‘It means a lot’: Muskoday Grade 12 student honoured to receive RBC Indigenous Youth Scholarship

Lily Bair, a Grade 12 student from Muskoday First Nation has been named one of only 20 recipients of this year's $10,000 per year (up to four years) RBC Future Launch Indigenous Youth Scholarship.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis students from across Canada were considered for the annual award, which recognizes both strong academic performance and community involvement. Blair said it was difficult to describe how winning the scholarship made her feel.

“It's kind of a big deal,” she said. “I don't know. It means a lot.”

Bair explained that she applied for the scholarship

Bair lives on Muskoday but commutes each day to Kinistino School. That makes for a 30 minute drive every day, one way.

Blair said her life has been a bit of a challenge. Her dad and mom both passed away in 2021 when she was 14.

Bair is passionate about participating in and maintaining the traditions of her community. She said in a press release that her participation in community ceremonies and traditions not only demonstrates the pride she has in her culture, but also shows determination to keep expressing her identity in the face of difficulties.

"I feel like it's important to be involved in your culture and everything,” she said.

The Future Launch Indigenous Youth Scholarship is designed to help reduce the barriers to post-secondary education and training for Indigenous youth. Recipients will also gain access to mentorship, academic and career planning, tutoring, work experience or networking opportunities.

According to Statistics Canada, non-Indigenous youth were nearly twice as likely (72 per cent) to have completed or recently attended a postsecondary program compared to Indigenous youth (37 per cent). Based on the recent report from RBC and Culture Foundry, Untapped Potential in Canada, scholarships provide key support to students by covering costs and lessening the barriers to education.

Once she completes high school, Lily has plans to use the scholarship to attend the University of Saskatchewan’s Nursing program with the hopes of one day becoming a registered nurse.

Bair has been conditionally accepted to study Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan

“I will take my first year of arts and science and then get my Bachelor of Nursing,” she said.

“I am extremely thankful for family and teachers who have supported me throughout my journey and thank RBC for offering me this scholarship.

“After I finish my Bachelor’s, I want to find a good registered nursing job that I know I am going to love, whether it’s in a hospital or care home. My top priority after university is to be a registered nurse and one day advance to labour and delivery, as I have always dreamt of working with babies.”

michael.oleksyn@paherald.sk.ca


Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald