Métis students pursuing post-secondary education in the health sector have reason to celebrate with the signing of a partnership agreement between Saskatoon Health Region and the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI).

Saskatoon Health Region Vice President of People Strategies Bonnie Blakley and by Vice Chair of the GDI Board of Governors Glenn Lafleur sign the partnership. The scholarship is directed towards Métis students pursuing health careers in: hard to recruit areas, management, therapies, science and technology, nursing, social and community work and applicants interested working in rural communities.

The partnership, which provides 17 $1,000 scholarships annually, was officially signed by Region Vice President of People Strategies Bonnie Blakley, and by Vice Chair of the GDI Board of Governors Glenn Lafleur on Wednesday June 29 at the Saskatoon Indian and Métis Friendship Centre

“We are very happy to partner with GDI on this worthwhile initiative,” says Blakley. “It benefits the Region and the province to have a workforce that represents the community we serve. These scholarships are just one facet of our overall Aboriginal Health Strategy and our commitment to improving the health and well-being of First Nations and Métis individuals in our community.”

“On a personal note, I remember how important scholarships were for me when I was studying at university, and the sense of pride it gave me when I was awarded one,” she adds. “Scholarships help students buy food and books, and I know from experience, every bit helps.”

Dubbed the Gabriel Dumont Scholarship Foundation II Scholarship Fund, it will be administered by GDI and recipients will be chosen by the Trustees Committee. Students who apply for the award don’t have to be attending GDI; if they are studying at any accredited postsecondary institution and are in a health related field, they are eligible.

“This is an important day for GDI and Aboriginal peoples,” says GDI Vice Chair Glenn Lafleur. “As Saskatchewan’s economy gets stronger and the Aboriginal population grows these new initiatives will create more opportunities for Aboriginal peoples to gain the necessary skills for employment.”

The Region and GDI are each donating $10,000 a year for the duration of the four year pilot. There are eligibility requirements including being self-declared a Métis person, a resident of Saskatchewan and enrolled as a full-time student in their course of study with graduation expected within 12 months of applying.