Learn more about the ‘Supporting Indigenous Language Revitalization’ Project’s Steering Committee & Advisors

Lyndon Aginas

Advisory Council Member

Lyndon is from Alexis Stoney Nation. Lyndon has worked in many different capacities ranging from Corrections Canada, Ministry of Environment, Council member for his Nation and casino president. Lyndon enjoys traveling, hunting, gathering pharmaceutical plants, and attending spiritual ceremonies. Lyndon also presents and engages on Indigenous culture and history to many institutions, governments, and industry. Lyndon’s goal has been to assist in the revitalization, recovery and maintenance of Indigenous languages.

The Late Dr. Betty Bastien

Advisory Council Member

Dr. Betty Bastien passed away May 8, 2023

Dr. Betty Bastien, Sikapinaki, PhD RSW, member of the Piikani First Nation, one of the four Tribes of the Blackfoot Confederacy. She has worked for both the provincial and federal governments in the areas of social development and services for 10 years. She taught Native American studies at the University of Lethbridge and in the social work diploma program for Mount Royal College and Kainai studies at Red Crow Community College before coming to University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work in 1999. Her experience includes teaching and curriculum design at Red Crow Community College, in the Native Studies department at the University of Lethbridge, and at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Betty Bastien,  Associate Professor Emeritus University of Calgary. Lecturer and development of an Indigenous Master of Social Work with Yellowhead Tribal College. Serves on the advisory capacity for Language Revitalization and Indigenous Strategy with University of Alberta and Calgary respectively.  Publications include indigenous research methodologies, Aboriginal child welfare, Indigenous education, language, and cultural revitalization. 

Honours highlighted are the Alumni awards from the Universities Lethbridge and Calgary, Lethbridge and YWCA and District and Esquao for her distinguished commitment for the Advancement of Women, and John Hutton Memorial Award for Social Action and Policy by the Alberta College of Social Workers.   Her work has carried her internationally, the most satisfying was the Revitalization of Language and Culture Project in Guizhou China.

Mary Cardinal-Collins

Advisory Council Member
Cultural Advisor

Mary Cardinal Collins is a semi-retired teacher from Treaty 6 Saddle Lake First Nation, AB, fluent Cree speaker and translator – Nehiyaw -skwew -who works in the field of Indigenous languages and Indigenous education for the past 30 plus years. Mary is a 12 year survivor of the Blue Quills Indian Residential school and although she remained a fluent speaker she has had to reclaim her kinship systems and ceremonial activities post the residential school experience. She has experience in Cree language curriculum development at the provincial level and at the national level with the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol. Mary was involved at several levels of leadership during the development, writing and publishing of Aboriginal studies in Alberta education. She has led many workshops on Cree language methodology and classroom activities as Supervisor of Aboriginal Programs with Northland School Division. Lately, she completed a contract with the Southern Tutchone First Nations languages in Haines Junction, Yukon using the Alberta Aboriginal language template. Because of her experience in Indigenous languages curriculum she also has a special interest in Infusion of Indigenous culture in the everyday core curriculum.

Molly Chisaakay

Advisory Council Member

I am a fluent Dene Tha’ language speaker. My grandparents are from Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta. I believe we must hold onto our own cultural values through shared teachings. 

My educational background comes from a lived experience and from establishing safe places for our families to promote healthy, cultural-focus, language-based teachings. I am a graduate from Grant MacEwan Community College which allowed the opportunity to have met many powerful Indigenous leaders and mentors. 

I have learned that before we speak up on matters, first, we must learn to listen to let others speak and listen to be still and sit with our youth whom we trust will find their own voices and path in living today.

Dene Tha’ language has its shared, knowing, and values that are living ways and voices enriched with my own kinship. Today, our shared knowledge of how our Elders’ voices echo into our hills today. 

Edna Elias

Advisory Council Member

Edna Elias was called by her grandmother, “Hatuliarmiutaq” “person from thin ice” cause she was born on a fish lake in the fall. Thus the reason why she loves ice fishing in the spring.

A teacher by profession Edna is an Inuit language and culture advocate. She lives and breathes her
culture in an urban setting; showcasing it where and when she can at Edmonton events. She shares her cultural knowledge through presentations at educational institutions in and around the city. Advocating for maintenance and revitalization of Inuinnaqtun, the dialect of the Copper Inuit of western Kitikmeot in Nunavut is her passion which has become harder to do from a distance.

An experience at residential school and one upon return from residential school, made her realize the
importance of maintaining one’s language and made her determined relearning what she was losing.
One of her works has included rewriting of the Anglican Inuinnaqtun prayer and hymn book from the old non-standard writing system to that of the newer Canadian Inuktun standardized system to produce a digital version. The goal of the team now is to see the document printed and made available to Inuinnaqtun speakers.

Doreen Frencheater Daychief

Advisory Council Member

Born and raised near Rocky mountain House, Alberta, on Sunchild First Nation, 280kms southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. As a child grew up learning two languages, Cree and Annisnabe. Ancestors, great- grandparents, who were medicine men and women, and held ceremonial lodges and taught me an abundance of traditional knowledge and protocols and they originate from a sacred place called ‘Manitou Lake’, near Marsden, Saskatchewan. I also have family ties to North Battleford, Saskatchewan region.

As a young mother in 1984, I decided to return to school to acquire a GED, which I completed in one year. I began my University journey in 1990. From there, in 1992 I graduated with a Health Development Administration University certificate which included management classes and professional development classes. I decided to go and work for my community and as the Health Director. In 2002, went back to University and graduated with a B.A, through Athabasca University, went back to work. In 2013 I decided to pursue  a Masters Degree in Indigenous Languages and graduated in 2016. The journey of my Masters included a ‘Tour Study’ in New Zealand of the Maori people and their reclamation to Revitalizing their Indigenous languages. During my tour of New Zealand I had the opportunity to visit eight schools to see first-hand their work with Language Revitalization. Today you can find me as a sessional language Instructor at the Yellowhead Tribal College in Edmonton. My goal is to help First Nations revitalize the diminishing Indigenous languages in a good way.

Elmer Ghostkeeper

Advisory Council Member

Elder Elmer Ghostkeeper was born to parents Adolphus and Elsie Ghostkeeper at the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, Alberta. He is Metis and speaks fluent Bushland Cree and MIchif the language of Metis people and lives with the land. He is a Spiritualist, father, grandfather, teacher, student, learner, philosopher and entrepreneur. His work is “Weche Teachings”, a partnership of Aboriginal Wisdom and Western Scientific Knowledge, a methodology to understand and solve puzzles effecting Aboriginal People. Elmer has a BA in Anthropology a MA in Cultural Anthropology and a Civil Technology Diploma. He is the author of Spirit Gifting: The Concept of Spiritual Exchange which is his Master’s thesis. In 2004, Elmer received the Order of the Metis Nation. He serves on numerous committees to revitalize the four aspects of Indigenous culture, social, economic and politics.

Isabelle Kootenay

Advisory Council Member

Biography to come.

The Late Millie Kuliktana

Advisory Council Member

Millie passed on Friday, January 13, 2023.

Millie R. Qitupana Kuliktana who is to daughter to Late Tom and Elva Norberg. I am a Mother, Grandmother and Elder in Training. Born and raised on the Arctic Coast where Kugluktuk is my home. I come from ancestry of mixed heritages and raised as an Inuit speaking Inuk. I also would like to acknowledge my experience with knowledge shared with me which is rich in cultural teachings from a strong line of Inuit Women over my 30 years of work history.

I have had numerous jobs and reached milestones in my education and shared teachings with many of a 30-year span in various platforms of human development. I completed my Masters in Education in 2009 through the Nunavut Artic College/University of Prince Edward Island. Completed the Language Revitalization Certificate through the University of Victoria in 2006. Received my Bachelor of Education through the Nunavut Artic College/McGill University in 2000.

My career was based on experience building in the field of education. I was the Executive Director for seven years for School Operations in the Department of Education with the Government of Nunavut. However, being a School Principal at Attaguttaluk Elementary School I felt was my most rewarding career moment as that allowed me to be interactive with all families.

Some of my achievements include, the Sovereign Volunteerism Award for Language Preservation, from the Governor General. The Wise Women Award from Nunavut Territory. Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for Humanity from the Nunavut Commissioner. Language Leadership Award from the Government of Nunavut Department of Culture, Language, Elders, and Youth. All of this and more have been to work towards a nurturing, caring, safe community for my family and other fellow residents to always feel the sense of community.

Lynda Minoose

Advisory Council Member

I was born July 29, 1950, in Bonnyville, Alberta. My parents are Charles Minoose and Josette Estaltheni/Petit. My father’s parents are Elizabeth Telk’ulighu and J.B. Minoose. My mother’s parents are Anastasia Lagrosstête and Noel Estaltheni. My parents had 18 children.

I grew up on Łuwechok Túwé Denesųłiné néné (Cold Lake First Nations), where I attended Cold Lake Indian Day School\LeGoff from 1957-1965. For Grade 9, I attended Racette Catholic School in St. Paul, Alberta, and boarded at Blue Quills Residential School 1965-1966. I attended St. Dominic’s Catholic School in Cold Lake, Alberta 1966-1969 to do Grade 10-12. I completed Grade 12 in 1970 at Alberta College in Edmonton, Alberta. I entered Grant MacEwan Community College in 1972 and attended until 1974. I took 1 semester in Secretarial Arts, 1 semester in General Arts and Sciences, and 1 year in Social Services Diploma program. In 1975, I entered the Morningstar Indian Teacher Education program, of which I completed 1 year in 1976. I took a leave from my studies and worked until 1989, when I went back to Blue Quills Indian College to complete the second year of the Teacher Education Program. I entered University of Alberta in 1990-1991 and graduated with a degree in Education. In 2014, I enrolled in a Master of Arts in Indigenous Languages at the University nuhelot’ine thaʔe hots’į nistameyimakanak Blue Quills. I received my M.A. degree in 2016.

I have had numerous jobs over the years since 1966 to present. I taught in Maine, and Ohio in 1995-1998. In 2000-2003, I taught in Hatchet Lake, SK. In 2004-2007, I was the vice principal at Father Megret High School in Hatchet Lake. In 2007-2010, I worked at Cold Lake First Nations as Denesųłiné Language Curriculum Developer and from 2010-present worked as the Denesųłiné Language and Culture Director.