We would like to take a moment to share with you a little bit about ourselves, who we are, where we come from, what our experience is, what we are passionate about and why we decided to start Stronger Nations.
My name is Shelly Niemi and I am a Métis/Cree woman who was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. I am a Mother, Foster Parent, WHL Hockey Billet Mom, District Administrator for Aboriginal Education, and the Executive Director for Stronger Nations. I was relocated to Prince George, BC as an infant to live with extended family as my birth mother was only thirteen years old when I was born. I grew up attending many different elementary and secondary schools within my community. As a student I never felt that I had a sense of belonging to education or who I was as an Aboriginal Student. I was disconnected from my Culture, and my Identity. It was because of my own personal lived experiences as a child and youth that my Passion grew for wanting to support Aboriginal Children, Youth, Families, and Elders. In order to do this, I needed to attend Post-Secondary and in 2001 I began my education as a First Generation Aboriginal Student from my Family. I completed my undergraduate Degree in First Nations Studies, and my Master’s Degree in Education. In 2004 While in University I began working in Aboriginal Education and since 2010 I have had the privilege to lead a Team of 105 Staff in Aboriginal Education. I am an Advocate for Aboriginal Children, Youth, Families, and Elders. And I am passionate about Aboriginal Education, Social Justice, Restorative Education, Early Learning, Anti-Oppressive Practice, Culture and Identity. Over the last six years I have presented over 40 workshops on topics Related to Aboriginal Education, Emceed Events, Moderated Panel Discussions and have been a Keynote Speaker on various occasions. I am deeply passionate about bringing people together to support Aboriginal Children, Youth, Families and Elders. And I believe that through Relationships, Collaboration, and Shared Collective Knowledge that we can become Stronger Nations. This is Why in the Fall of 2012 My Best Friend Jennifer Parisian and I decided that we would take the Risk and Self-Fund our 1st Annual Conference.
Please let me Welcome you to Our Company Stronger Nations, and say that we truly look forward to you joining in the Global Conversations across our Professions as we Continue to Grow Together as Stronger Nations.
My name is Jennifer Parisian I am a Mother of two Métis boys, Social Justice Advocate, Relationship Builder, Community Connector, Stronger Nations Director and Aboriginal Education Community Enhancement Officer. I am Passionate about Traditional Knowledge, Land-based Education, Technology and bringing people together . My education is in Social Work, and this profession has led me to front line service work with children, youth, and families for over 16 years. Over the last 6 years I have had the privilege to use my post-secondary education to work with the community in supporting Aboriginal Education. I am passionate about connecting people across disciplines and professions as I have seen first hand the benefits that these connections can have as often times we are all supporting the same children, youth, families, Elders or communities. Yet, as Professionals we are not engaging in the same Professional Development, and are often isolated within our own disciplines. It was through this deep conversation with my Best Friend Shelly Niemi in 2012 that we really discovered that rarely are their opportunities for cross disciplines / cross professions to come together to Collaborate, build deeper Relationships and Share Collective Knowledge. So We decided to Take the Risk and Try to Create this Opportunity for People across all Professions to come together to Strengthen our Relationships to support the Aboriginal Children, Youth, Families, and Elders that we all may be working with. In March 2013 we Self-Funded our 1st Annual Stronger Nations Conference and this is when we truly saw our Vision become a Reality and realized that many Professionals from all different disciplines wanted this type of venue to connect with each other. Ever Since Then, We have remained committed to our Shared Vision, and have listened to the Many Mentors, Elders, and Professionals that Support us and we will continue to grow and provide our Annual Conference so Together we can Continue to Grow as Stronger Nations.