When Marlene McNab started her post-secondary education at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC), now the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), her learning went far beyond the book she bought for her classes.
Under the teachings of influential Elders, McNab was able to find her true identity through personal growth and cultural teachings.
“If I haven’t gone to SIFC, I would have never known that there was this other (spiritual) life available to me,” continues Marlene.
“I found my identity when I began my education,” she says. “The program that I was in was the type of program that allowed me to do a lot of personal growth. I was proud of that the first time in my life, I had a sense of who I am.”
Not only did SIFC help Marlene’s personal development, but the people and the university itself assisted her in accomplishing the goals she originally set out in her first year of post-secondary education.
“When I began university I already knew what I wanted to do,” says Marlene. “I wanted to get into the counselling and therapy field.”
One must complete a master’s degree in order to specialize in providing mental health services as a therapist.
With strategic planning and stellar grades, Marlene found work in the therapy field just as the ink was drying on her Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work.
After years of experience, she decided to take the next step in her academic career. She persevered and completed her Master of Aboriginal Social Work at SIFC.
Not long after, Marlene started teaching social work students in 2007 at FNUniv, the same place where she received her most memorable teachings.
“My education has come full circle,” says Marlene. “It has rewarded me with what I set out to accomplish when I started in September of 1989.”
The support of SIFC instructors and her peers, combined with the teachings of professors and elders, was instrumental in Marlene’s success.
“I have a lot of loyalty to the First Nations University of Canada because I believe in their vision,” says Marlene. “I believe that this institution can change lives.”