U of S Chancellor Blaine Favel speaks at award ceremony recognizing Aboriginal students

Media are invited to the 2015 Aboriginal Achievement Week Student Awards ceremony.

By Jennifer Thoma
Thursday, Feb. 5
2-4 pm
Exeter Room, Marquis Hall, 97 Campus Drive
University of Saskatchewan

The awards ceremony—hosted by the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) Aboriginal Students' Centre (ASC)—celebrates and acknowledges Aboriginal students who are recognized by their colleges for excelling in their studies, undertaking unique or compelling research, making significant contributions to the community, or demonstrating leadership.

U of S Chancellor Blaine Favel will provide the keynote address. Favel is the executive chairman of One Earth Oil and Gas, a Plains Cree leader who has made significant contributions to scholarship, education and public service.
For more information or arrange an interview, contact:

Jennifer Thoma
Media relations
University of Saskatchewan

Aboriginal Achievement Week Student Award winners:

College of Agriculture and Bioresources:

In the category of community: Alfred Gamble
Gamble is a first-year student at the U of S and is actively involved in his community. He sits on a number of boards, including the Ministry of Environment, Forest Branch, and Prince Albert Model Forest. For the past nine years, Gamble has been working for the Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation as a land manager's assistant.

In the category of academic achievement: Braden Myhr
Myhr is a third-year student in the Bachelor of Renewable Resource Management program, majoring in resource sciences. He is from Hudson Bay, and is a past recipient of the Agrium Aboriginal Student Award.

College of Arts and Science:

In the category of academic achievement: Avery Michael
Michael is from the Ahtahkakoop First Nation and achieved the highest academic standing in the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program (ASAP) in term one of the 2014/2015 academic year. In addition to exhibiting outstanding academic performance in his first term of university, Michael is also a Huskie soccer player.

In the category of academic achievement: Dakota Swiftwolfe
Swiftwolfe, from Moosomin First Nation, is a talented and hard-working artist, and is in the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program. Swiftwolfe's responsible nature, strong work ethic and courage to explore new media.

In the category of academic achievement: Lisa Langan
Langan is a Saulteaux woman and band member of Cote First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory. She is a fourth-year student concurrently working on a BA in native studies and a BEd through the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program. Through her work as a peer mentor, teacher's assistant and a former academic ambassador at the Aboriginal Students' Centre, Langan has not only supported other Indigenous students in their academic pursuits, but has also learned a lot about herself. Langan hopes to complete a master's degree and to continue her work with Indigenous people and communities.

In the category of leadership: Peer mentors of the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program (ASAP):
Lisa Langan
Victory Harper
Monica Iron
Michaella Shannon
Enola Frank
Raylene Keshane
Milo Cameron
Naomi Muskego
Lisa Borstmayer

The ASAP Learning Communities' peer mentors are volunteer upper-year Aboriginal students who facilitate sessions on study skills, goal setting and stress management. The ASAP peer mentors play a very important role in supporting first-year students. They share experiences, connect students to support services, and organize information sessions and cultural events.

College of Education:

In the categories of academic achievement and leadership: Ashley Ironstand
Ironstand is a fourth-year student in the Indian Teacher Education Program in the College of Education, and is from the Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation. Ironstand is receiving these awards for the outstanding job she did during a four-month internship at Fairhaven Elementary school in Saskatoon.

In the category of leadership: Samson Lamontagne
Lamontagne is originally from Regina and moved to Saskatoon hoping to play for the Huskies men's basketball team. After playing five seasons with the Huskies, Samson graduated with a degree from the College of Kinesiology. Motivated to become a teacher and coach, Lamontagne applied and was accepted into the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program. Lamontagne looks forward to having his own classroom and will continue to educate and inspire youth to set goals and reach their potential.

Edwards School of Business:

In the category of academic achievement: Marsha Janvier
Janvier is originally from La Loche. She received her business administration Diploma with great distinction from Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) in May 2014. Following this, she attended the Edwards School of Business and was accepted into the accounting program. Janvier's strong work ethic and determination will build the foundation for her to have long-term success in future endeavours.

In the category of academic achievement: Nora Joyea
Joyea is originally from the Whitecap Dakota First Nation. She received her accounting diploma with distinction from SIIT in May 2013. Following this, she attended the Edwards School of Business and was accepted into the accounting program. Joyea works diligently to ensure that she fully understands her course work and is happy to provide a helping hand when needed by her peers.
College of Engineering:

In the category of academic achievement: Connor Theoret
Theoret was born and raised in Saskatoon. At a young age he was taught to never take the easy road, which may explain why he was interested in becoming an engineer. Theoret's current career aspirations are to work with a mining company that operates in the province, and to use his leadership skills to create mutually beneficial partnerships that give back to Aboriginal communities.

In the category of community: Jordan Gonda
Gonda is a master's student in water resources engineering at the U of S and is of Métis descent. He grew up in rural Saskatchewan, and attended school in Dalmeny. Gonda has worked with high school students at James Smith Cree Nation to help explain water issues related to flooding and water treatment, and has volunteered at the Saskatoon Children's Festival. Gonda enjoys martial arts and yoga, and has spent several years as an assistant karate instructor.

College of Graduate Studies and Research:

In the category of community: Blake Charles
Charles is from Stanley Mission or Amachewespimawin, as it is known to Cree people. As a master's student in the northern governance and development program, he shares and advances his knowledge of northern Indigenous issues and applies this knowledge to his work with community development. Through his education and leadership, Charles has been a long-time advocate for healthy northern communities.

In the category of leadership: Donald Bear
Bear is from the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, and now lives in Saskatoon. A two-spirited Cree man, he has met challenges head on and shown strong leadership skills in his academic and professional pursuits. While a master's student in the northern governance and development program, he volunteered his time with a number of initiatives. Bear is a conscientious, proactive student, often offering encouragement and support to others.

College of Law:

In the category of community: Lorne Fagnan
Fagnan is in his second year of study in the JD program. This year, Fagnan has served as the student manager at the Community Legal Services for Saskatoon Inner City (CLASSIC), which is associated with the college. Under the supervision of lawyers, law students help to meet the needs of Saskatoon residents who would not otherwise have access to legal services.

In the category of leadership: Lorretta Markowski
Markowski is in her third year of study in the JD program in the College of Law. She has taken a leadership role in the college as the elected president of the Aboriginal Law Students Association (ALSA). In this role, she has engaged Aboriginal students in discussions about legal and political issues that are of significance to Indigenous Canadians. She has also made considerable efforts to foster a collegial relationship among ALSA members and to raise awareness of the concerns of Aboriginal students.

College of Medicine:

In the category of leadership: Karissa Brabant
Brabant traces her roots back to Little Black Bear First Nation in Saskatchewan. Her greatest role models are her parents who worked very hard to provide for her and her siblings. Her greatest obstacle for getting into medicine was her own ability to think she was good enough as an Aboriginal person. She completed a biology degree at the University of Regina, applied to the U of S College of Medicine and, much to her delight, was accepted. Brabant is very involved in promoting Aboriginal health and encouraging Aboriginal youth to look at careers in a variety of health professions.

In the category of leadership: Joshua Butcher
Butcher is a Métis student who has worked very hard to gain entrance into the College of Medicine and is well on his way to completing his first year. He has volunteered numerous times at Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health (SWITCH), a student-run multidisciplinary clinic. He recently spoke at Austin O'Brien High School in Edmonton, his former high school, where he encouraged Aboriginal students to pursue post-secondary studies. Butcher also volunteers with the Edmonton Christmas Bureau delivering hampers to less fortunate families. He has coached minor football teams, volunteered with Big Brother and Big Sisters, and this past year, played his fourth season with the U of S Huskies football team.

College of Nursing:

In the category of academic achievement: Danielle Stilborn
Stilborn grew up in La Ronge. She graduated from Churchill Community High School and then moved to Prince Albert to take the Northern Health Science Access Program. She moved back home after a year to take the first ever nursing degree program in La Ronge. Stilborn hopes to work as a public-health nurse or home-care nurse to help improve the health of others.

In the category of research: the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women student group:
Ronalda Johnson
Denise Huet
Erica Martin
Tenneille Esperance

In a leadership in nursing class Johnson, Huet, Martin and Esperance chose to study about missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Their goal was to raise awareness and create dialog about the issue and to ask Saskatoon City Council to lobby the federal government to support a national inquiry. City Council agreed and offered to send a recommendation to Ottawa to support this very important issue.

The students are proud to have given a voice to the hundreds of women and girls who have gone missing or have been murdered over the past three decades. Their hope for a national inquiry is to offer the families of these women some form of closure and to acknowledge these women as victims, and to put a stop to the senseless violence targeting Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.

College of Pharmacy and Nutrition:

In the category of academic achievement: Dallas Odgers
Odgers, along with two brothers, was born in North Battleford and raised by his mother. He wanted to become a registered dietitian after being inspired by an information session put on at the U of S. Odgers plans to get his degree in Nutrition, become a registered dietitian and to contribute to the health and well-being of his community.

In the category of academic achievement: Kirsten Sweet
Sweet is Saulteaux from Cowessess First Nation, located in Southern Saskatchewan. She was born in Edmonton but raised in Regina. Her father is a registered nurse, so at an early age was exposed to the health sciences. Sweet received an entrance scholarship to the University of Regina and attended for two years before transferring to the U of S to study pharmacy. After graduating, she began a pharmacy residency program with the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region.

St. Thomas More College:

In the category of leadership: Kathleen Ashley Maria MacLean
MacLean graduated from Holy Cross High School in Saskatoon in 2011 and is in her third year of studies pursuing a degree in drama. Always the dramatic soul, she has been involved in many drama productions on campus.

MacLean also gives her time and talents in support of the community. She has volunteered for the Open Door Society, which provides support and services to refugees and immigrants. She is currently serving her third term on the executive of Newman Centre, a Catholic student club founded at the U of S in 1926. In addition to this, Maclean is a volunteer lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Thomas More College Chapel.

Having previous modelling experience, MacLean now teaches classes for youth at SHE Modelling. She also participates in campus rec. basketball.