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Celebration Of Findings — Natoonikew Aansaamb

The first team (Fall 2020) of four Métis students, turned research assistants, named their team Natoonikew Aansaamb or “Searching Together.” 

In this celebration, they present what they felt shone through about the remarkable impacts made on their fellow students while in the Professional Project Administrator program offered through Royal Roads University and supported by the Métis Nation of BC and Future Skills Centre.




Suzanne Fiddler

Hello, my name is Suzanne Fiddler. I was one of the participants who took the first PPA Program through Royal Roads University as well as one of the first research assistants to follow up on the program’s success. For me as a Métis person this program gave me the courage to come out of my shell and be proud of who I am and of the contributions I can give to the community. I was very proud and honoured that I was able to not only take this program but to do the initial research project also, as it showed that I was not the only one who took something away from the program that not only changed my life but also gave me the courage to reach out and be proud to be Métis.


Valerie Kuilboer

Taanishi, my name is Valerie Kuilboer, I am a 61-year-old widowed Métis woman from the Red River Valley of Manitoba. I have two adult daughters and five grandchildren. 

My background was originally in nursing until I had the privilege of working in the field of Addiction and Mental health for over twenty-plus years.  

I have had the privilege of attending RRU to complete a master’s in leadership and recently completed the PPA program. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to be part of the RRU research team. I am so grateful to be involved in a research study that is working towards enriching the lives of other Métis individuals as it has enriched mine. Being a part of programs that teach people about culture and heritage that, for so many of us, has been a missing piece towards wholeness, has been an amazing opportunity. I am looking forward to continuing this journey.  

Kelly Loffler

Awana niya (Who am I?) My name is Kelly, and I am one of the Métis research assistants for Project Connect and a former student of the PPA program through Royal Roads University. I currently reside in Winnipeg, Manitoba in what used to be the Red River Settlement, where my maternal ancestors were born, and raised their families.  

My experience in the PPA program and working on this project as a researcher has been transformative and fulfilling in every aspect of my life. It’s re-ignited many cultural customs that I grew up with and has fostered even more through the wisdom of our Métis Elder and Knowledge Keeper, Jo-Ina Young, and my fellow Métis class and workmates. It has buoyed my sense of community to be woven together with this group of individuals that are aligned with intention on a common vision. I am grateful to all that have facilitated this program and subsequent research project. Maarsii!

Shannon Kingdon

My name is Shannon Kingdon, I am a proud mother and Thompson Okanagan Métis-Cree. In addition to being one of the participants in the first Professional Project Administrator Program through Royal Roads University, I was also one of the research assistants who had the privilege to assist in following up on the program’s success with the other graduates. I am grateful for the opportunity and experiences gained through both; the cultural acceptance allowed me to further my knowledge while connecting with like minded individuals that had such a positive impact on my life!