Living the good life was the focus of this year’s Indigenous Achievement Conference
- NC Raine | April 01, 2022
A student-created and -led conference shines a light on miyo-pimitisiwin – a Cree term guiding one to “live the good life.”
The Indigenous Business Students’ Society (IBSS) – a society made up of Indigenous commerce students at the Edwards School of Business – hosted its second annual Indigenous Achievement Conference. The virtual conference hosted guests from all over Canada and focused on young people.
“We really want to amplify Indigenous voices so we can create a community of safe spaces for all the Indigenous students here,” said Jessica Mirasty, fourth-year commerce student, member of Flying Dust First Nation, and co-founder of IBSS.
The students in IBSS curated a day-long conference, with “carefully selected” speakers in order to bring “thought-provoking, disrupting ideas to the table.”
The event included a women’s panel on being an Indigenous woman in the business world; women’s networking; speakers on Afro-Indigenous perspectives; business opportunities for Indigenous students; a cultural showcase; and a keynote from Cree-Métis yoga instructor/podcast host/influencer Shayla Stonechild.
“We chose miyo-pimitisiwin, living the good life in Cree, because we want to be able to incorporate those traditional teachings to live life to the fullest in a healthy, balanced way,” said Mirasty.
The conference was open to everyone, and attracted 135 participants.
“It’s a good way to learn to be an Indigenous ally,” she said. The conference was supported by Nutrien and featured a presentation by Lyle Acoose, a member of Sakimay First Nation, and former students at the Edwards School of Business.
“Nutrien has always been a supporter of the Edwards School of Business initiatives,” said Acoose, talent attraction and advisor at Nutrien, in an email. “I am a proud alumnus, so that makes it even more special for me.”
Mirasty said conferences that empower Indigenous voices are particularly important in light of the recent and continual injustices toward Indigenous people. Indigenous people need to have places where they feel safe, so they can build a better future.
“With events happening with Residential Schools, it’s really important to listen to your Indigenous peers. Being an Indigenous student in a colonized post-secondary institution, it’s really easy to feel alone,” she said. “Our Indigenous views aren’t always being met, so we’re trying to change that here.”