Indigenous Services

Students filling offering satchels

Who we are

As a part of SM’s commitment to enhancing the participation of Indigenous learners, the College provides Indigenous support services at each of the four campuses.

Our goal is to provide culturally relevant support including:

  • visiting Elders

  • cultural and academic workshops

  • Indigenous peer mentors

  • Indigenous Student Centres

  • Indigenous awards, scholarships and bursary information

  • assistance with band funding applications

  • providing personalized daily supports

  • computer access

The Indigenous Services Team

Diyame Derrick Caterer

Indigenous Student Services Coordinator, Salmon Arm & Revelstoke Centre
Office: Salmon Arm Building 184A
Campus: Salmon Arm
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 8275
Diyame, Aboriginal Services

She:kon, I am Mohawk/Irish (maternal) and English/Scottish (paternal). My traditional teachings are from the Nlaka'pamux Nation (Lytton, BC). I have kinship ties with both the Splatsin and Adams Lake Bands.

I have worked in Indigenous Education since 2008 for both School District 73 (Kamloops) and 83 (Salmon Arm), most recently as the Indigenous Education Worker at Salmon Arm Secondary; Sullivan campus for the past eleven years.

I have been immersed in Indigenous education for most of my life, through the work that my father did developing the NITEP program in the 1970’s. My mother, who is a psychologist, works from the Indigenous worldview/perspective and has worked with Residential School Survivors for approximately 35 years. I had the privilege of supporting her clients while I ran her office for seven years and was witness to several IRS Hearings and supported survivors as they experienced the Statement of Apology to former students of the residential schools live, in 2008.

My two beautiful children are Splatsin Band members and the centre of all that I do. My parents and Aunties are my mentors and my guides in everything that I do. I rely on my traditional teachings daily, as well as my wonderful husband.  

I am so excited to be here at SM and continue to support Indigenous students to create powerful foundations for themselves, their children, their families and their communities.

Nia; wen

Cassidy Acheson

Indigenous Student Services Coordinator, Vernon
Office: Main Building B311
Campus: Vernon
Phone: 250-317-1892
Cassidy Acheson smiles in a sunny market square

Cassidy is a settler living on unceded Syilx territory and is grateful to the Indigenous people who have generously shared their time, knowledge, and care with her as she continues to learn how to live in good relation with this territory. Cassidy has always been driven by a commitment to social justice and equity and is pleased to continue that work through her role at SM.

Prior to joining the Indigenous Services team, Cassidy completed a Bachelor of Arts through OC and the University of British Columbia – Okanagan. She went on to complete her Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Indigenous Studies and History at UBCO. Her research was a community-engaged and place-based project that focused on Sqilxw women’s histories of resistance at Nk’maplqs (the Head of the Lake, near Vernon, BC). Cassidy is passionate about education and is grateful for the opportunity to support Indigenous students on their unique paths of learning.

Kennidi Rushton

Indigenous Student Services Coordinator, Kelowna
Office: Student Services Building 124A
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-864-5796

Samantha Smith

Indigenous Student Services Coordinator, Penticton
Office: Sunoka Building A17
Campus: Penticton
Phone: 250-460-1770
sam smith

Anthony Isaac

Indigenous Services Manager
Office: Student Services Building 124B
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4322
Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services and Indigenization

Anthony joined Indigenous Services at SM in 2014. He is Ojibwe, and belongs to the Ajijaak Indoodem (Crane Clan) and comes from Bkejwanong Territory, otherwise known as Walpole Island First Nation located in South Western Ontario. He earned a BSc degree in Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. Continuing in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Anthony completed his Master’s degree in Occupation Science, focusing his photovoice research on the occupational injustices faced by First Nations youth as they pursued post-secondary education. He has over 15 years of experience working in Indigenous education. Anthony feels honored to live, work and play here on the traditional and unceded territories of the Syilx Okanagan and Secwepemc peoples.

Connect with us

Book an appointment

Book and appointment through our online booking system. Need Assistance? Contact us.

Ask a question

Have questions about how Indigenous Services can support you? Fill out this short survey and we will contact you shortly.

Applying to SM

Application steps

Explore program information and decide which program and campus interests you. Review program requirements, admissions, and minimum grades needed.

Our dedicated Indigenous student services team is here to help you plan out your application, review admission requirements and provide guidance on available funding. They can also help you explore your options if you are unsure of which program to pursue. If you have detailed questions about programs, transfer credits or laddering to another program, please see Education Advising to contact an OC Education Advisor.

Meet the team

Talk with your First Nations or Métis Associations Education Coordinator, College Financial Aid staff, College Indigenous Student Services Coordinators or community employment counsellors.

To submit an application you can apply online. There is a $30 non-refundable application fee. If you have detailed questions about programs, transfer credits or laddering into another program, please see Education Advising.

Once you apply, you will receive a student number and login information for. You can then see the status of your application and check on required documents. The College will email you about your application status.

The following are a few things to consider when applying:

  • On the first business day of October each year SM begins accepting applications for academic programs for Fall programs starting the next year.
  • The grade and percentages listed in the admission requirements are the minimum grades required to enter a program.
  • SM may cease to accept applications for a given intake if the number of applications submitted greatly exceeds enrolment capacity. Early application for all programs is strongly advised.

SM is committed to increasing the access to, and completion of education for students with Indigenous ancestry. The College will annually set aside a predetermined number of spots specifically for students with Indigenous ancestry; this number being commensurate with student interest, available classes and learning support resources. While the number may vary from program to program, it will not normally exceed six percent of the intake capacity for any given program in a particular year.


If you are sponsored by your First Nation, Indigenous organization, employer or government agency, your sponsor must provide a signed letter to SM. The letter will be used to bill your sponsor. 


The sponsor letter should contain the following:

  • Your full legal name that you are registered with at SM
  • Your student number
  • What type of charges the sponsor is willing to pay on your behalf, providing as much detail as possible. These charges could include the non-refundable tuition deposit, tuition fees, mandatory fees, student association fees, health, dental, books, supplies, material fees or any other billing items
  • The maximum allowable amount the sponsor is willing to pay per term (if there is a maximum)

The sponsor should also send a copy of the letter to you, so you have a copy on file if you need to show it to the Registrar's office or Bookstore.

All sponsorship letters and documentation can be emailed to Finance ( and Indigenous Services (

Or, letters can be faxed or mailed to the address below (regardless of the campus the sponsored student will be attending).

All sponsorship letters should be submitted into Finance prior to the fee payment deadline. Your sponsor will be billed at a later date.

Note: Information will not be released to your sponsor without an information release form signed by you. You can add the sponsor's name under "Consent to Release Information" on your myOkanagan student page. To learn how to release your information look under the Other Information page.

Mailing Address:
1000 KLO Road
Kelowna, BC, V1Y 4X8




SM offers up to $75,000 annually to support Indigenous Students.

Find out more about awards available through Financial Aid and Awards.

Are you struggling financially? Talk to us by booking an appointment or emailing one of our team members. Learn more about the Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund

The Indigenous Bursaries Search Tool is a searchable list of more than 750 bursaries, scholarships and incentives across Canada.

The Indspire awards used to be known as the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) has grown into the largest non-governmental funding body for First Nations, Inuit and Métis post-secondary students across Canada.

Bursary and scholarship awards are provided to over 600 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students in a range of areas. The Indspire awards have given over $32 million to over 8,400 recipients since its beginning.

Indspire offers financial aid (scholarships and bursaries) through three major categories: Post-Secondary Education, Fine Arts and Cultural Projects, and Health Careers.

The B.C. Indigenous Student Award was established in 2008 as part of the Provincial Government's strategy to improve Indigenous access and achievement. Its purpose is to support Indigenous people in getting post-secondary education by reducing financial barriers.

The Scholarship Society administers the program in partnership with the Victoria Foundation. Awards of $1,000 - $3,500 are available for Indigenous people pursuing post-secondary education that is at least nine weeks long.

Assistance for former children and youth in care

Starting in September 2017, students who are attending or planning to attend a BC public post-secondary institution may be eligible for this tuition waiver program. Click on the link above for more information on eligibility criteria and application form.

Full-time students who were adopted or in foster care as children may be eligible for this grant. Click the link above for more information on the eligibility criteria and application form.

First Nation communities in the College's service area

Community support in the region

Events and important dates

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Kelowna campus

Our Stories

Between the Lakes Powwow 2023

June 23rd 2023 marked a monumental moment for the Four Seasons Cultural Society as they hosted the Between the Lakes Powwow for the first time at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Traditionally the annual Powwow has been hosted on the Penticton Indian Band Reserve baseball fields. The last Powwow took place in 2019. Kristine Jack, the Executive Director and Haley Regan, Head of Volunteers of Four Seasons Cultural Society had a vision to move the Powwow off the reserve and bring the Powwow to all of Penticton to share Indigenous culture. The Between the Lakes Powwow attracted 140 dancers from across Canada and the United States and five drumming groups for competition. Three Grand Entries wowed the crowd with rainbows of colour dancing to the powerful beat of the drum groups. Saturday was an extra special day for the Powwow’s Head Man and Woman, who exchanged vows with a traditional wedding ceremony. Another touching moment was the Overdose Awareness round dance, which invited everyone down to the SOEC floor to bring awareness to the long-reaching effects of overdoses. The floor was filled with three large circles of hands holding and feet dancing together. Highlights from the weekend included food trucks and vendors selling Bannock Tacos, Bannock Burgers, other goodies and Indian Ice Cream. A vendor's hall packed with Indigenous-themed clothing for sale, beaded earrings, moccasins, and ribbon skirts. The event was well attended and supported by 100 volunteers. We are all looking forward to next year’s Annual Powwow Between the Lakes, thank you Four Seasons Cultural Society.

-Samantha Smith, Indigenous Student Services Coordinator - Penticton Campus

powwow dancers gathered

Newsletter and updates

The Indigenous Student Newsletter is published each month, produced by Indigenous Services. Some newsletter content will be shared below. To receive the newsletter to your inbox, please subscribe below.

The following story was submitted by OC’s International Education team:

An SM student has returned from the trip of a lifetime…

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, an opportunity to learn about the unique cultures, traditions and experiences of First…

The SM Penticton campus was delighted to host Madeline Terbasket’s show “Medicine Walk” on…

On January 31, we had the pleasure of participating in a storytelling circle with Marnie Gregoire and her father, Elder Adam Gregoire. To begin,…

Indigenous Peer Mentors and fellow students at the Penticton campus stopped studying to get together for a Stress Buster Exam workshop before…

Every year on Dec. 6, Canada pauses to remember 14 women who were killed in a shooting at Polytechnique Montréal on that date in 1989. At the…

Indigenous Education Council

The UBC Okanagan's campus (UBCO) and SM (OC) Indigenous Education Council (Council) provide OC and UBCO with advice, recommendations and guidance to improve the participation and success of Indigenous students in OC and UBCO programs. Through collaborative and inclusive engagement, the Council assists OC and UBCO in identifying educational needs and goals of Indigenous peoples, while also enhancing Indigenous cultural understandings within the respective institutions.

Learn about the Indigenous Education Council