Our Team

Shana Dion, Director

ShanaI would like to acknowledge the Traditional Territory on which we are gathered, a welcoming place for peoples from around the world. I would like to acknowledge the First Peoples whose footsteps have marked this territory for centuries the: Cree, Saulteaux, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux. In the spirit of my ancestors, "kinanâskomitin" (thank you — I am grateful to you) I believe in the recognition of the First Peoples and the gathering of all peoples, is how we can truly uplift the whole people. 

Atamiskâtowin (Greetings)

Tânisi osâwâw acâhkos nehiyaw iskwew niya Kehewin Cree Nation ochi niya. Hello, my spirit name is ‘yellow star’, and I am a Cree woman from Kehewin Cree Nation. It is important that I introduced myself in Cree because it grounds me in who I am, where I come from and who I am accountable to. I am truly humbled and thankful for this opportunity to be present for the First Nation, Métis and Inuit students while they are on their academic journey at the University of Alberta.

My hope is that students self-declare their ancestry. My decision to declare my First Nation status upon my admission to the U of A was simple — I wanted the University community to know I was here … that I as a Nehiyaw Iskwew, and that I counted.

As the Director of Aboriginal Student Services Centre (ASSC) I am dedicated to:

  • Supporting, guiding and delivering holistic support to First Nation, Métis and Inuit students on campus.
  • Connecting First Nation, Métis and Inuit traditional knowledge keepers to students and the campus community when requested.
  • Supporting in the development of institutional culture, space, systems and support that nurtures access and success for First Nation, Métis and Inuit Students.
  • Collaborating campus wide and actively participate in committees where First Nation, Métis and Inuit matters are predominant. 
  • Supporting projects and collaborating with First Nation and Métis and Inuit organizations off campus to establish innovative new projects when invited.
  • Connecting and nurturing relationships with Elders and community members.
  • Supporting and establishing a First Nation and Métis and Inuit ASSC alumni group.
All of these responsibilities are deeply-rooted in a holistic way of being with balance in all things while on your journey through life. No different in supporting the First Nation, Métis and Inuit students of campus in a holistic way along with nurturing those relationships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

Balance in all aspects of life is essential to our wellbeing so my suggestion to you is to GET ACTIVE! Please take advantage of the wide range of fitness programs and intramural programs that Recreation Services on campus has to offer! I have taken classes that I never thought I would have in my lifetime such as; Pilates, yoga, muscle/strength & endurance to BOOT CAMP and ZUMBAAA!! Miyo-pimâtisiwin!! (living the good life)
More importantly, I believe that practicing traditional ways and sharing traditional knowledge on campus will provide the space to bring together the larger campus community to engage, educate, and embrace our communal history! 

I welcome you to visit us at the Aboriginal Student Services Centre. Office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. To book an appointment or to find out more information about the Aboriginal Student Services Centre, feel free to contact me at shana.dion@ualberta.ca or 780-492-5677.

Ototemihtowinihk, (in friendship)

Shana Dion
Director, Aboriginal Student Services Centre
shana.dion@ualberta.ca

Suzanne Butler, Transition Year Program Coordinator

Suzanne

My name is Suzanne Butler and I am the Transition Year Program Coordinator at the Aboriginal Student Services Centre.  I am from just west of Edmonton and grew up very close to the Enoch Cree Nation.  I attended school on reserve for a significant portion of my education, and really wanted to be able to do more to bridge both western and indigenous learning because I fell that the current education system was not inclusive enough of First Nation, Métis and Inuit history or culture.  I decided to pursue Education, and completed my BEd (Secondary) and later my MEd at the University of Alberta. 

I really believe that students will be more successful in post-secondary if they are willing to engage with the campus community and be willing to explore the supports and services available to them.  I am proud of the work we do at ASSC and encourage all First Nation, Métis and Inuit students to proudly self declare their status when they apply.

I think that the Math and Applied Sciences Centre, and the resource librarians have a huge impact on reducing frustration and confusion when it comes to problem solving and research….they are really underutilized supports that can have a really positive impact you’re your academic success. 

My favorite thing about living in Edmonton is you really get to experience all 4 seasons each year, and the campus has a mood that reflects each season.  My favorite is spring because students know they will be done studies soon, and river valley magically turns green in the course of only a few days…it’s truly beautiful to witness!

Lisa Ladouceur, Office Assistant

LisaTaanshi, I’m Lisa Ladouceur, I am a Métis woman and my family hails from the Lac La Biche, Alberta area however, I call Edmonton home. I am the Office Assistant at the Aboriginal Student Services Centre. 

My education background is Business Office and I have been working in this career for the past 16 years. I love helping others; it is probably one of the reasons why I love my job so much.

I would self declare status not only because I am proud of my Métis culture I am proud of who I am but also what a great First Nation, Métis, Inuit community we have right here on campus. Once you self declare there are many opportunities on campus that you never knew existed. Self declaring would put you on that invite list serve and then you would know of the many different opportunities that our campus has to offer to our First Nation, Métis, Inuit students.

The greatest resource on campus for our First Nation, Métis, Inuit students would be right here at ASSC.  We have a wide range of supports and services for our students to succeed. From day to day support like fresh fruit and printing to long term supports like tutoring and housing options. 

Fall season in Edmonton is one of my favourite things about living here.  I love the colours in the River Valley and on campus. It is truly amazing to see this change. I love everything about Fall; the warm day, cool nights, the smells, the crisp mornings. Edmonton is so beautiful in Fall. “Autumn; she comes in softly and sings the earth to sleep”.

Tricia Beaudry, Aboriginal Student Advisor 

My name is Tricia Beaudry, and I am from Whitecourt, Alberta — I do have family ties to the Valleyview area and to Alexander First Nation. I am currently the Aboriginal Student Advisor at Aboriginal Student Services Centre (ASSC). My educational background is in Native Studies — I chose Native Studies because I was interested in knowing the history of First Nations people, and I hoped once I completed university that I would help First Nations people in any way I could. 

I never knew declaring status on an application was important until I started working at ASSC. The reason why I would suggest Aboriginal students declare their First Nation, Métis or Inuit status on the UAlberta application is because you will get all of our emails — from orientation invitations, to emails about the Aboriginal Employer Mixers, to the free monthly Stew and Bannocks, to Métis funding workshops — everything. 

The greatest tool or resource Aboriginal students should know about on campus is ASSC. ASSC is here with the goal of helping all Aboriginal students succeed.