood Tribe located in southern Alberta and I am a part of the Mamoyiksi Clan (Fish Eater Clan). My maiden name is Wings. I am the mother of two beautiful sons-I’toominaa and I’tsohkanskii. I am currently a student at the University of Calgary obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Indigenous Studies. Throughout the years I have been completing my degree, I have attended numerous sacred ceremonies on the Blood Reserve, which I believe has played a huge role in assisting me with my education. In the Blackfoot way, we are taught that every occurrence in our lives is embedded with significant meaning that teaches us how to live in the world and how to build relationships with each other. We are taught that the Creator guides us to situations or opportunities that will benefit our present situations or even future situations to come. I am a strong believer in the famous saying “Everything happens for a reason” as it rings much truth. I strongly believe that the Creator guided me to this opportunity I have been given with the AIM-HI Network Undergraduate Summer Student Stipend so that I can gain invaluable experience working on the Blood Tribe that will not only assist me in the future but also, my people.
Supervisor: Dr. Karlee Fellner, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary
Valerie N. Fox is a Cree Metis from Imperial Mills in Northeastern Alberta, Canada. She is a third-year student studying International Indigenous Studies and Sustainability Studies at the University of Calgary. Valerie has demonstrated extreme dedication to her passion as an advocate and promoter of Indigenous health and education by examining the historical and contemporary issues of Indigenous peoples in Canada. She will be assisting Dr. Jennifer Leason with her research in Indigenous maternal-child and reproductive health. Valerie has a reverence for nature and loves exploring and hiking in the Canadian Rockies. Her professional goals are to engage in ongoing learning, research, and consultation.
Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Leason, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary
Nevada Lynn Ouellette - University of Lethbridge
Nevada Lynn Ouellette is Cree/Métis from central Alberta. She is a mother and a ladies jingle dancer. Nevada obtained her Bachelor of Health Sciences Degree in Addictions counselling in 2015 and is currently in her second year of her Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology with a focus in Addiction and Mental Health. Nevada is passionate about the necessity of utilizing our traditional practices in the healing journey. After graduation Nevada, will start to register as a Psychologist and intends working with her local indigenous communities from a decolonizing framework.
Sharon Foster - University of Calgary
“My name is Sharon Foster and I am from Ohio, the traditional land of the Shawnee people, of which my paternal side of the family has heritage. My career the last 10 years has shifted from teaching to counselling and now to research. I have a Bachelor’s degree in both Political Science and Education and a Master’s in Counselling Psychology. I have had a steadfast interest and involvement in Indigenous traditions and plant medicines that I have sought to personally, professionally and academically integrate. I am fortunate and grateful for being accepted to study Indigenous health and plant medicines in University of Calgary’s department of Anthropology as a PhD student under the leadership of Dr. Jennifer Leason”.
Andrew Stewart - University of Calgary
Andrew Stewart is Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine. As a student in the University of Calgary's Leaders in Medicine program (combined MD-PhD program) Andrew's work focuses on the risk factors associated with infections in children living with autoimmune disease. Andrew is a proud member of the Metis Nation of Alberta and is looking forward to using the resources provided by AIM-HI to further deepen his connection to the Metis community.
Erica Hurley - University of Alberta
Erica Samms-Hurley is a Mi’kmaq woman from Newfoundland who earned her BN (2004) from Memorial University-Grenfell Campus, a MN (2014) from Athabasca University and began studies at the University of Alberta in the PhD of Nursing Program (2018). Erica is a wife and mother of two. She has worked in nursing education for over 10 years and is currently a nurse educator at Western Regional School of Nursing- Grenfell Campus. Erica is adjunct professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences (Humanities) at Grenfell. Since a young age Erica has dedicated her time to volunteering on numerous committees locally, provincially and nationally, such Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Health Advisory Committee and the Canadian Institute of Health Research Institutes Advisory Board for Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. Most recently she was appointed to the Council on Higher Education Subcommittee on Indigenous Education and the Newfoundland Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women. She has been recognized for her achievements and contributions by the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award. Erica has a passion for Indigenous health which is the focus of her future research work.
Chloe Crosschild - University of Lethbridge
Chloe Crosschild, Iitopii'tsankiakii (Singing Bird by the Shore) is a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy from the Kainai (Blood) Nation and has relations from both the Mamioyiiski (Fish Eaters) and Aakaipokaiksi (Many Children) Clans. Chloe is a proud, single mother to her daughter Paisley. Chloe is a registered nurse, working primarily in community health with Alberta Health Services and on the Blood Reserve. Chloe received her Bachelor of Nursing Degree in 2014 and is currently completing her Master of Nursing Degree at the University of Lethbridge. Chloe’s current research is community engaged, utilizing an Indigenous research methodology of Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot ways of knowing) for urban Indigenous mothers interfacing with postnatal nursing care in Southern Alberta. Chloe is currently working alongside Michele Parent-Bergeron, and Noelle Rohatinsky as co-investigators for a nursing research project led by Monique Sedgwick at the University of Lethbridge. The research project will explore Indigenous grad nurse experiences in Canada.
Pearl Yellow Old Woman - University of Calgary
Pearl Yellow Old Woman is a member of the Siksika Nation and is of both Blackfoot and Oji-Cree ancestry. She is a PhD Candidate in the Community Health Sciences Program specializing in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary. Her current research is Siksikaitsitapi informed health care for Indigenous children with disabilities. Pearl is the Graduate Representative for the Alberta Indigenous Mentorship in Health Innovation (AIM-HI) Network.
Nicole Eshkakogan - University of Alberta
Nicole Eshkakogan (Morning Star) is Anishnawbe/Blackfoot from Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, Ontario and the Piikani Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Southern Alberta. Nicole holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Alberta, where she is also completing her PhD on exploring the experiences of LGBTQ2S+ dancers on the pow wow trail. Her work and research background is in Indigenous social epidemiology, health equity, family violence, and gender and wellness. Over the last 15 years, she has worked in health systems management and as a research/evaluation consultant and analyst for a number of academic institutions, non-for-profit agencies, and community-based organizations throughout Canada. Nicole has been a recipient or co-recipient of various research and evaluation grants focused on Indigenous health and has completed several publications dedicated to improving the national agenda on understanding colonialism and the intergenerational impacts on Indigenous people and communities. Nicole currently works as a Scientist with Population, Public and Indigenous Health Strategic Clinical Network at Alberta Health Services.
Ashley Cornect-Benoit - University of Calgary
Ashley Cornect-Benoit (Mi’kmaw, French and Irish - Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, Port au Port Payun Aqq Payunji'j, Newfoundland Ktaqamk) is a second year PhD student in the Community Health Sciences program specializing in Population and Public Health at the University of Calgary. Ashley achieved her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Health while attending Laurentian University, which is located on the traditional territory of Atikameksheng Anishnaabeg.
Ashley’s understanding of holistic health and Western medicine has guided her lifelong research interests and has aided in the development of her current research project. As an academic and Indigenous health advocate, Ashley is committed to developing relationships with Indigenous communities across Canada to bring forth communally determined health initiatives that nurture intergenerational relationships to address health inequities faced by Indigenous people including mental health, notions of well-being and brain aging in First Nation youth and older adults.