Annah Setter, a member of the Whispering Pines Clinton Indian Band who is studying law at the University of Calgary, is one of only 20 recipients (from a pool of close to 800) of the $10,000 per year RBC Indigenous Youth Scholarship. The scholarship is for up to four years.
The annual award, now in its 30th year and recognizing both strong academic performance and community involvement, is designed to help reduce the barriers to post-secondary education and training for Canadian Indigenous youth.
According to the Indigenous Services Canada Quality Education report, only 44 per cent of Indigenous youth (ages 18 to 24) have completed high school, compared to 88 per cent of non-Indigenous.
Setter, who is the daughter of residential school survivors, volunteers as a case worker in the University of Calgary’s student legal assistance department.
“Because of my history, I think I have a greater understanding of people who are vulnerable and my goal is to use my strengths as a lawyer to not only work within my Aboriginal community, but also be a voice for it,” said Setter, who will enter her second year of law school this fall.
“Making the world a better place for my community and in furthering reconciliation requires more Indigenous voices advocating from within the system.”
Wanda Wuttunee, editor-in-chief at the Journal of Aboriginal Economic Development and retired University of Manitoba professor, is on the steering committee for the award.
“Indigenous young people are sometimes faced with roadblocks to success in the education system, so having a program that alleviates financial stress, champions their accomplishments and supports well-being is so important,” said Wuttunee.