Patricia Hall will receive an award for leadership at this year’s Indigenous Student Achievement Awards. (Photo: Carey Shaw)

Political and Indigenous studies student finds her potential

Strong women, loving children and a drive to succeed contribute to the success of Patricia Hall.

By John Shelling

Hall is following her dreams. Now in her fourth year, Hall is pursuing a double major in political and Indigenous studies. After graduation she plans on pursuing a master’s degree in Indigenous governance. Hall is a Dene/Métis woman from the Black Lake First Nation, is located on Treaty 8 Territory.

Hall will receive an award for leadership at this year’s Indigenous Student Achievement Awards on Feb. 7. Indigenous students from across the University of Saskatchewan (USask) will be honoured at a ceremony to recognize their academic excellence, leadership, research endeavours or community engagement.

The award ceremony is part of Indigenous Achievement Week (IAW), which celebrates the successes and contributions of Métis, First Nations and Inuit students, staff and faculty. The festivities include a public art project, speakers and celebrations in various locations across campus.

We asked Hall a few questions about her time at USask and what motivates her.

Why did you choose Political and Indigenous Studies?

I am choosing to pursue an education in the disciplines of political and Indigenous studies as a way to better understanding the differing worldviews between Indigenous nations and Canadians. In an effort to best help bring Canadians to understand their position as Settlers and to help find ways to eliminating the barriers imposed on Indigenous peoples as we work to thrive within the Canadian colonial discourse.  

What advice would you give other parent’s pursuing higher education?

To Indigenous parents working on or preparing to pursue their education I would say, never give up. Despite the implications of your past, the limits of your present and the unknowing of tomorrow, never give up. Your potential isn’t given to you; you must find it. It is through each day that we unveil what we are meant to do and who we are meant to be.  

What plans do you have for the future?

In the future, I plan to pursue a Master’s of Indigenous Governance, a Law degree, and possibly a PhD. I hope to work in the area of Sustainable Economic Development and to help strategize with Indigenous communities in an effort to better the lives of Indigenous peoples and their communities through decolonization as a way of life.  

Has there been someone in your life who has inspired you to get to where you are today?

My children are my main inspiration. They pay the ultimate sacrifice as their mother pursues her dreams and I am forever grateful to them and my hope is that they too will always work hard to fulfill their dreams. My late friend Lance Cutarm has also played a significant role in helping me to see my full potential, through life and through death he continues to guide me.  

This year’s theme of the Indigenous Achievement Week is Powerful Voices. If there is one thing you can use your voice for in this moment what would it be for?

Powerful Voices have raised me. Surrounded by strong women with equally as significant knowledge and teachings, I continue to learn and be empowered by the power of women. In this moment, I hope that other young Indigenous mothers continue to learn, grow and pursue their best life.