In a past rich with traditions, the Blackfoot people pursued feats and accomplishments in maintaining a strong presence on territory guarded fiercely. Today, those same traits are carried on by the Blackfoot in a number of ways, including a growing prominence in education.
For Aloyuisius and Marcia Black Water of the Kainai, this pursuit of knowledge and attainment while maintaining a cultural lifestyle is proving to be beneficial in a contemporary environment. Their journey into and beyond postsecondary teachings from Lethbridge College has become a family affair.
Aloyuisius Black Water, who was the first in his family to attend Lethbridge College, recognized the need to obtain credentials vital to secure steady employment. “Going through the Computer Information Technology (CIT) program, especially when the whole computer industry began to take off, I knew this was the avenue for me to get long-term employment,” he says.
Graduating in 2003, his training contributed to the Blood Tribe Land Management’s Geomatics Services department, where his initial role provided a mapping data transfer with Natural Resources Canada. Aloyuisius was promoted to manager of the Geomatic Services and served in that position until he began his term in tribal elections as a councillor from 2012 to 2016.
With his term in politics behind him, Aloyuisius went on to earn a Bachelor of Management degree from the University of Lethbridge in 2021. As a young couple, Aloyuisius and Marcia recognized the importance education would have on the success of their future. After agreeing Aloyuisius would pursue his education first, Marcia supported his endeavour by giving full-time attention to their children: Cole, Tristan and Karsen. In 2004, she graduated from the General Studies program at Lethbridge College and then enrolled at the University of Lethbridge, graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She is currently pursuing a Master of Education degree.
A chance comment by a Human Resources administrator at Lethbridge College motivated Marcia to gain the credentials requested from potential employers. “I applied for jobs at the university and college, and it was an HR administrator at the college who told me I had a good interview, but if I had at least one year’s post-secondary experience, ‘I think we could hire you,’” she recalled.
The opportunity for experience came from Red Crow College after a position opened when an employee took maternity leave. After that, Marcia came to work at Lethbridge College, first as an Indigenous student advisor and now as Indigenous coordinator and faculty within the college’s Centre for Business, Arts and Science.
As their family grew, so did gentle expectations of their children to pursue education. Following their parent’s path, older son Cole (Business Administration 2015), his partner Sadie Many Fingers (Correctional Studies 2017, Justice Studies 2020), and younger son Tristan (Police Cadet Training 2022) have all graduated from the college. Cole is employed with human resources at Kainai Board of Education, Sadie is the crime prevention coordinator at Blood Tribe Police Services, and Tristan is a constable with the Blood Tribe Police.
Both Aloyuisius and Marcia carry traditional teachings, and as young grandparents to grandson Broly, another path was born. In a proud moment, they recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on May 31, 2022. Lethbridge College has provided a solid foundation for the Black Water family.
Are you a multi-generational Lethbridge College family? If at least three members across one or more generations attended Lethbridge College, let us know by emailing WHMagazine@lethbridgecollege.ca. We’d love to profile you.