Ariel Waterchief - National Youth Panel Nominee

Shari Narine
Cando Contributor

“Assisting individuals with their goals is a passion that I have always held. I would like to develop my skills and my network to continue being a part of many different projects that help develop Indigenous peoples’ skills and qualifications,” said Ariel Waterchief.

Waterchief, 26, is a member of the Siksika Nation and presently resides in Calgary. She is in her third year of study for the Bachelor of Technology degree online with Thompson Rivers University. She hopes to earn her Masters in Business Administration in the future.

When she finishes her schooling, Waterchief plans on working in the field of Indigenous economic development and employment program creation. She also wants to operate her own business, which focuses on one of her other passions: avionics. In 2017, Waterchief earned her Avionics Engineering Technology diploma and she wants to couple that with her entrepreneur spirit and open an approved facility for avionics equipment.

Along with completing university classes, Waterchief operates Bake-Ari, a small business on the Siksika Nation, where she designs, bakes and delivers cakes. In Calgary, she works with Community Futures Treaty Seven, serving as coordinator for both the business symposium and Alberta Indigenous Green Employment Program.

It’s this driven, hard-working attitude that had Norma Wolfchild, from Blood Tribe Economic Development, nominate Waterchief to Cando’s National Youth Panel.

Waterchief is “excited to be considered for this great opportunity” on a panel that she thinks is essential in supporting the continued development of Indigenous youth. She also feels she can play an important role on that panel, with her experiences providing insight and helping youth find their path.

“I have had many, many hardships and struggles throughout my life but I have always remained focused on gaining anything that I can from each experience,” she said. “I work each day to be a role model to my community and to my peers alike but also work alongside them to help them succeed.”

Waterchief sets education, responsibility and happiness as her top three priorities for youth. Education, she says, comes both formally and informally and comes through listening. Responsibility means taking ownership of decisions and understanding that responsibility is commitment.

Happiness is the key to moving forward in life, especially for myself. Being dedicated to your aspirations can hold tough when you are not taking your happiness into consideration. Dream the ‘impossible’ dream if it makes you feel like that is where you were meant to be,” said Waterchief.