Scholarships create ripples in communities across Manitoba

Literacy, Education & Employment

Thirty Indigenous students are one step closer to fulfilling their dreams

In fall 2021 The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (ICC), with support from The Winnipeg Foundation, relaunched the Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Awards for Indigenous students.

176 students applied for the scholarship, outlining their educational and career goals, community involvement, and what Helen Betty Osborne’s life and legacy means to them.

“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.

Scholarship applications were reviewed by a selection committee that included representatives from the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). Thirty $2,500 scholarships were awarded.

Many of the selected applicants highlighted wanting to return to their home communities upon completion of their education as a way of giving back. Educational paths among applicants were diverse, and included health care, social work, education, law, and addressing the legacy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Helen Betty Osborne was pursuing post-secondary education when she was brutally murdered in northern Manitoba in 1971. It took 16 years for anyone to be charged with her murder. The scholarship fund was established to honour her memory and provide financial support to Indigenous students.

“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,” says Sky Bridges, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation.

This story is featured in the Spring 2022 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

About the photo

Helen Betty Osborne
(Photo credit: The Free Press – Supplied)

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