On October 13th, Yellowhead Tribal College held its 2022 Graduation Ceremony. 

Opening remarks from Laverne Arcand (CEO), Dr. Tracey Poitras-Collins (Interim President) and representatives of Alexander First Nation, Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, O'Chiese First Nation and Sunchild First Nation. 

Keynote Speakers 

Dr. Joanne Lethbridge-Pompana

Dr. Joanne Lethbridge-Pompana is the Executive Director of the Red Road Healing Society and the Indigenous West, Pte Oyate, Family Resource Network. She and her late husband, Dr. Clifford Pompana, have developed and run the Red Road Healing Society for nearly 30 years, helping many people to improve their lives. She traces her paternal family roots as being from the Hunkpapa Lakota in Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan; and from New Brunswick with Welsh, Seneca and Iroquois heritage. Her paternal grandmother and step-grandfather settled in the Teepee Creek area of Northern Alberta. On her mother's side, her roots are from the Northern Scottish Isles. Her family hails from Wood Mountain Lakota reserve in Saskatchewan.

Dr. Lethbridge-Pompana is a Lakota Elder who has been recognized and sought to teach traditional knowledge and facilitate Lakota ceremonies. Although she has many accomplishments, few people are aware that Dr. Lethbridge-Pompana was the first woman in Canada to become an astrophysicist. Later, she graduated from the University of British Columbia with her Juris Doctorate specializing in Indigenous Human Rights Law. She is a strong advocate for social justice and is also a registered social worker recognized through the Alberta College of Social Workers. In 2016, the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women presented her with the Esquao Award.

Dr. Lethbridge-Pompana has spent her life and career emphasizing the search for self-knowledge, the importance of cultural practices in modern society and supporting the people of every community to excel in their lives. 

Monty Baptiste (On-Campus)

Monty Sunchild-Baptiste is from the Sunchild First Nation (pîsim âwâsis) and Red Pheasant First Nation (mikisew wahcihk). He currently lives in (amiskwaciy wâskihkan) with his family. Monty is a proud father of two children. His children's names are Ruby and Monty Jr Oke-maw-Baptiste. He enjoys singing and travelling with the drum group Cree Confederation. He also loves singing at round dances both in Canada and the United States.

Monty has been a Youth Worker for 10 Years before attending the Yellowhead Tribal College in 2018. Monty considers himself a lifelong learner of the Cree language and culture. Monty is now employed with Edmonton Public Schools as a Cultural Advisor/ Liaison and a proud graduate of the Revitalization of Indigenous Language Degree Program at the Yellowhead Tribal College.

Clayton Clarke (Off-Campus)

Clayton was born and raised in Edmonton, and later attended High School in Fort McMurray. During this time, he had decided that he wanted to pursue a career in Medicine. He then attended McGill University and obtained an undergraduate degree in Honor's Chemistry in 2016, and then went on to complete medical school at the University of Saskatchewan. During this time, in addition to studying medicine, he completed a certificate in global and indigenous health through extra course work as well as practicums, where he volunteered in underserved areas in the inner city, rural, and international communities. He has completed his medical studies and is continuing his journey by completing his medical residency at the University of Alberta in the specialty of Dermatology. His goals for the future are to open his own dermatology clinic.

Awards Presentations

  • Rita Potts Memorial Award (Management Studies) - Pernell Cardinal
  • Hugh Reid Memorial Award (University Studies) - Kyra Burnstick
  • Dale Ward Memorial Award (ESDW) - Cassandra Auigbelle
  • Neil Strawberry Memorial Award (UCEPP) - Leila Bigchild
  • Ken Bigchild Memorial Award (UCEPP) - Elnora Crier-Jamerson
  • UCEPP Academic Achievement Award - Darren Arcand
  • Dorothy Ward Memorial Award (Social Work) - Justin Pahtayken
            Followed by the Conferring of Certificates, Diplomas & Bachelors's recognition.