September 30, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award. This bursary assists Indigenous women who are enrolled in post-secondary law studies or justice-related studies, and who are committed to the political, social, economic, and cultural advancement of Indigenous women, their families, and their communities.
The Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award was made available through the generous donations of Helen Bassett, who was an active supporter of equal rights for Aboriginal peoples and women. Ms. Bassett’s wish was for funds to be used for post-secondary student awards, and more specifically for Indigenous women pursuing law careers.
Samantha Lee Dawson
Samantha Lee Dawson is a member of the Selkirk First Nation and was born and raised in her traditional territory in the Yukon. She is currently in her third year at the University of British Columbia Law School where she will be graduating next year with specialization in Aboriginal law and Social Justice. She will be spending her articling year in the area of criminal defence while also involving herself with the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Circle (YAWC), one of NWAC’s Territorial Member Associations.
Alana Robert is from the Manitoba Métis Nation, and is pursuing her Juris Doctor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. She founded Justice For Women, which strives to eliminate gender-based violence through advocacy, education, and support. Through this work, Alana has led campaigns raising awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women, while also making changes in her community at the University of Manitoba, where she created Consent Culture Workshops, a policy that requires this training for student leaders, and a Self-Care and Sexual Violence Resource Centre for students.
Leanna Gruendel is a Cree woman in her first year of the J.D. program at the University of Victoria Law School. She plans on focusing her degree on Aboriginal Law and Human Rights Law, and hopes to work towards improving justice services for Indigenous women. In her spare time, Leanna enjoys practicing photography and volunteering at her local Friendship Centre. Leanna is incredibly honoured to have been selected as a recipient of the 2016 Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award.
St. George, NL
Ashtyn McLean is Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations woman completing her Bachelor of Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Upon completion of her degree, Ashtyn is interested in working in the field of gerontology. Her hobbies include spending time with family and friends and taking part in outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and spending time at the family cabin.
NWAC wishes to congratulate the four winners on their success and offers special thanks to all who applied. In addition, NWAC wishes success to all students as they enter into a new school year this fall.
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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