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Anishinabek students awarded lucrative scholarships honouring former Alderville chief

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Robyn Gray from Aamjiwnaang First Nation is among this year’s recipients of the John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship.

By Sam Laskaris

ANISHINABEK NATION TERRITORY – Three Anishinabek students are among the half-dozen Indigenous post-secondary school students that have been awarded $10,000 each via an Ontario Power Generation (OPG) scholarship.

The OPG established the John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship, named in honour of a former Alderville First Nation chief, in 1995.

The former World War II fighter pilot also became a high-ranking OPG executive.

This year’s scholarship recipients include Robin Gray, Justin Thompson, and Jordon Jensen.

Gray, from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, is an office administration student at Sarnia’s Lambton College.

Thompson, a Nipissing First Nation citizen, is a York University – Osgoode Hall Law School Juris Doctor student in Toronto.

And Jensen, who is from Chippewas of Rama First Nation, is a computer programmer analyst student at Toronto’s George Brown College.

Indigenous students from communities serviced by OPG are eligible to apply for the annual scholarship.

Those who do end up being scholarship recipients become eligible and may be considered for an OPG paid work term or placement.

Jennifer Tidmarsh, the OPG’s vice-president of Indigenous relations, praised all of the scholarship recipients.

“OPG’s Reconciliation Action Plan outlines concrete actions to help build a better future,” Tidmarsh said. “This scholarship is one of the ways we are putting words into action while also honouring the legacy of a great man and former employee.”

OPG had partnered with Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards Program in 2021 to expand the John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship. The partnership meant a total of 20 scholarships, valued at $10,000 each, could be awarded during the next three years.

Gray plans to put her scholarship funding to good use.

“Being a voice for my community and having the ability to advocate is a key focus for me,” Gray said. “Using the proceeds of this scholarship to help continue my formal education will allow me to serve my community in a role aimed at streamlining processes to increase productivity in a variety of settings.”

Justin Thompson is among this year’s recipients of the John Wesley Beaver Memorial Scholarship. – Photo supplied

Thompson said the scholarship funding will enable him to meet and fulfill his aspirations.

“My goal is to inspire Indigenous youth in my community and use my education to guide those in need of assistance,” Thompson said. “I want to use my skills to build up my own community and close the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous aspects of society.”

Jensen said others are benefiting from the fact he’s a post-secondary student.

“What I’m learning in school is allowing me opportunities to give back to my community,” Jensen said.  “I am working to develop apps aimed at amplifying Indigenous voices and harm reduction. This scholarship allows me to focus on increasing my skills which I can then apply to helping others.”

Greg Rickford, the minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Northern Development, commended all of this year’s scholarship recipients.

“Every time a student is empowered to further their education, we are ensuring that our province stands on sound footing in terms of leadership and prosperity, both economically and socially,” Minister Rickford added.

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Anishinabek News

Lead Facilitator – Circle Process

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ANISHINABEK NATION “To give a voice to the vision of the Anishinabek Nation and to preserve  Anishinaabe Bimaadziwin while advancing our goal of Nationhood.” Employment Opportunity LEAD FACILITATOR – CIRCLE […]

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Rice will serve as a mentor for program featuring budding Indigenous writers

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By Sam Laskaris SUDBURY – When Anishinabek writer Waubgeshig Rice found out he had a chance to serve as a mentor for young Indigenous writers he jumped at the opportunity. […]

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Inherent rights highlighted at the 8th annual Anishinabek Nation Lands and Resources Forum

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By Kelly Anne Smith NORTH BAY— Concerns of climate change, extreme mining claims, and the health of the Great Lakes were heard over three days at the 8th annual Anishinabek […]

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