Holly Fortier

Olds College is pleased to award the 2022 Olds College Honorary Degree to Holly Fortier for her significant contributions through Indigenous Awareness Training. 

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Holly Fortier awarded the 2022 Olds College Honorary Degree

Olds College is pleased to award the 2022 Olds College Honorary Degree to Holly Fortier for her significant contributions through Indigenous Awareness Training. 

Holly Fortier

A Cree/Dene woman from Ft. McKay First Nation in Alberta, Fortier was born in Treaty 7 Territory and was fortunate to be raised by cultural leaders, academics and activists. Fortier is a successful business woman, mother and Kookum. Her greatest strength is her ability to tell stories in a powerful way. Whether it is as a course facilitator through her company Nisto Consulting or through her Two Canoes Media film production company, Fortier reaches deep into some of the tough-to-tell stories. 

Olds College first came to know Fortier when she delivered her cultural awareness training to a group of land agent students in 2016. At the request of Olds College faculty, Fortier also presented at the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association Conference where she shared her knowledge, insights and stories with college instructors from across Alberta. Since then, Fortier has visited Olds College biannually to present her Indigenous Awareness Trainings to Olds College students, staff and faculty. 

“Holly has advised Olds College as we developed our Indigenous Strategy,” said Debbie Thompson, Vice President, Academic and Student Experience, OIds College. “She has walked alongside us as we planned indoor and outdoor spaces for Indigenous learners on campus, and provides invaluable training sessions to Olds College staff and students every year.” 

 “Through her passion for sharing Indigenous history and culture, our staff and students have learned so much from her teachings,” adds Thompson.  

Fortier is a brand ambassador for Manitobah Mukluks, an Indigenous owned and operated footwear retailer, and serves on the board of NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community. She is the recipient of both the 2016 Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women and the 2018 Alberta Aboriginal Role Model award. She also received the Esquao Award for Culture in 2016, which celebrates the contributions of exceptional Aboriginal women in Alberta.

“The lands that we now call Canada and the United States, Indigenous people call it Turtle Island, in the middle of Turtle Island is the great plains, and the indigenous people lived off of one thing – the buffalo,” Fortier expresses. “The buffalo provided food, shelter, clothing, tools, toys and medicines – everything came from that one source. We say that education is the new buffalo.”

“I love that Olds College is an ally, a friend, that we are welcome here,” Fortier continues. “I love you Olds College and I look forward to working more, and more, with your efforts and reconciliation.”

Fortier received this award at the 2022 Olds College Convocation Ceremony held on June 4, 2022