Individual, family and community success benefits our society as a whole, contributing to wealth, self-sufficiency and prosperity of all Manitobans.
Click on the links below to read inspiring stories of how attaining their educational and career goals benefited Manitoba as a whole.
My name is Kaeden Merasty, Founder and CEO of The Indigenous Marketing Company (IMC), and a proud member of Flying Dust First Nation. My vision is to guide Indigenous Peoples towards achieving full economic independence that aligns with their cultures, values, and beliefs. As a Cree First Nations businessman, I established IMC to work with aspiring entrepreneurs and Indigenous business professionals.
I understand and recognize that Indigenous Peoples still need to fight for equal opportunities in today’s society. That’s why I went to the University of Manitoba to obtain my Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree with a focus on marketing and international business. I knew the power of education would provide me with the knowledge and confidence needed to create promising economic opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and communities. Over the years, I have held numerous roles working closely with executives and CEOs developing business strategies, executing sales & marketing initiatives, and managing client relationships.
Utilizing this knowledge and experience, IMC was created to produce desirable outcomes for Indigenous Peoples through holistic digital marketing solutions. It is my mission to empower Indigenous Peoples by providing equal opportunities and the support systems needed to achieve economic success.
Kaeden Merasty, B.Comm. (Hons.)
My names are Sarah Olson and wîhkwaskwa iskwesis (Sweetgrass Girl). I am a proud member of Norway House Cree Nation and an intergenerational survivor of Residential and Day Schools from my father, grandmother, and great-grandfather, but they are and were so much more than that. I am also the descendant of Swedish, Irish, and French settlers. I am sincerely thankful to my wonderful, hard-working parents, family, friends, NHCN, and Indigenous community at UM for their invaluable support.
I am a full-time Master of Arts student in the Department of Indigenous Studies and I am the Project Coordinator in Indigenous Engagement and Communications, both at the University of Manitoba. Within my role, I am so grateful to coordinate the Indigenous Scholars Speaker Series, Indigenous Awards of Excellence, co-chair Indigenous Connect meetings, and work on the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint. Getting to be a part of this community and encouraging its growth, alongside incredible colleagues and dedicated students, has been a goal of mine since I started my undergrad in 2012. I am also the co-Primary Investigator on the project, “A Purposeful Pause: Creating a Culture of Change that Promotes Indigenous Knowledge, Education, and Scholarship Achievement at the College of Pharmacy,” since 2018, which was funded by the UM Indigenous Initiatives Fund.
I grew up in Fisher Branch, Manitoba and moved to Winnipeg when I was fifteen to complete high school at Glenlawn Collegiate. While earning my Bachelor of Arts (Adv.) in Psychology and Indigenous Studies at the University of Manitoba, I came to understand that the shame I felt as an Indigenous woman was not mine to carry, and I began to address the way it affected my mental health. I decided to begin graduate studies as I wanted to research the origins of the racist and dehumanizing portrayal of Indigenous women in Canadian society and how it has embedded itself so deeply into mainstream media and our psyches. I believe that the widely accepted misrepresentation of Indigenous women can not only affect our self-esteem and mental health but is also a contributing factor to MMIWG2S and systemic oppression. One of the main ways we can address this incredibly harmful phenomenon is through the resurgence of Indigenous relatives through a collective reclamation of our narratives and voices. I think accurate, empowering, and wide-spread portrayals of Indigenous people can work in tandem with the “Truth” aspect of “Truth and Reconciliation” to help people understand our histories, why we are overcoming intergenerational trauma, and that we deserve to be treated equitably. I am hopeful that sharing stories of Indigenous relatives’ triumph and bravery can contribute positively to the movement of Indigenous resistance and spark hope in Indigenous youth. Sharing our stories and having our experiences validated is cathartic and can create connections of solidarity; telling our stories is medicine.
Ekosi for taking the time to read my story!
Sarah Olson, BA (Adv.)
Project Coordinator, Indigenous Engagement and Communications
Master’s Student, Department of Indigenous Studies
University of Manitoba
Desiree Morrisseau (@makeubydcmk)