Good Medicine: Congratulations to the 2020 First Nations Graduates throughout BC!



School's out for summer in BC, and First Nations youth graduating from high school should feel proud! Not only did you adjust to the months of online learning and not being able to take classes with your friends as usual, you continued to thrive and be resilient despite the unprecedented circumstances caused by the pandemic. Congratulations to each one of you!

Celebrations will not be the same as previous years, but we hope you and your families will find alternative ways to honour you for your achievement! Collectively, First Nations youth in BC have a lot to celebrate: you are all continuing to excel in education and graduation rates are continuing to rise. Last year, Indigenous graduation rates in BC were the highest they have ever been! We applaud your good work as you continue to walk your unique paths to wellness.

We know that there are many different paths to creating a meaningful and successful life, and that early learning and education can be an important step along these paths. Education can help promote health literacy and better understandings of the contexts in which our wellness is shaped as stated in the FNHA Policy on Mental Health and Wellness. We asked Dr. Nel Wieman, Canada's first female Indigenous psychiatrist, to share a bit about her educational journey with you. This is what she told us:

​​“I struggled a bit to find my path in education – it wasn't until I was in my second year at university that I built up enough self-esteem to realize I could do well. No one in my family had even finished high school and there weren't many role models. My advice to you?  Find a mentor or follow people you look up to – we have so many inspiring First Nations people of all ages, in all professions. Check out the Indspire website to read about some of them. There is nothing better than being a valuable, contributing member of your community -- and you can become one!"

For those interested in pursuing post-secondary education and/or looking for summer work, there is help available. Check out the summer jobs options, educational grants and bursaries below.​The FNHA also has a youth advisory committee who are passionate about promoting mental wellness, interested in forging lasting relationships with peers, and ready to help steer the FNHA's youth-focused policies and programming. Members receive honorariums for their work in community and on the committee. Apply today! We look forward to hearing from you.

Check out information on financial assistance if you need help finding a summer job

 New Relationship Trust Scholarships and Bursaries provide awards for BC First Nations Students from the diploma to the doctoral level of studies.

 Irving K. Barber Indigenous Awards are open to all Indigenous students. Award amounts range from $1,000 to $5,000.

 The First Citizens Fund provides financial assistance to Indigenous students enrolled in post-secondary education programs. Funding ranges from $700 to $2,000.

 Indspire Bursaries and Scholarships are available for Indigenous students across Canada in all areas of study, from trades to health careers.

 Government of Canada's Job Bank website is a resource to check out new Canada Summer Jobs program - thousands of cool opportunities

 Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19 this summer 

Did you know that most universities and colleges in BC have an Indigenous liaison to help you if you want to enroll in classes? Remember to contact your liaison and post education institution.

Congratulations to the First Nations graduates of 2020 and to all those who have struggled through adversity and continue to thrive in these unprecedented times! We are proud of your bravery, sacrifice and leadership and look forward to seeing what your future holds!

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