EleV: Taking flight together

Building educational and employment pathways for Indigenous youth

EleV creates educational opportunities and supports for Blackfoot youth. With an aim to increase employment and economic development in Blackfoot communities, EleV is an innovative partnership between the Blackfoot Confederacy, the MasterCard Foundation and ULethbridge.

EleV initiatives

Post-secondary education transition

EleV improves transitions to post-secondary, increases student success at ULethbridge and expands work-integrated learning opportunities, through initiatives such as:

  • Co-op placements
  • Entrepreneurship supports
  • Employment opportunities
  • Economic development initiatives for Blackfoot communities

Support for Blackfoot youth

EleV develops initiatives for youth, including:

  • Delivering educational programming in Blackfoot communities
  • Creating opportunities for youth and students to participate in activities at the University
  • Helping additional Blackfoot and Indigenous students attend ULethbridge through the Indigenous Student Success Cohort
Taking Flight Together with EleV: Featuring alumna Sarah Russell (BFA '19)

Taking Flight Together - EleV program

The EleV Navigators, Iksisstowaapi Kanakkaatsi

EleV has forged connections with Blackfoot political leadership and the team has built strong relationships within the Kainai Nation, Piikani Nation and Siksika Nation to provide education and employment support for prospective and current students.

Our Navigators were honoured with a Blackfoot name by Elder Francis First Charger to set their paths forward in a good way when they are in the community. The name, Iksisstowaapi Kanakkaatsi (Going All Out Society) [ig-sis-tow-ah-ph gah-na-gaat-see], encompasses the enthusiasm the Navigators have and reflects how they work together as a family to support their mission and goals in their respective communities.

The EleV Navigator Team enhances opportunities for authentic relationship-building. The Navigators provide in-community support services and communication to guide Blackfoot learners along their education and career pathways.

Grounded in Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Learning (IWKL), our Navigators act as community liaisons, advisors and co-creators helping Blackfoot youth and students find success.

Working in Kainai, Piikani and Siksika, our education navigators strive to improve Indigenous student academic success, while our employment navigators assist the student-to-prospective-employee-transition. Two navigators, one employment and one education, are the liaisons in each of the Blackfoot Nation Confederacy communities.

Meet the EleV team

Shanda Webber

Shanda Webber (BA '05), Naamoipiiksii (Hummingbird)

Director, Strategic Indigenous Learning Initiatives

Jill Chief Calf

Jill Chief Calf (BA '12), Aakohpoisskiiaakii (Face Painted Many Times Woman)

Education Navigator, Kainai Nation

Des Yellow Horn

Deserae Yellow Horn (BASc '17), Akikinakii

Education Navigator, Piikani Nation

Verona White Cow

Verona White Cow (BA '13)

Employment Navigator, Piikani Nation

Photo of Darrell Daniels (BA '23), Education Navigator: Siksika Nation

Darrell Daniels (BA ’23)

Education Navigator, Siksika Nation

“Indigenous students face significant barriers in accessing post-secondary education, including transportation, housing and childcare, among others. This partnership empowers Indigenous youth to be successful in their post-secondary studies, in turn driving economic development in our Blackfoot communities by enhancing employment and economic inclusion.”
~ Dr. Leroy Little Bear (BASc '72, DASc '04) O.C., Iikasskini (Low Horn), Distinguished Niitsitapi Scholar and Advisor to President Mike Mahon





Looking forward

As the EleV program continues, we will allocate funds to support access to post-secondary education, student success and financial supports, education and training aligned with Blackfoot community needs, employment and economic development opportunities, work-integrated learning and more.

Blackfoot Nations and the University of Lethbridge will work collaboratively to ensure the program meets the unique needs of Blackfoot youth and communities.


EleV Stories

ULethbridge Indigenous students discover cultural connections through Mexican Mayan exchange

Eighteen Indigenous University of Lethbridge students embarked on an international exchange of a lifetime to Quintana Roo, Mexico, in May. Though they travelled far, discovering cultural connections and forging new friendships brought them …

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Supporting Indigenous youth the focus of inaugural EleV Revision Gathering

lackfoot Confederacy community members, University of Lethbridge stakeholders and the Mastercard Foundation came together in April for the inaugural EleV Revision Gathering at Iniskim, University of Lethbridge to share experiences and opportunities …

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The University of Lethbridge, The Blackfoot Confederacy and The Mastercard Foundation: The Three Sisters of Indigenous education

Recently, ULethbridge hosted representatives from the Mastercard Foundation and from institutions across Canada to share lessons, best practices, innovations and reflections from the past year and discuss how each partner is working …

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