University of Winnipeg Indigenous Studies major Carl Balan is one of three post-secondary students across Canada selected to have their personal stories of achievement shared at the Indspire Awards Gala in Winnipeg, Friday March 21. Balan says the bursaries and scholarships he’s received from Indspire are paramount to his continued success in school, especially as a father juggling to raise three children along with a partner studying to be a nurse.
“Any student can attest to the financial struggles we go through,” says Balan. “Being a Metis student in particular, we don’t receive band funding of any kind.”
Balan didn’t take the typical road to university. It took several attempts to finish high school, but he persevered, graduating before taking a distance education course so he could work as an educational assistant. After deciding to take the leap to university, Balan says he knew almost immediately that UWinnipeg was the right path for him, inspired by an Introduction to Indigenous Studies course taught by Julie Pelletier, PhD, Chair of UWinnipeg’s Department of Indigenous Studies.
Balan’s story will be shared in a video shot in places symbolic to his journey—including UWinnipeg, his family’s home, and the Dufferin Avenue housing development he was raised in—an example of the difference being made in the lives of Indigenous students by Indspire’s scholarships and bursaries. He calls the financial support he’s received from Indspire an uplifting “ray of light.”
Balan, who serves on UWinnipeg’s Aboriginal Student Council and on the UWinnipeg Indigenous Advisory Circle, says he is honoured to have received support from Indspire for each of his three years of University so far. He also says he’s grateful for the support The University of Winnipeg provides to Indigenous students, adding that he doesn’t think he would have made it this far without the support provided by the Aboriginal Student Services Centre. He plans to continue his education after this degree by pursuing either a Bachelors of Education degree or graduate studies. Dr. Pelletier observes that Carl is representative of many high achieving Indigenous students – she says as a tireless advocate for others, he will always be a teacher regardless of his future path.
Indspire is the largest supporter of Indigenous education outside the federal government. To date Indspire has awarded more than $54 million in scholarships and bursaries to 16,000 First Nation, Inuit and Métis recipients nationwide. For more information, visit indspire.ca
The annual Indspire Awards recognize Indigenous professionals and youth who demonstrate outstanding achievement and serve as invaluable role models for all Indigenous peoples. Recipients will be honoured at a gala ceremony Friday, March 21 in Winnipeg, to be televised nationally at a later date on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and Global.
– 30 –
The University of Winnipeg is noted for academic excellence, small class sizes, environmental commitment, campus diversity, Indigenous scholarship, and support of cultural arts. UWinnipeg is strongly committed to promoting access and inclusion, and is ranked 4th in Canada for reputation by Maclean’s (2013). Find out more at uwinnipeg.ca. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Megan Benedictson, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7129, E: email@example.com