Kimberly Tootoosis was determined to attend university out east, but after reading a magazine article about the Social Work program at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC), interest in the Indigenous-based college quickly changed her mind.
“The elders were key and vital to the unfolding and progress of each class. It was a powerful and interesting time,” says Kimberly.
With determination to serve families and communities in counselling services, she married into a community she knew she wanted to work in. Tootoosis eventually specialized in counselling, therapeutic strategies, and keys to healing; she also did group work and planned events to build families, schools, and the community.
“I had a passion and love for working, supporting individuals and families to heal, develop healthy relationships and communication skills,” says Kimberly.
The late Thelma Knight (Tootoosis) supported Kimberly’s application and validated her interview to enter the social work program. The admission board argued she was too young, but Knight pushed Kimberly and supported her four years of study. Knight was very supportive academically and personally as a student counsellor and administrator.
Social Work opened many doors for Kimberly; it led her to a wide range of services that she now specializes in.
“This profession and specialization led me to work in many communities and tribes across Canada,” explains Kimberly.
With the academic encouragement from Late Thelma Knight (Tootoosis), Kimberly and her late husband began their private practice, Red Echo Associates in 1993, where they focused on counselling, therapy, group facilitation, and training.
“Red Echo continues to provide professional services to individuals, families, and communities,” says Kimberly.