UPEI education students win scholarship for work on Truth and Reconciliation

UPEI Mi'kmaw elder-in-residence Judy Clark, left, with Straight Arrow Awards recipients Will Abbott and Nicole Lodge, and Jasmine Pauze, the Mawi 'Omi co-ordinator at UPEI. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)
UPEI Mi'kmaw elder-in-residence Judy Clark, left, with Straight Arrow Awards recipients Will Abbott and Nicole Lodge, and Jasmine Pauze, the Mawi 'Omi co-ordinator at UPEI. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)

The University of Prince Edward Island announced the winners of its Truth and Reconciliation Awards on Tuesday.

One Indigenous student and one ally were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship as part of the university's inaugural Straight Arrow Awards.

The awards focus on how students are upholding one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action.

Jasmine Pauze, the Mawi 'Omi co-ordinator at UPEI, said the awards illustrate and encourage collaboration between two different perspectives.

"It's more important to focus on the potential that builds relationships than on the differences between world views, and I think this award really helps to capture that."

The recipients, Nicole Lodge and Will Abbott, are both studying education at UPEI.

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

Lodge is a member of the Métis nation British Columbia. Last summer she created a book in Michif — one of the national languages of Métis — with the help of an elder .

"I just want to be able to give back and have that opportunity for any younger Indigenous children that may be struggling with their identity of their culture to have kind of a resource to kind of jump-start that or initiating that spark if kind of wanting to learn more"

Abbott, from Chippewa, Ont., said he is determined to teach students about Truth and Reconciliation.

"You drive the change. You start at the foundation ... if kids don't know anything about it, nothing's going to change. You need to start at the lowest, get the knowledge to them to move anything forward so that's where it starts. Knowledge starts in the classroom."