Indspire and UWinnipeg partner to nurture Indigenous talent
WINNIPEG, MB –A new partnership between Indspire and The University of Winnipeg will help 80 First Nations, Métis and Inuit students in the coming year through the creation of a new award, geared specifically to those with demonstrated financial need. The University of Winnipeg/Indspire Indigenous Awards Program will provide each selected student with an award of $4,400. It is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.
It means students like Joellee Maxfield and Janine Richard, both recipients of an Indspire bursary, can achieve their full potential. Maxfield was working as an educational assistant when she found out she could enroll in the Community-based Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (CATEP), a joint venture between UWinnipeg’s Faculty of Education, Manitoba Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade and partner school divisions. Maxfield is in her fifth year of study towards her integrated Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees.
Raised in Selkirk, with family ties to Peguis First Nation, Maxfield has four grown children and four grandchildren. She says her Indspire bursary of $7,000 over two years, “helped me keep afloat financially while working towards becoming a teacher. I realized there is a real need for Aboriginal students to see themselves in professional positions. I was a teenage mom and had to keep setting goals for myself. The Aboriginal kids I work with in schools flock to me. I try to build those connections and keep it real.”
Richard completed her Bachelor of Arts in 2016 and is taking some time out to work at the
Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre before completing her Bachelor of Education through The University of Winnipeg Education Centre. A single mom with three young children, she says the $7,500 she received from Indspire “made a huge difference in helping to cover the cost of everything, and travel back to my home reserve”of Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation. “I am the first person in my family to get a post-secondary education, and it is very important to me that my kids see we can overcome barriers.”
The new $352,000 University of Winnipeg/Indspire Indigenous Awards Program, administered by Indspire, is possible because of assertive fundraising efforts and is cost-shared by UWinnipeg with matching funds from the Government of Canada. A report released by Indspire in February 2015 showed that 93% of Indigenous students surveyed who received funding from Indspire for their education graduated, and 82% of respondents are employed.
“I am delighted The University of Winnipeg has shown its leadership and willingness to meet a critical need – the educational advancement of First Nation, Inuit and Métis students. Research shows that a lack of funding is a key impediment for Indigenous students who are striving to complete their post-secondary education,” said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire. “This contribution highlights UWinnipeg’s commitment to ensuring First Nation, Inuit, and Métis students are obtaining the academic credentials they need to realize their full potential and achieve their dreams.”
Approximately 12% of incoming students at UWinnipeg self-identify as Indigenous, one of the highest participation rates among Canadian universities.
“Our partnership with Indspire allows us to offer increased meaningful support to students like Janine and Joellee, and to attract and nurture Indigenous talent,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “The seminal Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report sets forth a new way for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada to move forward. At the heart of this report is education. A deep part of our ongoing work is to do more to include Indigenous people, perspectives, and knowledge in every aspect of University life.”
In keeping with the TRC’s Calls to Action, in September 2016, UWinnipeg became one of the first post-secondary in Canada to begin offering a mandatory Indigenous course requirement for undergraduate students.
Indspire is an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, Indspire disburses financial awards, delivers programs, and shares resources with the goal of closing the gap in Indigenous education. Through the K-12 Institute, it provides resources to educators, communities, and other stakeholders who are committed to improving kindergarten to grade 12 success for Indigenous youth. In 2015-16, Indspire has provided $12.2 million through 3,792 bursaries and scholarships to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students. Each year, the organization presents the Indspire Awards, a celebration of the successes achieved by Indigenous people that is broadcast nationally.
Located on Treaty One land, in the heart of the Metis homeland, UWinnipeg is noted for academic excellence, Indigenous scholarship, environmental commitment, small class sizes and campus diversity. We are committed to improving access to post-secondary education for all individuals, especially those taking non-traditional paths to university. Find out more at uwinnipeg.ca. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg
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