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Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day with Samantha Lightning

We don’t just tell people that Peace Hills Insurance is owned by Samson Cree Nation, instead we say that we are proudly owned by Samson Cree Nation. Not only is it something that makes us different in the insurance space, it is the absolute core of who we are and has influenced many of our decisions over the course of our 40+ years in business. And it’s true, we are proud.

June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day; a day to celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. As an Indigenous-owned organization, it’s important to us to acknowledge the day and be a part of the conversation that is celebrating Indigenous success stories. Today we are excited to share a success story that is very close to home; shining a spotlight on one of our staff members who is Nehiyaw (Cree) from Samson Cree Nation, Samantha Lightning.

As Sam marks her 20th anniversary at Peace Hills, we asked to learn more about her heritage, how she ended up working in insurance, and get further insight into her unique perspective.

Embracing Heritage

Growing up primarily in Amiskwaciy-waskahikan (Edmonton), Sam spent most of her weekends and summers in Maskwacis, Alberta with family, or at their family land by Pigeon Lake with her Mosom (Grandfather). “We traveled every summer, attending powwows with our Mosom, who always ensured we stayed connected to our culture, traditions, and language.”

These strong familial roots have followed her into the workplace, and she attributes her strong work ethic to her mother. “She was a single mom. We didn’t always have everything we wanted, but she continuously worked hard to provide what we needed.”

As a Samson band member and Cree woman working for a Samson-owned company, Sam strives to conduct herself with dignity and pride. “I represent not only myself but the Samson community. I take great pride in being a member of the Samson Cree Nation and an employee of Peace Hills Insurance.”

From the Ground-Up at Peace Hills

Sam’s journey to Peace Hills Insurance began with a computer program through Oteenow Employment and Training, leading to her resume being submitted to an employment agency. “At that time, Peace Hills was seeking Samson band members for their summer employment program. I started on July 12, 2004, as a summer student, and by the end of the summer I was asked to stay on in [what was then known as] the Support Services Department.”

She worked as reception backup, in the mailroom, and folding policies. Six months later she moved to the ROC (Rest of Canada) underwriting department as a Coordinator, handling policy changes, data entry, and issuing new policies. It was throughout her time in this role that she started her family and raised five children as a single mother. “Being a coordinator was flexible for me while having a young family.”

In 2018, she fully transitioned into the role of Underwriter after slowly learning some of these duties beginning in 2016. “I love my career and the opportunities it has given me over these last 20 years. I am so proud of being a single mother of five and being able to advance to an Underwriter.” Sam is now currently taking courses to complete both her CIP (Certified Insurance Professional) and CRM (Canadian Risk Management) designations. We are certain that her Mosom would be proud, as she shared with us that he always pushed her to further her education.

When asked what else she is most proud of during her time with Peace Hills, she didn’t hesitate. “The relationships I have built with my brokers. Whether I am meeting with a broker in person for the first time or the fifth time, we usually greet with a huge hug. I have spoken to many of these people almost daily for years.”

Celebrating Indigenous People

For Sam, National Indigenous Peoples Day is a vital opportunity for Canadians to recognize, honour, and celebrate the Indigenous people of this country. “It’s crucial for non-Indigenous people to experience and appreciate our diverse culture, as this fosters reconciliation and a better understanding and relationship with First Nation people.”

She believes that companies can facilitate this while also better supporting Indigenous employees by understanding the barriers they face. “Create awareness about reconciliation, our culture, and traditions. Engage with Indigenous people to create a safe, accepting place.”

When it comes to young Indigenous people seeking guidance as they begin their professional careers, Sam’s advice is simple: “Ahkamêyimok! Persevere, don’t give up, keep trying!”


Peace Hills Insurance is a unique insurance company that truly cares. We care about many things, not least of all: our employees. They are the gears that keep us moving forward. So, as we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, we are honoured to highlight the achievements and journey of one of our longstanding Indigenous employees. Sitting down with Sam and sharing her story today showcases the strength, resilience, and dedication that has made her successful. Her career path with Peace Hills Insurance demonstrates what is possible for all members of the Indigenous community, and we are so proud to have had her on our team for the past 20 years!

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