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Graduate embraces aboriginal culture, inspires others while at NAIT

Published on May 03, 2016

Convocation 2016

Dawn Lameman admits it wasn’t long ago that she avoided talking about her aboriginal roots. Nowadays, her goal is to inspire other aboriginals – particularly youth – to embrace their culture and traditions.

Lameman, 34, graduates this week with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. She credits NAIT with helping her not only meet her educational goals, but embrace aboriginal culture, something she’d avoided despite her father’s best attempts.

It began with an assignment in her leadership course, where Lameman was required to spend time with a cultural mentor. She chose her uncle, who is an advisor and instructor at Maskwacis Cultural College in Maskwacis, AB (formerly Hobbema). She was inspired, and began visiting NAIT’s Encana Aboriginal Student Centre on a regular basis.

Lameman – a single mom with children ages three and four – quickly immersed herself in activities at the student centre and was hired as a peer mentor. She became involved in the Prospective Aboriginal Youth program where she speaks to teens about the value of post-secondary education, was elected vice president of the aboriginal student council and won two student awards through the Encana Aboriginal Centre.

Coming to NAIT was an easy decision for Lameman, who likes the hands-on learning and small class sizes offered by the polytechnic. Several family members have also attended, including her aunt and uncle, who now hold senior positions at Beaver Lake Cree Nation (near Lac la Biche), approximately 215 km northeast of Edmonton. “They went back home and helped my reserve,” she says.

This is Lameman’s second time at NAIT, earning her Business Administration – Accounting diploma in 2012. Her long-term plan is complete a Master of Education degree, and then continue mentoring youth in Beaver Lake.

“Growing up, we continually put down the fact that we were native, which I believe goes back to colonization and the residential school system” she says. “People brush it off as if it’s ok, but it’s not. Native people putting down other native people is not ok. I want to change that.”

NAIT's 2016 Convocation will be held on Friday, May 6 (6:30 p.m.) and Saturday, May 7 (8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) at The Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 11455 - 87 Ave. More than 8,000 students will graduate this year.

Dawn is available for media interviews prior to convocation. She will also cross the stage at the Saturday afternoon ceremony.

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With nearly 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.