Every year, NWAC hands out  the Helen Bassett Commemorative Award to four young Indigenous women, Two-Spirit, or gender-diverse students in the amount of $1,000 each. The awards are made possible by the generous donation of Helen Bassett, an Ontario artist and passionate advocate for the advancement of Indigenous women and for fair solutions to Indigenous land claim issues. She directed open letters to Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and his cabinet in 1980 and again in 1983, proposing that a tax be levied on all land transactions in Canada, with a royalty paid to Indigenous people. She outlined her ideas in Native Rights. In her selflessness, she specified NWAC as one of the beneficiaries of her estate. This has helped to sustain our post-secondary student awards program to this day.

(Application deadline for 2020 now closed. Applications for next year will open in Spring 2021.)

The Awards Program

Our Business, Employment and Social Development (BESD) Unit coordinates the award program and Indigenous youth manage the selection process.

Awards  are provided to four Indigenous youth from each of the four directions: North, South, East, and West.


Applicants must:

  • Be currently pursuing post-secondary studies (priority is given to students who are studying law or are in a law-related field)
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Be an Indigenous woman, gender-diverse, or Two-Spirit person under 31 years of age
  • Demonstrate a commitment to improving the situation of Indigenous women and youth in Canada politically, culturally, economically, or otherwise

Previous Winners

The Native Women’s Association of Canada is proud of its Helen Bassett Commemorative Student Award winners, who have all demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of Indigenous women and youth politically, economically, and culturally.


Marley Angugatsiaq Dunkers

Jeneva Dennis

Allysa Mark

Taylor Vodden


Tewateronhia:khwa Jordan Nelson

Alyssa Mark

Kayla Lavallee

Kerrin-lee Whyte


Desirée Duplessis

Tamara Takpanie

Leah Combs

Sophie Bender Johnston (Ookishkimaanisii)