A Better Life Through Education

Trina Joseph

Trina Joseph went to First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) in an effort to stay sober and healthy.

With encouragement from professors and family, Trina obtained several degrees which brought her closer to her community.

Trina was sober for two years when she decided to enroll as a mature student.

In order to complete her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, Trina had to commute from Prince Albert to Saskatoon. And, she quickly realized she loved knowledge more than drinking.

One of her supporters was professor, Willie Ermine.

“He encouraged me the most by saying the least,” she says. Trina goes on to describe Ermine as a humble man with a good aura that made her feel welcomed.

Ermine was a professor and the Program Director of Indigenous Studies and Humanities. He encouraged her to keep going in school, and even told her to teach a few classes and express herself in that way.

In 2000, Trina received degrees in Indigenous Studies and Social Work.

But, she says she could not have achieved this without commitment to healing and sobriety. With this healthy way of living, Trina started to work for the community with her family.

Trina says she always felt the university was home. And although it’s a First Nation university, she said the university was open to anyone.

“This is where I needed to be, and this is where I was meant to be,” says Trina.

Trina was a casual receptionist with the institution before she became a student. She had always intended to work for the university after she completed her degrees, and that’s what she is doing.

As the Retention Specialist, Trina’s job is to help students stay in school by overcoming their struggles.

Today, Trina volunteers on a committee that directs the Prince Albert Winter Festival’s annual talent show “Voices of The North,” which features local Aboriginal singers from all around Saskatchewan.

By supporting all kinds of people in academia and arts, especially music, Trina now gives back to her community.