WINNIPEG, MB – Two descendants of residential schools survivors have been awarded The University of Winnipeg’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Scholarship. Amber Chartrand and Diana Cowley earned the scholarships that recognize the important work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and honour students who are residential school survivors or descendants of residential school survivors.
Amber Chartrand, from the Dene Nation, is in her second year at UWinnipeg majoring in criminal justice and conflict resolution and juggling her role as a single parent. Chartrand chose her field of study at a young age when she realized how over represented Aboriginal peoples are in the justice system, in many cases due to the effects and intergeneration effects of the residential schools.
“I think it is important to recognize and honour residential school survivors and their descendants,” expressed Chartrand. “Receiving this particular scholarship is an honour. Knowing someone has faith in me makes me work harder to achieve my goals and help my community.”
Diana Cowley is a signatory to Treaty No.3 from Anishinanbe First Nation Whitefish Bay, ON, and is a UWinnipeg graduate with her bachelor of arts in Indigenous studies. She has returned to UWinnipeg to complete her education certificate to become a teacher.
“I am the first person in my immediate family to go to university,” said Cowley. “I believe my generation is working on creating positive change and healing in our community. I have a particular interest in teaching history and politics and I know I can make a difference through education.”
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission adds its congratulations to the award recipients and encourages them to continue their educational journey,” expressed The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. “UWinnipeg is also to be congratulated for this endeavour. While residential schools under the guise of education, have been responsible for harm and damage to Indigenous people and communities in Canada, the Commissioners of the TRC believe that education does hold the key to reconciliation and avidly supports those initiatives that advance educational opportunities for Aboriginal students.”
In June 2010, Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg, appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and announced the scholarship. The TRC scholarships are awarded annually to two students and are valued at $5,000 each.
More than 12% of UWinnipeg’s student population is First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, making UWinnipeg one of the top universities in Canada for Indigenous participation. The University of Winnipeg is located on Treaty One land, in the heart of the Metis Nation. Find out more about Indigenous-focused programs, services and supports at The University of Winnipeg at Community Learning and Indigenous Scholarship.