Ottawa, ON (September 21, 2020)—The Native Women’s Association of Canada is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award. This bursary assists Indigenous women who are enrolled in post-secondary law, justice, political science studies, and those dedicated to the betterment of indigenous communities. It was made available through the generous donations of Helen Bassett, who was an active supporter of equal rights for Indigenous 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.

 

This year, the Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award Selection Committee received and reviewed over 40 applications. NWAC is pleased to announce four awards to the following outstanding women:

 

Mia Gill (North)

Mia Gill is a second year Political Science student at McGill University from Calgary, Alberta. She is Dehcho Dene, a member of Liidlii Kue First Nation in the Northwest Territories. Mia is a motivated advocate for Indigenous peoples, and specifically women and two-spirit individuals. As a lesbian First Nations woman she is passionate about bettering the lives of these communities. After graduating with her Bachelor of Arts, she seeks to attain a joint MBA and law degree, with a focus in human rights.

 

Chakira Young (EAST)

Chakira Young is a Mi’kmaq woman and from Eskasoni First Nation. A Mother to a 7-year-old girl named Freedom and is expecting a son in October 2020 who is balancing motherhood and schoolwork. She is working toward her bachelor’s degree to social work and has recently been undergoing her field placement at Eskasoni Mental Health. Chakira’s goal and passion are instilled within her identity and culture she hopes to bring love, happiness, and healing within our communities, and families.

Jaime Fortin (South)

Jaime Fortin is a young Indigenous woman currently in her second year of Law School at Queen’s University. Her Father is Anishinaabe and French and her mother is Syrian. Jaime grew up on a small reserve on Treaty 9 Territory in Northern Ontario called Chapleau Cree First Nation, but her family is originally from Michipocoten First Nation. She completed her undergrad from Trent University in Indigenous Studies and Gender Studies and is now in Law School. Jaime grew up surrounded by nature and her large extended family she enjoys being on the land. One thing she is very passionate about is Indigenous law and Indigenous rights both within the Canadian context and internationally. She believes that Indigenous Youth need to be given opportunities to connect with their culture and knowledge teachers as well that they need to incorporate traditional legal practices into contemporary society.

 

Bailee Brewster (West)

Bailee Brewster was born and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. She is a member of the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan Western Region II. Bailee graduated with honours from École St. Mary High School in Prince Albert in 2016. For the past three years, Bailee attended the University of Saskatchewan College of Arts and Science, majoring in Psychology. During this time, Bailee was awarded two Indigenous Achievement Awards for Academic Excellence. This upcoming academic year, Bailee will be entering her first year in the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan.