CIC - Spring/Summer 2024

Spotlight on the Archie Cunningham Family Legacy at Northern Lakes College

The family of the late Archie Cunningham continues to contribute to his legacy at the College. Archie began his career at Northern Lakes College (NLC) in 1972, when he was hired as an instructor. Through the years of his employment, Archie played an instrumental role in bringing College services to Indigenous and Métis communities.

A proud member of the Peavine Métis Settlement, Archie believed education was the key to supporting Indigenous success and cultural preservation in a colonial society. Even after his passing in 2021, his values regarding post-secondary education continue to live on in the lives of his children, children-in-law, and grandchildren. “Archie was adamant in his family values,” his daughter-in-law, Candace Cunningham, reminisces. “He was a strong advocate for post-secondary education.”

Candace was one of many people who found encouragement in Archie’s supportive nature. She would go on to register in the Health Care Aide program at NLC, realizing a dream she’d put aside since high school. She thrived in her field, and it wasn’t long before her supervisors encouraged her to return to NLC in order to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. Again, Candace found encouragement in the words of her father-in-law. Archie just said, “Well, why wouldn’t you? You’re a smart girl. What’s stopping you?” And I thought to myself, ‘yeah – nothing is stopping me! Just my own fears.’”

Archie’s daughter, Emily Reynolds, a graduate of the University Studies program at Northern Lakes College, and now a grade six teacher, echoes the similar role her father played in her life. Explains Emily, “Because of my dad, and his consistent encouragement for furthering my educational journey, every day I feel that I have the best job in the world.”

 The value Archie placed on education reached each person in his life, and the effects continue to ripple into the future. It was an honour for Northern Lakes College to memorialize his efforts with a commemorative plaque unveiling at the High Prairie Campus in August 2022. “When NLC unveiled the plaque,” Emily remembers, “it just reminded all of us of his values, his perseverance, and his dedication to ongoing education. It’s a reminder of the values he instilled in the College that he loved. He was so proud of NLC.”