The first female graduate of NORCAT's Surface and Underground Diamond Driller Assistant Common Core Program is all set for success.
Sasha Michano, who is from Ginoogaming First Nation located about 40 km east of Geraldton on the Northern shore of Long Lake, completed the program in Sudbury this past September.
She was nervous at first – NORCAT told her that she would be the first woman to complete the program before she started.
But her keen interest in the mining industry and her desire to succeed pushed her forward.
Michano's interest in the field began when she was working in her community as the Traditional Knowledge Data Collector.
“I interviewed elders and land users for stories, hunting areas, fishing, and ceremonial sites in order to have a Traditional Knowledge Map for our community,” she said.
“I was mostly interested in hearing the stories. I enjoy listening to my grandparents' stories, so when I saw the opening for the position, I thought, why not?”
Following this experience, Michano developed an excitement for mapping. She had the chance to attend a Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Conference (PDAC) in Toronto in 2019.
“PDAC was amazing,” she said. “So cool to see people come together from all over the world.”
Michano went on to complete a welding program at Confederation College, and then successfully completed the Diamond Driller Assistant Program at NORCAT.
She took advantage of these opportunities through the Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment & Training Services (KKETS) program, which is the Aboriginal Skills Employment Training Agreement holder for Matawa First Nations through Service Canada.
Recently, she moved to Thunder Bay to work as a geomatics intern at Matawa Four Rivers Environmental Services, a company that provides support and technical services to the Matawa member First Nation communities, which are currently facing unprecedented development on their shared lands.
“I really enjoy learning about all the new technology, and different ways to map and analyze data.”
In January, Michano hopes to attend Lakehead University to take Environmental Studies. She says that other than that, she hasn't given much thought to the future.
“I hope to return to my community one day, but as of now, I am happy with where I am and who I am.”