News release

Backgrounder: 2024 Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Award Recipients

Award categories

There are three regions throughout the province (north, central and south), with four award categories in each region. There is one award issued for each grade category in each of the three regions, for a total of 12 awards. Grade categories include:

  • Kindergarten-Grade 3;
  • Grades 4-6;
  • Grades 7-9;
  • And, Grades 10-12.


2024 Recipients

Category Name Grade Region City
K-3 Amelia Savill 3 Métis Anzac, AB
Logan Harden 3 Métis Hinton, AB
Sturgis Big Bull 1 Piikani Nation Lethbridge, AB
4-6 Rodney Lalonde 6 Driftpile Cree Nation High Prairie, AB
Chloe Sanderson 6 Litle Red River First Nation Blackfalds, AB
Emerson Moroz 6 Saulteaux/Cree Calgary, AB
7-9 Paige Aubichon 9 Flying Dust First Nation Grande Prairie, AB
Poe Young 8 Bigstone Cree Nation Edmonton, AB
Kodi Plume 8 Kainai Nation Cardston, AB
10-12 Mary Campbell 11 Fort McKay First Nation Whitecourt, AB
Michelle Beaver 12 Bigstone Cree Nation Edmonton, AB
Khloe Watson 11 Siksika Nation Siksika, AB


2024 Student Recipients

Grades 10-12
Mary Campbell: Whitecourt, AB – North

A Grade 11 student at Hilltop High School, Mary grew up in an Indigenous community in Fort Chipewyan. When she arrived in Whitecourt, she was eager to share her culture and participate in her new school activities. Mary joined the basketball team and dedicated herself to her studies while also continuing to hunt, fish and gather. She loves to be outdoors and believes strongly in paying respects for the medicines and gifts provided by Mother Earth. Mary speaks fluent Cree and teaches the language to young children. In her spare time, she beads jewelry and clothing and makes mittens out of moose hide. Mary’s ambition is to study to become an ultrasound technician and then return to her home community in Fort Chipewyan.

Michelle Beaver: Edmonton, AB – Central

Michelle is a Grade 12 student at M.E. LaZerte high school, where she excels in both academics and extracurriculars. A dedicated artist, she has participated in visual arts through media such as photography and painting, and dramatic arts, where she has taken on leadership and managerial roles. Michelle is also a dedicated participant in her school’s Indigenous activities, including the Circle of Courage, where she is a valued member. She also participated in the ReconciliAction initiative by performing her own written pieces about the barriers and difficulties faced by the Indigenous community in Canada. Michelle’s teachers expect that she will impact society significantly and positively in her future endeavours.

Khloe Watson: Siksika, AB – South

A Grade 11 student who lives in the Siksika Nation, Khloe attends Wheatland Crossing School. She is dedicated to her studies and is active in multiple sports, including hockey, volleyball, baseball and basketball. Khloe is a leader among her peers, especially when it comes to the powwow dancing lessons her school facilitates. She is also a jingle dress dancer. Khloe won the Miss Wheatland Crossing School Princess 2023-2024 title, and in her pageant introduction, she spoke to encourage others to celebrate diversity and different perspectives, and to lift each other up and spread positivity. Khloe’s 5-year plan is to attend college and to receive a softball scholarship.

Grades 7-9
Paige Aubichon: Grande Prairie, AB – North

(not present at ceremony)

Paige is a Grade 9 student at Grande Prairie Composite High School who is a resilient and sociable leader. She organizes and coordinates her school’s beading club every Monday and has been beading her own regalia and earrings with her mother and grandmother for years. Paige is a dancer who advocates for the younger members of the Traditional Paths community dance group. She was one of four students to perform a traditional dance on Orange Shirt Day in front of 1400 students and staff. Paige is keen to gain more knowledge and cultural teachings and would like to become a voice on the importance of culture and education. Her professional ambition is to become a Diagnostic Technician.

Poe Young: Edmonton, AB – Central

A Grade 8 student at St. Nicholas Junior High School, Poe demonstrates commendable qualities of perseverance, cultural pride, and leadership. In the face of personal and academic challenges, Poe tackles obstacles with determination and remains steadfast in the pursuit of his goals and dreams. He is diligent with self-care and actively promotes a healthy attitude that resonates positively within his school community. Poe is enthusiastic about his culture and often shares his vast knowledge of plants and animals with other students in the Braided Journeys program. He enjoys drumming and looks forward to participating in cultural celebrations. Poe connects with his fellow classmates and has a gift for bringing people out of their shell. He continues to meet each day with dedication to his goals.

Kodi Plume: Cardston, AB – South

A Grade 8 student at Cardston Junior High School, Kodi is focused on helping others. She became the Cardston/Kainai Jr. Princess, a title that required her to be a role model for her peers, a responsibility she takes seriously. Kodi has been learning the Blackfoot language and uses it to introduce herself during powwow grand entries. She participated in the Kainai Children Services Youth Conference, where she spoke about her experiences and taught dance steps. Kodi’s school produced a cultural video with which Kodi assisted, dancing and singing and telling the story of her grandparents and great grandparents in the residential school system. A lover of basketball, Kodi’s ambitions are wide-ranging and people-focused.

Grades 4-6
Rodney Lalonde: High Prairie, AB – North

RJ, as family and friends call him, is a Grade 6 student at Hillview School. He attends school each day with a smile on his face and a cheerful greeting for everyone he encounters. He has a love for learning and is happy to share his experiences and ideas surrounding hunting, foraging and spending time outdoors. He is also teaching himself coding skills and is collaborating with classmates on a series of comics. During the fall of 2023, RJ represented his school at a Northland School Division Board of Trustees meeting in Edmonton where he promoted the needs and voices of fellow students. During land-based learning experiences with local knowledge keepers, RJ is always excited to share with them who he is, what family he belongs to and that he is a member of the Driftpile Cree Nation.

Chloe Sanderson: Blackfalds, AB – Central

Chloe is a Grade 6 student at Iron Ridge Campus. She moved to Blackfalds in Grade 4, and despite not knowing anyone, quickly found her safe place. Within a few short weeks, she had made friends, and her sparkling personality began to shine through! She confidently joins school clubs and teams, dedicating herself to the culture, discipline, and sportsmanship. Others look to her for leadership and guidance as she models a strong work ethic and genuine kindness towards others. She shows grit and determination beyond her years, joyfully soaking up new knowledge and overcoming academic challenges. She stands with confidence and pride for her culture, showing others of what she is capable.

Emerson Moroz: Calgary, AB – South

Emerson, a Grade 6 student at Catherine Nichols Gunn School, is a kind-hearted individual who creates a welcoming and supportive environment with her peers, discussing how learning involves connecting to our spirit, heart, body and mind, encouraging them to be their best selves. As a proud Saulteaux Cree, she welcomes friends to join in cultural smudges and traditions. She lights up when sharing what she has learned alongside her family at the Cree language class, inviting peers to join her in a Cree memory match game. She carries herself with confidence and continually strives to improve despite any obstacles, advocating for herself, actively building skills and habits for continued successes. Emerson helps run the Tech committee at school, being responsible for event technology set up, demonstrating confidence and patience. Emerson is constantly showing us how to embrace our unique gifts and honour the gifts of others.

Kindergarten-Grade 3
Amelia Savill: Anzac, AB – North

Amelia, who is in Grade 3 at Anzac Community School, is a very determined, caring, driven young girl. Amelia never gives up and works hard to do her best at anything she is part of. She is proud of her culture and loves sharing her knowledge and experiences with others. Amelia takes part in many cultural activities with her family, from hunting and trapping, to berry picking and bannock making, to beading and sewing ribbon skirts. Amelia loves her Cree class and was part of a group who sang O Canada in Cree at the Northland Games last year. She is very thoughtful about how her actions affect others. She chooses kindness and supports others.

Logan Harden: Hinton, AB – Central

Logan, a Grade 3 student at St. Gregory Catholic School, is a proud member of the Metis Nation. His ancestors are of Blackfoot and Cree descent from the Red River Metis settlement of Manitoba. Like his ancestors, Logan thrives when given the opportunity to learn on the land and feels most comfortable outside, working with his hands. He wants to live on the land and practice traditional skills as his ancestors did. Logan is committed to learning about his culture and has the desire to lead others in his school community to a better understanding and sense of compassion towards the Indigenous people. Logan is also a member of the local junior forest wardens’ program which offers youth the opportunity to learn and develop skills on the land, based on the four pillars of forestry, ecology, outdoor skills, and leadership.

Sturgis Big Bull: Lethbridge, AB – South

Sturgis is a Grade 1 student at Galbraith Elementary School. His enthusiasm for acquiring knowledge is infectious, inspiring both his classmates and educators alike. He is not afraid to take risks to facilitate his learning and embraces challenges and views them as opportunities for growth. He proudly embraces and celebrates his Blackfoot identity; not only does he know the Blackfoot prayer but also confidently shared it in front of the entire school during a Treaty 7 Day event. He says that one of the best things about being Blackfoot is the food (his favorites are jerky and fry bread) and being in nature.