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Three Haida Gwaii students earn Irving K. Barber Indigenous Student Awards

More than 600 Indigenous B.C. students shared $1.8 million in awards from scholarship society
Irving Kearl “Ike” Barber (Feb. 14, 1923 – April 13, 2012) was a Canadian forest industrialist and philanthropist.

More than 600 Indigenous students across B.C. shared $1.8 million in awards from the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society.

The society provides scholarships and awards to students attending public post-secondary institutions throughout the province and internationally.

The society’s Indigenous Student Awards program is funded from the returns on a $10 million endowment fund established by the province in 2007, and subsequent grants totaling over $9 million made by the province to enhance and expand the fund over the past ten years.

The Indigenous Student Awards were created to assist in removing barriers to higher education for Indigenous peoples. Awards of $1,000 to $5,000 each are issued every year through a competitive process to students studying at all post-secondary levels, from trades training to doctoral programs.

Three of the recipients are from Haida Gwaii with several others from surrounding regions such as Kitkatla, Lax Kw’alaams, Bella Bella and Prince Rupert.

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Haida Gwaii (Old Masset)

Vanessa Fladmark, University of BC


Haida Gwaii

Annika Martynuik (Queen Charlotte), Vancouver Island University

Melinda Pick (Skidegate), University of Northern BC

“I am thrilled that so many Indigenous students are following their dreams and achieving personal and professional success through post-secondary education,” said Melanie Mark, minister for Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

“Government is committed to true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, including removing barriers to higher education and creating pathways to success.”

The Indigenous population in British Columbia is growing at more than triple the rate of the non-Indigenous population, with nearly 45 per cent under the age of 25.

“These very flexible awards support a comprehensive list of educational options and have allowed thousands of students to pursue studies that align with their personal career goals,” said the society’s newly-appointed chair, Shirley Kamerling-Roberts.

Since the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society’s inception, nearly $20 million has been distributed to B.C. students through its six scholarship and award programs.

The Victoria Foundation provides administrative support to the society.

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Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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