Saskatchewan Polytechnic Celebrates a Decade of Indigenous Role Models

Sask Polytech has showcased 120 Indigenous student, alumni and employee success stories in an annual calendar


Representation of Indigenous role models is important to the success of Indigenous students. Since 2013 Saskatchewan Polytechnic has celebrated and shared these success stories through the annual Indigenous role model calendar. In more recent years, these stories have been shared online and on social media.

“Thank you to all of our role models, past and present, for inspiring future generations,” says Deanna Speidel, Sask Polytech Indigenous Strategy director. “Every year there are so many success stories we could share, it can be difficult to choose only 12. Our annual calendar and website are just two examples of how we show people across the province, and across the country, the important role Indigenous students play on our campuses and in our communities.”

According to Speidel, celebrating Indigenous success is about recognizing the importance of Indigenous peoples throughout Sask Polytech and Saskatchewan. “We have shared 120 unique and inspiring Indigenous success stories over the years. These stories showcase the resilience and strength of Indigenous people, providing inspiration for others to follow their lead. It also acknowledges the ongoing struggles and challenges faced by Indigenous peoples and the progress we have made.”

Indigenous students are an important part of Sask Polytech’s community. Following the principles of miyo wâhkôhtowin (good relationships), Sask Polytech strives to provide a place of belonging where all students can feel welcomed, inspired and empowered. Sharing Indigenous success stories helps to create a positive and inclusive learning environment on Sask Polytech campuses.

“One of our goals with the calendar is to inspire Indigenous students to continue their education and to inspire and empower future Indigenous leaders,” says Speidel. “I encourage everyone to take some time to read these stories, you can’t help but feel inspired.”

Each of the 120 stories are unique and describe how services, such as the Summer Transition Program and Indigenous Students’ Centres, help students overcome challenges to achieve success. Jaden Lamy, a Dental Assisting student who is featured for the month of March 2023, shares how she found a sense of community at Sask Polytech. She remembers knowledgeable instructors who were passionate about their work and genuinely cared about students’ well-being. “No matter the circumstance, they were there to support you and make you feel like you belong.”

Kimowan Ahenakew, another role model from 2023, joined Sask Polytech to improve her high school math grades. That was the beginning of several years of upgrading her high school marks. Her goal was to enter the Business diploma program, and that’s where the First Nation student found success. “I am learning how to utilize and promote my talents so I can operate a business in a professional manner,” Kimowan says. “I am working to become my own boss.”

Brandon Roberts is another Indigenous student who is back at Sask Polytech for the second time. He completed the Aboriginal Police Preparation program in 2013 and is now in the Resource and Environmental Law program. Brandon is enjoying this second journey through Sask Polytech. “One of my favourite memories is having the same instructor for Wildlife Biology as my mother had for biology when she was getting her education degree. To be learning from the same instructor who was so respectful and kind toward my mom, and for him to be giving the same kindness and respect toward me, it was a sense of feeling welcomed,” Brandon says.

Guided by the principles of reconciliation and a goal to create long-term positive change, Sask Polytech's Indigenous student advisors and support team help students with career planning, funding, housing, child care and more. Each Sask Polytech main campus location features an Indigenous students’ centre where students find access to cultural supports, community connections, campus events, elder services and other academic resources.

"Indigenous success stories are the norm at Sask Polytech, not the exception," says Speidel. "This calendar is just one way we celebrate our students and acknowledge their hard work to achieve their education and career goals.”

For more information on Indigenous student services or to check out the online version of the calendar, visit

March 2023


Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves students through applied learning opportunities on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 Territories and the homeland of the Métis.