SREDA Indigenous Economic Development Scholarship winner challenges himself to learn
- Jeanelle Mandes | March 12, 2020
Despite having a mobility disability, Kelly Fiddler didn’t allow that to halt his destined path to reach a higher education.
Fiddler from the Waterhen First Nation was diagnosed with Kennedy’s Disease four years ago. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website, Kennedy’s Disease “is an inherited motor neuron disease that affects males usually between the ages of 20 and 40” and causes weakening and wasting of the arms and legs muscles. This had resulted in Fiddler utilizing a mobility chair when needed.
“[The disease] really limits my mobility. So, it had an affect on me, I didn’t want to limit myself because of my disability,” he said. “I didn’t want it to stop my lifelong learning. I wanted to prove to myself [that I can] still get my education.”
Fiddler was awarded the third SREDA Indigenous Economic Development Scholarship (SIEDS) which was presented to him during a luncheon from SREDA, the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network (SFNEDN) and the Great Plains College located in Warman, SK.
“It was a relief because tuition is pretty high,” said Fiddler, who is on student loan to pay for his education. “I was pretty happy because [the scholarship] will help pay for a couple of classes and admission fees.”
Fiddler just began his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) program. He also has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Saskatchewan, a Bachelor of Arts degree (Native Studies) and has a Certification as an Aboriginal Economic Development Professional through the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers.
“I decided to go back to university to challenge myself to back to learning,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in taking my MBA. I felt like I wanted to learn more. It’s a good program [so far].”
The SIEDS scholarship recognizes leaders in the Indigenous community by offering a scholarship to an Indigenous student who is actively enrolled in the MBA program in Community Economic Development.
“We are honoured to again present this scholarship to a very deserving candidate who is dedicated to Indigenous economic development, has a history of being active in the community and continues to extend his learning growth through higher educational opportunities,” stated the Great Plains College President and CEO David Keast in a media release. “Kelly has had a great impact on the communities and organizations he has been involved with and we look forward to seeing that impact grow as he completes the MBA program.”
Fiddler has a little over two years to complete the MBA program and he has great support from his wife Candy and their two children; Miranda and Tyrell who are both in their early 20s.