BC's Indigenous Public Post-Secondary Institute

Valerie Diamond

My name is Valerie Diamond; I am from Shuswap nation, Bonaparte Reserve. I am the granddaughter of Valerie Diablo and Bill Zabotel. I am the daughter of Julie Zabotel and Virgil Diamond.

I decided to attend NVIT because I was attracted to the Indigenous essence; such as the elder’s council, small community and Indigenous teachings incorporated with scientific research. I felt as though it was the perfect starting point for me to figure out what kind of leader I wanted to be for my home reserve. My mom was a travel police officer, my father a fire chief and my brother a police officer in training, so to join the Criminology program felt natural; it felt right. Once I started attending classes I knew I made the right decision because I learned a lot about matriarchal leadership, respect for all and issues that Indigenous people have been facing for over 100+ years, some of which are still current today. My professors were story tellers who shared with us their experiences with being in their respected career field; one teacher, Sharon McIvor, hardly had to use the textbook because she is so knowledgeable with the information through her own experiences of being a lawyer and fighting for women’s and Metis rights against the federal government.

I feel empowered to remember that we are warriors; even though we had a whole country try to assimilate us, we still hold strong and continue to revitalize our culture while pursuing, and teaching a higher education in technology and scientific studies, because we are adaptive people. We move with our environment, and accept all knowledge received. NVIT has given me the opportunity to walk a path on the red road and career road, and I am proud to have started my journey as an emerging leader here, at NVIT.