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Through their words: Kali Stierle
Kali Stierle is currently pursuing her BBA in accounting with a minor in Indigenous studies. She is Nêhiyaw (Cree), Métis, and German and is a member of Peepeekisis Cree Nation. As an aspiring accounting professional, Kali is a strong advocate for economic empowerment and sovereignty for Indigenous nations across Canada and plans to use her knowledge and skills to further the Indigenous economy in a fair and sustainable way. Her goal is to become a chartered professional accountant and work with Indigenous nations, businesses and individuals.
Kali is the recipient of several donor-funded awards including the Deloitte & Touche Scholarship in Accounting; KPMG Annual Scholarship in Accounting; Scotiabank Award in Social Innovation; First Nations, Métis, Indigenous Student Association Scholarship; and RBC Undergraduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Award for Indigenous Students.
In Kali’s words:
I knew I wanted to be an accountant starting in my teenage years, and I’m still not sure why! I don’t have any accountants in my life. Most people look at tax accounting and turn in the opposite direction and run, but I find it incredibly dynamic and interesting. I think I’ve always been fascinated by the field and admired that there are accountants in every business and every corner of the world, and that there’s a strong need for it. I’ve been able to look at the profession through a deeper lens because Indigenous businesses are on the rise and growing at an exponential rate, and there is a need for accountants who understand what it means to work with Indigenous peoples and communities.
As an urban Indigenous person, I am grateful to find kinship in the Indigenous community at SFU and in the Lower Mainland. After leaving their reserve in Regina to avoid incarceration for refusing to send their children to residential schools, my mother’s family made their way to B.C. We are still connected to our family on reserve and in Saskatchewan, and I am still practicing my culture and learning my language (Nêhiyawêwin). I love going to powwows, as well as beading and sewing. My sister and I started a tradition during the pandemic where we would mail each other pieces for moccasins we were making together. She was living in the Yukon at the time, while I was in Surrey. Luckily, she just started at SFU and we no longer have to mail back and forth!
I’m a strong advocate for community building and volunteering, having always been taught that I need to live with the next seven generations in mind. I currently support people at homeless shelters with filing their income taxes, which brings me great joy. To gain the knowledge that I have is costly, and not everyone can access it easily—but because of the generous donors who support scholarships like the ones I received, I thankfully have access to that knowledge and can continue my education at SFU. For many of us, scholarships are our lifeboat.