Kiefer Roberts

Passion For Politics: Kiefer Roberts Continues a Legacy of Leadership

“Don't be scared to make mistakes. You will learn from those mistakes,” Kiefer Roberts urges. Through a combination of formal and informal learning, life experience and family wisdom, he’s learned a lot and is always learning more. Going to university was intended to improve his understanding of policy, legislation and laws given his political passion. While he hasn’t been elected municipally, provincially, or federally, he takes the election by his peers at schools seriously. 

He works with the University of Saskatchewan Student Union as the Vice President of Academic Affairs in Saskatoon, having been elected in 2019/2020. The Students Union represents the undergraduate students on campus and he’s finishing his second term. 

Looking at the seeds of his political interests, Roberts points to his grandfather, Joe Senior, who was an elected councillor for many years, helping get running water and a water treatment plant for their community. Both of his grandparents went to residential school and his mother attended a church-run school and they were all violently discouraged from speaking their languages, among other hardships.

In high school, Roberts was able to study Cree language and culture and engage in land-based learning, something he values as it instilled crucial survival skills. After graduating from high school, Roberts applied to the Aboriginal Police Prep program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. He took a year off for bereavement and worked at the Youth Center in his hometown of Stanley Mission, helping kids from five to seventeen, primarily, with some older or younger clients. He decided to continue on to university from there. 

When he first went to university, Roberts was dating his ex who first encouraged him to apply and they lived together, something that was helpful being away from home. They remain friends and he encourages youth who are considering leaving their home communities to go to university to make new friends if they weren’t fortunate enough to come with friends already. 

Leaning on and listening to friends can be helpful during a period of big change. Getting out of your comfort zone to learn and grow is also key from Robert’s perspective, as well as taking advantage of the services your school offers to help deal with the culture shock of moving into a bigger place. 

University was hard for Roberts, with each year bringing fresh loss with friends and family passing away. Some of those deaths were sudden and harder to deal with. Deaths from longer illnesses or of older relatives allow more time to prepare for eventual loss but he was shaken seeing young relatives gone so young and so fast. Trying to do homework while grieving his 13-year-old niece who had died by suicide was hard and he took half the year off because he was unable to focus. 

Illustration by Shaikara David

Getting him through those hard times were friends and loved ones who were willing to help when he needed it. Writing in a journal or creating poetry, as part of taking care of his mental health was also important. He urges people to talk about the things that matter to them to get them off their chest. Mental wellness these days looks like opening the blinds and windows to let the sunshine in, getting fresh air and exercise, and communicating and spending time with others. Spending time with pets is something he says will boost the serotonin in the brain and he actively encourages the practice. 

If he could give a message to his younger self it would be about learning how to communicate effectively with everybody: friends, family, loved ones, and colleagues. Sharing emotions through words and body language is something he wished he knew was important. Roberts would have liked to encourage himself to leave his comfort zone so he could learn quicker and to burn bridges to remove toxic influences in his life. He finds being surrounded by those influences can lead to falling into a negative lifestyle. 

When he needs inspiration, he looks to books he doesn’t have to read for school, spending time in conversation with other people, journaling, writing poetry, dreaming of the future and achieving his goals. He aspires to leave the world a better place than when he found it, knowing we are only borrowing this land from future generations. He hopes people remember that there's only one planet and we need to take care of it. 

Through a combination of formal and informal learning, life experience and family wisdom, he’s learned a lot and is always learning more. With a passion for politics and a family legacy of community involvement, he’s found a way to continue that practice in a university setting as an elected student union leader. Kiefer Robers has learned from his mistakes and isn’t afraid to make more as he moves out of his comfort zone to find his next lesson as a politician, student and community member. 

Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.

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Key Parts

  • Career
  • Identity
    First Nations
  • Province/Territory
  • Date
    April 18, 2024
  • Post Secondary Institutions
    No PSI found.
  • Discussion Guide
    create to learn discuss

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