Indigenous learners at NorQuest have community leaders ready to work with them. Knowledge keepers work with students, staff, and faculty to provide cultural support and guidance. Foundational support like this supports Indigenization at NorQuest.

To connect with NorQuest’s knowledge keepers, email

Elder Delores Cardinal

When it comes to gaining wisdom, age definitely plays a role. For some, however, that age is younger than you might think.

NorQuest College’s newest Resident Elder, Delores Cardinal of the Goodfish Lake First Nation, may be turning 58 this year, but she’s “been doing Elder work” since she was 32 years old.

Between then and now, Cardinal has been a trusted spiritual leader at home and around the province, spreading the word of Elders before her and serving as a counselor, mentor, and friend. Her role at NorQuest won’t change from the role she is already playing out in life.

“We have our own teachings and we try to practice sharing, caring, respecting one and another, loving one and another. The way I see it we are all human beings on the same earth, under the same sky, under the same sun. And I talk to a lot of people who are not Aboriginal. To learn and benefit from our teachings you don’t have to be Aboriginal.”

“If you feel comfortable with me I will try to help the best way I can,” says Cardinal, who uses very traditional methods in her interactions with people. “For example, smudging. The teaching of smudging is very important to learn, such as why do we smudge, when do we smudge?”

Elder Annette Lee

Annette Lee is our Elder at the Wetaskiwin campus. Elder Annette is a Cree woman who practices traditional Cree ceremonies and has raised her five children to respect the ways of our ancestors. She comes from an educational background as her mother and husband attended university and received education degrees. Elder Annette has attended post-secondary at Maskwacis Cultural College, and the University of Calgary completing training in general studies, early childhood, and language arts. Both Elder Annette and her husband emphasized the importance of an education as four of their five children attended post-secondary in Edmonton and Calgary. “This has been a great source of pride for myself and my husband.” She credits the positive influences of her parents and has continued to follow their guidance and mentorship.

Elder Annette has been a dancer and enjoys traditional drumming and singing. She can sew traditional regalia and knows how to do beadwork and can read and write in Cree Roman Orthography. She has been employed as a manager and resided most of her life in the Maskwacis community. However, her greatest pride has been the responsibility of managing the family household. Elder Annette provides that she is “a daughter, wife, mother, manager, employee, board member, and student.” We are pleased that Elder Annette will give mentorship for our students and staff, initiate traditional activities, and assist in collaborating with Maskwacis Cultural College.

George Desjarlais, Cultural Advisor

George Desjarlais was born and raised in northern Alberta and is a member of the Frog Lake Cree Nation. George grew up in a big family in a cultural and traditional environment where he learned to respect all aspects of nature. Learning and sharing land based knowledge form the core of George’s teaching philosophy to assist students, staff and faculty. A father of seven and relative to a large extended family, George resides in Enoch where he lives a busy and humble daily life.