Leading with Heart

June 25, 2023

Leading with Heart

NorQuest learner Harley Jamerson is helping to cultivate Indigenous student culture at NorQuest. 

“Helping people is my main goal in life,” says Harley. “Education will help ground me to my roots and make it easier to share my life experience with people” 

An academic upgrading student with plans to enter the Indigenous Studies program in the Fall, Harley was identified by fellow students from the Indigenous Student Centre and in class, about how his gentle advice underpinned by Indigenous principles makes them feel supported. He credits NorQuest for having a safe space, where one can study, smudge, learn skills and Indigenous culture, be informed of career opportunities and talk to other Indigenous students.  

The RBC Indigenous Mentorship Program involves a peer-to-peer system for student support and allows students to have industry exposure and participate in career and community-building initiatives at the College. Harley learned about the RBC mentorship program while at the Indigenous Students Centre, and now acts as a Mentor in the program. 

Harley was interested in attending NorQuest years ago, but various life circumstances delayed his enrolment. He overcame years of incarceration and gang affiliation to become a gifted student and proud family man. 

While originally interested in the Social Work Program as his wife is a community support worker and a NorQuest College alumna, Harley was drawn to the Indigenous Studies diploma after visiting the Indigenous Services booth during Open House. 

"My multicultural identity as a descendant of Black Prairie pioneers and Metis people gives me a lens to understand students like me who may have intergenerational trauma,” notes Harley. “Histories of both slavery and residential schools had a big part in motivating me to go to school and give back to society.”   

Harley also credits meeting Dan Jones, the Associate Chair of Justice Studies at NorQuest College as a further motivator. Dan and Harley had crossed paths when Harley was a teenager, with Dan detaining him on occasion while he was an officer in the Edmonton Police Service.  

Harley currently maintains part time community-support employment in doing lodge keeping and youth transport, which helps him place a foot in the door on his intended path. 

Harley, who says he leads by heart and gut, has the ambition to open a street-level organization to support young people affected by family trauma, and who may have been in young offender centers. He was one of the students honoured at the Indigenous Completion Ceremony on June 16th. 

“The Creator gave me the greater mission to help and serve others,” Harley says. “With the cultural knowledge received in my NorQuest schooling, I can give back to the troubled youth in society. We all deserve a chance to reach our full potential.”