For immediate release – Thirty, $2,500 awards were recently disbursed from the Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Fund to Indigenous students.
The scholarships honour the memory of Helen Betty Osborne to recognize Indigenous students who are making a difference in eliminating the barriers of racism, sexism, violence, and indifference in society. The fund is one of hundreds of scholarship funds managed by The Winnipeg Foundation.
“Support for Indigenous students through these scholarships is another important step on our journey of reconciliation. The Foundation is so pleased to support this awards program, relaunched by NCTR and ICC,” said Sky Bridges, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation.
176 applications were received and reviewed by a selection committee that included representatives from the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). The awards were available to Indigenous persons who reside in and are enrolled in post-secondary studies in Manitoba.
Applicants outlined their educational and career goals, community involvement and what Helen Betty Osborne’s life and legacy means to them:
“Unfortunately, Helen Betty Osborne was unable to realize her full potential during life when hers was brutally taken from her. Her dreams of becoming a teacher may have been unfulfilled, but her legacy and memory have the wonderful opportunity to inspire and help students like me achieve their dreams. To me, Helen Betty Osborne’s life and legacy is that of hope. Despite the negative effects of racism, sexism and colonization, her legacy is alive to this day and her story is still being told. Not only is this an act of defiance against the country that has tried to erase us, but it is an inspiration for those of us who are working to change the system to make it better for Indigenous people.” — Jayelle Friesen-Enns, recipient of a 2022 Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Award.
Many of the selected applicants highlighted wanting to return to their home communities upon completion of their education as a way to give back. Other educational paths included health care, social work, education, law, and addressing the legacy of missing and murdered women and girls. Recipients for the award also included single parents and 2SLGBTQ+ individuals.
Helen Betty Osborne was pursuing post-secondary education when she was murdered near The Pas, Manitoba on November 13, 1971. The scholarship fund was established to honour her memory and provide financial support to Indigenous students.
Originally from Norway House Cree Nation, Helen Betty Osborne had a dream to one day become a teacher. Helen attended Manitoba Brethren Collegiate Institute and was on the home placement program administered by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. She also spent two years at Guy Hill Residential School (1926-1979) on the shore of Clearwater Lake just outside The Pas, Manitoba. Helen was 19 years old when she was abducted and brutally murdered in 1971. It took 16 years for anyone to be charged with her murder with only one of four attackers convicted of the crime in 1987.
“We are honoured to take part in this opportunity to help support Indigenous students in Helen’s legacy,” said Stephanie Scott, Executive Director of the NCTR. “Residential school Survivors express the importance of ensuring that youth have what they need, spiritually and mentally, to succeed. We count on our youth to lead the future and these scholarships are important opportunities for fostering that leadership.”
“Indigenous youth are our leaders of both today and tomorrow. By collaborating with our partners to provide financial awards such as this scholarship, the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce seeks to walk alongside our youth and support them on their education journey,” said Jamie Dumont, ICC Chair.
“The Manitoba government is pleased to have entered into an agreement with The Winnipeg Foundation to create the Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Fund and ensure these awards continue to honour her memory and support Indigenous students who are pursuing post-secondary education,” said Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister Jon Reyes. “Congratulations to this year’s recipients for their hard work and dedication to leadership, and thanks to The Winnipeg Foundation, The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (ICC) for their important work on this project.”
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) hosted by the University of Manitoba was created to preserve the memory of Canada’s Residential School system and legacy, not just for a few years, but forever. It is the responsibility of the NCTR to steward and share the truths of Survivors’ experiences in a respectful way and to work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators, researchers, communities, decision-makers and the general public to support the ongoing work of truth, reconciliation and healing across Canada and beyond.
For more information or to schedule interviews with NCTR:
The Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the voice for Indigenous business in Manitoba. It is dedicated to creating opportunities where Indigenous Business can work with, and alongside, non-Indigenous businesses in this province. It believes strongly that there is value in working collectively on key issues concerning Indigenous business.
The Winnipeg Foundation is For Good. Forever. We help people give back to our shared community by connecting generous donors with Causes they care about For Good. We are an endowment-based public foundation, so gifts are pooled and invested, and the annual earnings are distributed back to the community Forever. Formed in 1921, we are proud to be the first community foundation in Canada.
For more information, contact;
LuAnn Lovlin, CFRE I Director of Communications & Marketing