Omanitewak: Giving them our best.

A Virtual Event Support Teen Mentoring in Schools

Join Alberta Mentoring Partnership as we learn from our summit keynote, Dr. Leona Makokis, in an exploration of mentorship through the lens of identity and belonging through the Cree language.

Dr. Makokis will guide us through the Creator’s Four Natural Laws, sharing the significance of relationships and community while highlighting our roles as teachers and mentors in how we live our lives.

Omanitewak, our summit theme, means providing the best of ourselves to our community. Sharing our knowledge in everything that we do to come together with the highest level of hospitality towards others. In creating this standard for how we treat others, as we would ourselves appreciate being treated, we create balance and honour ourselves and the land we come from.


Countdown to Omanitewak


Bio | Dr. Leona Makokis

Dr. Leona Makokisi is originally from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and now a Band member of Kehewin Cree Nation.  In the mid-seventies, she was invited by Blue Quills Native Education Authority to instruct a secretarial arts program with Alberta Vocational College. This was the beginning of a long career at Blue Quills First Nations College as Executive Director from 1982 to 1988 and then as president from 1992 until retirement in 2010.  During this time, she also earned a long list of academic credentials including a Bachelor of Administration from Athabasca University, Bachelor of Education from University of Alberta, Master of Arts in Leadership Education from San Diego State University and a Doctorate in Education from University of San Diego.  Through out her tenure at Blue Quills she transformed the College from being only a host campus for other institutions to becoming the first independent accredited Indigenous institution to offer its own degrees. Her diligence and dedication has allowed numerous students to obtain diplomas, degrees in Indigenous knowledge, ceremony, and language.

Leona has extensive teaching and research experience with a focus on leadership and revitalization of nehiyawewin (Cree Language), culture, ceremony and tradition.  She has written books and journal articles resulting from her research as well as her residential school experience.   Disordered Dependencies (journal article) Relationship Mapping,  Awina Niya: nitisiyihkason, Leadership Teachings from Cree Elders, ohpikinawasowin/growing a child (editor)

Leona continues to facilitate omanitew and nehiyaw kesi wahkotok: cree relationship mapping- which are experiential learning opportunities guided by the nehiyaw teaching of kiskinohamakewin- learning by modelling and doing.  She also continues to make presentations and is involved in community activities and ceremonies.

Leona’s contribution has been widely recognized including Women of Vision Award, 

Honorary Law degree from University of Calgary, Honorary degree from University of Alberta,

Honorary degree from Athabasca University, Honorary degree from University of San Diego and Honorary degree from University of Blue Quills and an Indspire Award for outstanding lifetime achievement in the field of Indigenous Education.

Bio | Elder Rick Lightning

Elder Rick Lightning has over 25 years of counseling as a mental health therapist, school counselor, drug/alcohol addictions counselor, probation and parole officer. 

More recently, he has provided cultural support to Grant MacEwan University/College, Concordia College, U of A, and CASA. 

Elder Rick strongly supports mentoring for Indigenous Youth.

The Alberta Mentoring Partnership was fortunate enough to speak with Elder Rick during one of the 'Talks with Elder Knowledge Keeper Series' webinars during Mentor Month 2022. You can view the recording here. 

Breakout Session A (10:30 - 11:30)
Choose Your Own Adventure with Junior Achievement (Youth & Adult Session) | Angelika Hogan & Guest

Join Angelika from Junior Achievement and a special guest speaker for an interactive session about goal setting, discovering careers based on your interests, and why continuing your education and having a growth mindset is key to a successful future. Through focused activities and games, explore why having an open mind will prepare you to be successful at school and beyond.

Adults, please share your mailing and email addresses, youth/students, please share email address with Angelika ahogan@janorthalberta.org by September 30th.

Junior Achievement will send the Economics for Success lesson kit and online resources to schools in advance. This session will cover the first module in the program. Educators should please continue the following lessons with their students after the event at their own pace. 

Bio: A truly positive community connector, Angelika brings JA's career exploration events for youth to life by working with volunteers and educators all over Northern AB and NWT. A financial literacy junkie, she was raised to appreciate the value of money, education, hard work, giving back to the community and has fully rehabilitated her ‘spend-before -you-earn’ husband.

Steps for Setting up a Classroom Mentoring Initiative (Adult Session) | Kimberly Buchberger

This presentation will be an overview of a mentorship program that was held between two inner-city schools. Goals of this mentoring program were to:

  • build strong relationships
  • foster independence for younger students using technology
  • establish a sense of leadership for the older grade involved
  • practice literacy and numeracy skills
  • enhance overall student mental health and wellbeing

This presentation will walk you through setting up a mentoring program, how to establish boundaries and routines, and the benefits and challenges that occurred. 

Bio: Kimberly Buchberger is an elementary trained grade one teacher from Edmonton. She has a passion for teaching in the inner city and is excited to share her experience of running a virtual mentoring program in her classroom.

Youth Voice: AMP would like to hear from YOU! (Youth Session) | Caroline Gosling

The Alberta Mentoring Partnership (AMP) is interested in hearing from youth. Have you been a mentor? Has someone been a mentor to you? Would you like to be a mentor or find a mentor? This session will be a conversation about youths’ experiences, what they are looking for, and how AMP and other mentoring organizations  can best support youth through mentoring. Come and add your voice to our conversation.

Bio: Caroline recently retired after 35 years as an educator with Edmonton Public Schools. During that time she taught at elementary, junior and senior high, was a behaviour consultant, a principal at four different schools and spent time seconded to both Alberta Children's Services and Alberta Education with a focus on supporting students who are vulnerable and creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. During her last secondment Caroline's main area of focus was mentoring, including supporting the Alberta Mentoring Partnership and setting up a Corporate Mentoring initiative at Alberta Education. For the last five years, Caroline has been a Big Sister and learned about mentoring from the 'inside'.

Make an Ookpik with Brenda Egotak, Inuit Master Crafter  (Pre-recorded) (Adult Session) | Brenda Egotak

Brenda will guide you through the steps to sewing your very own Ookpik (Snowy Owl). All participants registered for this session will receive an Ookpik kit in the mail with everything you need.

The owl is significant to Inuit culture and spirituality. A source of guidance and wisdom, some Inuit believe that the owl safely shepherds the spirits of the dead to the afterworld. Although different Inuit communities have their own tales and legends about the owl, this creature remains a central figure across oral histories. For many, the owl, like other culturally significant animals, is thought to have an important relationship with both humans and the environment.

Participants, please share your mailing address with AMP’s Indigenous Engagement Lead, Tanya Tourangeau tanya.tourangeau@albertamentors.ca by October 7th  to receive your kit by October 20th. 

Bio: Brenda Egotak is originally from Cambridge Bay, NT. She has been sewing traditional crafts since she was very young.

Breakout Session B (2:15 - 3:15)
Make an Ookpik with Brenda Egotak, Inuit Master Crafter  (Pre-recorded) (Youth Session) | Brenda Egotak

Brenda will guide you through the steps to sewing your very own Ookpik (Snowy Owl). All participants registered for this session will receive an Ookpik kit in the mail with everything you need.

The owl is significant to Inuit culture and spirituality. A source of guidance and wisdom, some Inuit believe that the owl safely shepherds the spirits of the dead to the afterworld. Although different Inuit communities have their own tales and legends about the owl, this creature remains a central figure across oral histories. For many, the owl, like other culturally significant animals, is thought to have an important relationship with both humans and the environment.

Participants, please share your mailing address with AMP’s Indigenous Engagement Lead, Tanya Tourangeau tanya.tourangeau@albertamentors.ca by October 7th  to receive your kit by October 20th. 

Bio: Brenda Egotak is originally from Cambridge Bay, NT. She has been sewing traditional crafts since she was very young.

High School Teen Mentoring: Did you know students can earn credits? (Adult Session) | Caroline Gosling

This session will provide information on Alberta’s five, 1 credit, Career and Technology Studies (CTS) mentoring courses. We will look at outcomes, delivery methods and resources to support these courses.

Bio: Caroline recently retired after 35 years as an educator with Edmonton Public Schools. During that time she taught at elementary, junior and senior high, was a behaviour consultant, a principal at four different schools and spent time seconded to both Alberta Children's Services and Alberta Education with a focus on supporting students who are vulnerable and creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. During her last secondment Caroline's main area of focus was mentoring, including supporting the Alberta Mentoring Partnership and setting up a Corporate Mentoring initiative at Alberta Education. For the last five years, Caroline has been a Big Sister and learned about mentoring from the 'inside'.

Ever Active Empowers Resilient Youth (Adult & Youth Session) | Andrea Dion

Ever Active Schools is a registered national charity designed to create and support healthy school communities. We engage and support schools through a Comprehensive School Health framework, which addresses health and education goals to improve the social outcomes of children and youth. We are rooted in listening to the needs of each unique community, and working together to design solutions.

We work in Treaties 6, 7 & 8 and partner directly with First Nations and Métis school communities, community health programming, as well as facilitating meetings, events and networks that allow communities to teach and learn from one another, sharing successes and tools across the province.

Our work is evidence based and proven to be impactful, we focus on priority populations to ensure that all youth have equal access to quality health and wellness programming. 

Bio: My name is Omiyowaihkwaniy and I am a strong Cree Woman empowering youth to be the best they can be; through my employment with Ever Active Schools I support Indigenous Youth and school communities as a Health & Wellness Consultant. I am from the Samson Cree Nation love my family and friends and spending time on the powwow trail as a Traditional Dancer.

Indigenous Youth Programs & Initiatives - Sharing Circle (Adult Session) | Tanya Tourangeau

We are Stronger Together! Do you work with Indigenous Youth and have a program or resource to share information about? Do you want to learn from others in this space?

This will be a dialogue session where participants will have the opportunity to share and be encouraged to network.

Participants, please share your mailing address with AMP’s Indigenous Engagement Lead, Tanya Tourangeau tanya.tourangeau@albertamentors.ca by October 17th.

  • Program /Initiative Name with link (if possible):
  • Contact person:
  • Resource(s) for Indigenous Youth (as an attachment or link):

Bio: Tanya Tourangeau Is a proud Dene First Nation from the Northwest Territories, currently living on Treaty 6 territory in Edmonton, Alberta. Tanya’s background is in leading Reconciliation through joint economic development, policy development, strategic planning, stakeholder relations, and organizational change. She has worked for many Indigenous and non-Indigenous government, non-profit and for-profit organizations to create meaningful, large-scale systemic impact. 

Tanya believes that Reconciliation can include Indigenous Mentoring, whether in programs created for Indigenous Youth or with a non-Indigenous mentor signing up to mentor an Indigenous Youth. Research shows that mentoring is one solution that can lead to more positive outcomes for all Youth, Indigenous Mentoring can be a call to action to assist Indigenous Youth in having equal opportunities to prosper. 

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“We acknowledge that we are on and support Mentoring for Youth in the traditional territories across Alberta of the many First Nations from Treaty 6,7,& 8, the Métis of the 8 Alberta Settlements, and Inuit people whose footsteps have marked these lands for centuries.”