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Empowering Indigenous Students: Cultivating Leadership Through Supportive Education

Empowering Indigenous students is not just an educational imperative, but a pathway to building future leaders who can bring positive change to communities and beyond. In a society where representation and inclusion matter, it is essential to create a supportive and empowering environment for Indigenous students. This blog post explores strategies that foster confidence and success among Indigenous students, with a special focus on how empowerment aligns with the development of leadership qualities. This blog also offers some insight into the critical need for participation in Indigenous education amongst all stakeholders, not just Indigenous youth. By highlighting the significance of mentorship programs, culturally relevant curriculum, and community involvement, we unveil the keys to unlocking the leadership potential within Indigenous youth.

The Power of Empowerment and Leadership

Empowerment and leadership are inherently intertwined. Empowerment involves equipping individuals with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to take charge of their own lives and futures. Leadership, on the other hand, is the ability to guide, inspire, and influence others towards positive change. When Indigenous students are empowered, they are more likely to step into leadership roles within their communities, champion causes, and make meaningful contributions. Therefore, fostering empowerment among Indigenous students is an investment in the future of Indigenous leadership and community development.

Mentorship Programs: Nurturing Future Leaders

Mentorship programs play a pivotal role in empowering Indigenous students. These programs connect students with experienced mentors who offer guidance, support, and insights into various aspects of life, education, and career choices. By fostering one-on-one relationships, mentorship programs help Indigenous students build their self-esteem, set goals, and envision their potential as future leaders. Moreover, mentors can share their own leadership journeys, helping students navigate challenges and opportunities with a sense of purpose and direction.

Culturally Relevant Curriculum: Strengthening Identity and Engagement

A culturally relevant curriculum and programming apporach is central to empowering Indigenous students. Education that reflects Indigenous history, culture, and perspectives helps students connect with their roots and gain a stronger sense of identity and belonging. When students see themselves represented in the curriculum, they are more engaged, motivated, and confident in their abilities. Culturally relevant education also serves as a powerful tool for dispelling stereotypes, addressing historical injustices, and building a foundation for informed leadership.

Community Involvement: Connecting Learning to Real-World Impact

Empowerment goes beyond the classroom, and community involvement is a bridge that connects learning to real-world impact. Encouraging Indigenous students to engage within communities fosters a sense of responsibility and leadership. Community projects, service initiatives, and collaborations with elders enable students to apply their learning in meaningful ways. This active involvement not only builds leadership skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving but also reinforces the idea that their contributions matter and can drive positive change.

Leadership Empowerment: A Catalyst for Holistic Growth

Empowering Indigenous students isn’t just about academic success; it’s about holistic growth. When students feel empowered and supported, their emotional well-being, mental health, and personal development flourish. This holistic approach is essential for nurturing future leaders who can navigate challenges with resilience and empathy. By equipping Indigenous students with a strong sense of self-worth and the belief that they can create change, we pave the way for them to become leaders who drive positive transformations within their communities and beyond.

Fostering Inclusivity and Leadership Through Indigenous Empowerment for All 

Indigenous education extends far beyond its direct impact on Indigenous youth; it serves as a powerful catalyst for educating and empowering youth, educators, and the education system as a whole. Embracing Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, and history within education not only nurtures the empowerment of Indigenous students but also enriches the learning experiences of all students. By integrating Indigenous content into the curriculum, students from diverse backgrounds gain a broader understanding of our shared history and the significance of cultural diversity.

Moreover, Indigenous education empowers educators by challenging them to broaden their horizons and adapt their teaching methods to be more inclusive and culturally sensitive. It encourages teachers to embrace diverse perspectives and foster an inclusive classroom environment where every student feels valued and represented. As educators engage with Indigenous education, they too are equipped with the tools to become advocates for social justice, cultural understanding, and the preservation of Indigenous languages and traditions.

Beyond the classroom, Indigenous education serves as a catalyst for systemic change within the education system itself. Schools and institutions that prioritize Indigenous education are taking a significant step towards rectifying historical injustices and creating an equitable educational landscape. This transformational process involves reevaluating curriculum design, incorporating Indigenous voices and narratives, and collaborating with Indigenous communities to ensure authenticity and accuracy.

In essence, Indigenous education is a holistic endeavor that uplifts Indigenous youth while fostering cultural awareness, empathy, and leadership skills among all students. It equips teachers with the knowledge and skills to create inclusive environments, and it inspires educational institutions to evolve into spaces that genuinely reflect the richness of Canada’s diverse heritage. As the ripple effects of Indigenous education spread, we move closer to a society where empowerment, cultural understanding, and leadership flourish for all, ensuring a more harmonious and equitable future.

Empowering Indigenous students is an investment in leadership that ripples through generations. By fostering a supportive and empowering educational environment, we lay the foundation for Indigenous youth to become confident, informed, and visionary leaders. Mentorship programs offer guidance, culturally relevant curriculum strengthens identity, and community involvement bridges learning with real-world impact. As Indigenous students step into leadership roles, they carry forward the values of empowerment, creating a legacy of positive change that extends far beyond the classroom. It is through these efforts that we not only empower individuals but also uplift entire communities and contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society.

Rising Stars is at the forefront of authentic Indigenous education through its innovative and comprehensive programs. With a deep commitment to fostering a brighter future for Indigenous students, Rising Stars offers a range of tailored educational initiatives that celebrate Indigenous culture, history, and perspectives. By integrating culturally relevant curriculum, mentorship opportunities, and community engagement, Rising Stars empowers Indigenous students to embrace their heritage, build self-confidence, and develop crucial leadership skills. Through these transformative programs, Rising Stars creates an environment where Indigenous students can thrive academically, personally, and as future leaders, contributing positively to their communities and beyond. Get in touch today to learn more!

Rising Stars


RS Technical Director

Brock University, NCCP Level III


*Soccer Development
*Sport Promotion


RS Technical Director – Athletics

Waterloo University, BA

Lakehead University B.Ed, M. Ed

NCAA: Referee/Official

High Five: Principles of Healthy Child Development
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy for Early Childhood


RS Regional Director – Athletics & Education

Waterloo University, BA
Lakehead University B.Ed, M. Ed

NCAA: Referee/Official
High Five: Principles of Healthy Child Development
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy for Early Childhood


Sport Development 
Youth Development


RS Technical Director – Play & Recess

NCCP: Coaches Physical Literacy Training


Play & Recreation
Recess Programming

High Five: Principles of Healthy Child Development
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy Instructor Program
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy for Early Childhood
Member of the US Play Coalition (Since 2011)
Founder of the Canadian Play Network
Creator of the PlanetPlay Stencil line


Regional Director

Lakehead University, B.A.
University of Newcastle – Australia, B.Ed
Specialist PE & Health


*Indigenous Education
*Youth & Sport Development

As a Regional Director with Rising Stars, Matt coordinates and facilitates various programs across both our athletics and education divisions. He currently serves as the Director of Rising Stars Basketball Academy Six Nations.

Matt King grew up as an all star athlete. He played NAIG for Team Ontario, and represented Ontario at National Aboriginal basketball camp, where he was selected MVP. Matt competed as a varsity athlete for the Mens Basketball Team at Laurier and Lakehead Universities, and went on to coach U Sport at both Lakehead and Guelph. Matt continued his education and began a professional career as a certified teacher. After ten years of dedicated service as a teacher, coach and Athletic Director (Chair) with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, Matt embarked on a new professional adventure, while continuing to compete in triathlons and Iron-Man races. As a Regional Director with Rising Stars, Matt coordinates and facilitates various programs across both our athletics and education divisions. Matt specializes in facilitating programs and instruction for youth, students, and athletes, both on and off reserve. He currently serves as the Director of Rising Stars Basketball Academy – Six Nations.


RS Associate Director

Laurier University, B.A.
Queensland University of Technology – Australia, B.Ed,


*Basketball Development
*Indigenous Education

As an Associate Director at Rising Stars, Dee coordinates programs both in the athletics and education divisions in support of youth, students, and athletes, both on and off reserves.

Delicia Channer competed as a varsity athlete for Laurier University Women’s Basketball Team, where she was the team captain and a division all star. Dee continued her education and began a professional career as a certified teacher. Dee now serves as an Associate Director with Rising Stars. She is a LEAD Facilitator for Indigenous projects, programs, and services. In this role, Dee facilities creative programs and workshops that promote Indigenous awareness and empowerment. As Rising Stars most Senior Programs Instructor & Facilitator, Dee coordinates programs in both the athletics and education divisions. Dee specializes in facilitating programs and instruction for youth, students, and athletes, both on and off reserve. She currently serves as the Head Coach for the Conestoga College Women’s Basketball team.


Senior Vice President, Director of Programs

Spring Arbor University, BSc Concurrent Education
Specialist Sport Science


* Female Empowerment
* Sport Development

As the Senior Vice President at Rising Stars Athletics & Education, Erin serves as the General Manager of the Education Division. Erin facilitates Advanced Programs and Instruction for administrators, coaches, and teachers. Erin develops and designs programs and curriculum for student engagement and athlete development.

Erin Forman is former member of both Softball Canada’s National team program and Baseball Canada’s National Team. She played in the 2004 Women’s World Series in Japan, and the 2006 World Cup in Taipei. Erin was named All American, All Conference, and Player of the Year, while playing on a U.S. Softball Scholarship. She was recently  inducted into the hall of fame for her achievements in sport. Though Erin’s sport specific bio clearly demonstrates an extensive combination of all around athleticism and personal achievement in softball that very few athletes can claim, equally impressive is her continued commitment to helping others achieve their goals through sport and education in her professional endeavours. Erin serves as role model in her trade and community. She demonstrates an unwavering commitment to making positive differences in the lives of others.

Erin continues to use sport as a vehicle to empower others in the work she does in coaching, and also in her professional endeavours. As a founding partner and Director of Softball Development at Rising Stars, Erin has become one of the most highly sought teachers and coaches of the game. Erin is on the cutting edge of instructional techniques, tools, and theories for optimal development. She has worked with countless local and regional athletes, supporting aspiring student-athletes as they continue in their positive development and successfully pursue opportunities to play college or university ball in Canada, and/or secure U.S. softball scholarships, with many advancing to become provincial and national calibre softball players.


Founding Partner, President & Chair

McMaster University, B.A., M.A
University of Western Ontario – Ph.D


*Leadership & Empowerment
*Youth & Community Development

As the original Founding Partner of what would eventually become the Rising Stars Group of companies, Dr Peters has been instrumental in the continued expansion and reach of positive sport, youth, and community development programs and special projects.

From early beginnings as a competitive student athlete in the Hamilton region, and many local achievements and recognitions at the secondary level, Dr Peters went on to compete as a varsity athlete for McMaster University, winning numerous regional, provincial and national medals as a member of the Men’s Basketball Team. Dr Peters earned both a B.A., and M.A. at McMaster University, and went on to acquire a teaching certificate from D’Youville College, and a Ph.D. at the University of Western Ontario. These formative years laid the foundation for what would eventually become Rising Stars Athletics and Education.

He continues to serve as the conglomerate’s most senior executive, with 25 years of success in youth and community development through athletics and education. He continues to leverage his passion and extensive experience to engage youth and community in a positive and healthy development.

Dr. Peters devotes his time and energy to creating and partnering with stakeholders in the facilitation of innovative student and athlete development programs. Through strategic partnerships with national, professional, and elite athletes, coaches, sport science professionals, and educators, Dr Peters continues to collaborate with local organizations and expand through offering a variety of programs designed specifically for the benefit of athletes, students, schools, and communities.