June is National Indigenous History Month. It is a time for all Canadians — Indigenous, non-Indigenous and newcomers — to reflect upon and learn the history, sacrifices, cultures, contributions, and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people. Throughout the month of June, CityNews will profile Indigenous people, and share their stories and voices, so that we can celebrate the difference they have made in their communities and to our country.
June 7: Today, we celebrate Roberta Jamieson
Roberta Jamieson is a Mohawk woman from Six Nations of the Grand River in Ohsweken, Ontario. She was the first Indigenous woman to graduate from law school. Jamieson is also a dedicated First Nations advocate. She was the first woman Ombudsman of Ontario and the first woman elected as Chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.
Jamieson is now the President and CEO of Indspire, a charity that provides financial support to Indigenous students. Since 2004, Indspire has distributed $132-millon through more then 42,500 bursaries across Canada. Jamieson is proud of the 90 per cent graduation rate.
“These students are overcoming incredible challenges and they are going to enrich us all with their contributions,” Jamieson explains.
The Indspire awards is an annual broadcast event created to recognize youth achievement across Canada on National Indigenous People’s Day on June 21st.
“The Indspire Awards celebrate and honour First Nations, Inuit, and Métis individuals who are not only having a profound impact on their communities and the country, but who also serve as positive role models for Indigenous youth,” explained Jamieson.
In 2018, Indspire and imagineNATIVE announced the creation of the Roberta L. Jamieson bursary for Indigenous film studies students.
“Media images contribute greatly to how we think about ourselves and how others in society view us. It is imperative that as Indigenous people, we control our own narrative and the images we project,” said Jamieson about the bursary.
In addition to her work at Indspire, Jamieson has received 27 honorary degrees, earned numerous awards and is an Officer of the Order of Canada over her career.
Jamieson knows the power of her Mohawk traditional values and her legal training and she feels a deep obligation to work on behalf of her community.
Roberta Jamieson continues to be a trailblazer and a role model to Indigenous people across Canada.
Click here to learn more about Roberta Jamieson and the work Indspire is doing.