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Three NW scholars earn SIGA awards

Staff

newsoptimist.ca

Three students from Northwest First Nation communities are among recipients of Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority 2013 of the SIGA First Nations Scholarship Awards.

Max FineDay of Sweet Grass First Nation, Kevin Littlewolf of Onion Lake First Nation and Jarrod MacDonald of Muskeg Lake Cree Nation have earned a share of $30,000 awarded by SIGA to First Nations students in Saskatchewan to assist them in their educational pursuits.

FineDay (political studies, University of Saskatchewan) plans to be working in the areas of cultural retention, learning Cree language, stories, ceremonies, customs and traditional values in an effort to save what his community has contributed to Cree society and pass it on to future generations. According to a SIGA press release, he plans to attend law school and complete an undergraduate degree along with a masters of law. He would like to advocate for change in the way the government deals with First Nations lands and resources, which he says would allow for better economic development and healthier communities.

After completing a business administration diploma through SIIT, Littlewolfe says he is interested in continuing his education and attending the University of Lethbridge. His long-term goal is to return to his employment with SIGA. According to SIGA, Littlewolfe is a strong believer that it is never too late to achieve one’s dreams. At the University of Lethbridge he plans to achieve a business administration degree and following that to earn an MBA.

MacDonald (B.Sc. biological, biomedical and life sciences, McGill University) says he believes that science is an area of study that will open up opportunities for him in the future. According to SIGA, he believes it can lead him into a variety of other areas to study as well such as medicine for a post-graduate degree. He remains connected to his home community and strives to find balance in personal, social, mental and physical aspects of his life.

“The SIGA First Nations Scholarships Awards program provides opportunities to encourage education and continued learning. It also helps students successfully achieve career goals within SIGA and the broader community,” says Zane Hansen, president and CEO, SIGA.

“SIGA developed the scholarship program to address fields where recruiting has traditionally been a challenge”.

For the 2013-14 academic year, two $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to students in information technology, commerce, hospitality and tourism management and or to students pursuing a masters or PhD in any field. In addition, two $2,500 scholarships will be awarded to students studying communication or electronics and 15 $1,000 scholarships will awarded to eligible students in any other field.

Pat Cook, vice-president of corporate affairs with SIGA, is pleased with the number of quality applicants that have applied this year.

“In previous years we’ve awarded $25,000 annually. We’ve increased this amount to $30,000 in response to the record number of applicants and quality candidates for our scholarship program. It’s exciting to see many passionate First Nations students seeking quality educational opportunities to enhance their own lives and communities. SIGA is proud to contribute to these candidates’ educational goals,” says Cook.

Application forms for the 2014 year will be available on the SIGA website in June 1, 2014.

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