June 16, 2016 – Former Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award recipient, 23-year-old Métis law student Siera Bearchell was crowned Miss Universe Canada in Toronto on June 11, 2016. Hailing from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Bearchell is hoping to use her new position to promote awareness and education of Indigenous culture and Indigenous issues.
Not only is Bearchell pursuing law school at the University of Saskatchewan, she is also an avid community volunteer and blossoming entrepreneur, having co-founded her own clothing brand called Watered Down Apparel which provides 30 days of drinking water in developing countries for every item sold. She has worked with a number of charities, including Free the Children, the Canadian Red Cross, and SOS Children’s Villages.
“We at the Native Women’s Association of Canada are immensely proud of our 2014 Helen Bassett Student Award recipient, Siera Bearchell. Her tireless devotion to community involvement and promotion of Indigenous culture makes Siera a true inspiration for young Aboriginal women,” said President Lavell-Harvard.
The Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award is an annual $1000 prize awarded to four young Indigenous women, each of whom is from the four traditional directions (North, East, South, and West) and is currently pursuing post-secondary studies, preferably in law or justice related field. Applicants must also demonstrate a commitment to improving the situation of Indigenous women and youth in Canada politically, culturally, economically, or otherwise.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.
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