The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) is pleased to announce that Lauren Wallingham, a member of the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun (Wolf Clan) and a student in the Master of Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas program, has been awarded a 2021 USask Indigenous Achievement Award in Academic Excellence.
Lauren received her award during this year’s virtual Indigenous Student Achievement Awards Ceremony, held on February 4 during Indigenous Achievement Week. This annual weeklong event celebrates the successes and contributions of Métis, First Nations and Inuit students, staff, faculty and alumni. The theme of this year’s event is nīkānihk itohtētān, walking together into the future.
“I have had the honour of instructing Lauren in two classes. In each, she demonstrated a thirst for knowledge, a pride in her community, and a humility and desire to share and connect with fellow students,” says Dr. Kurtis Boyer, JSGS Lecturer. “Lauren is one of JSGS’ top academic performers.”
A First Nations Education Advocate at the Yukon First Nations Education Directorate, Lauren has a zeal for taking what she learns at JSGS and applying it to make positive changes in her community. Her thesis focuses on mapping the common priorities that Yukon First Nations share in the pursuit of regaining control over their children’s education.
“Yukon has emerged as an example of the benefits associated with First Nations control of education,” says Dr. Ken Coates (PhD), Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation and JSGS professor. “The First Nations and the territory have been creative and determined in improving the educational system to better suit Indigenous needs.”
Lauren could not agree more. Her overarching goal is to honour the unique vision of each First Nation, while at the same time identifying opportunities for capacity and resource sharing, so that First Nations have a greater ability to exercise self-determination over education in the territory. For more on her research, click here.
“We are extremely proud of Lauren,” says Murray Fulton, Director, JSGS USask campus. “Her dedication to her studies and to supporting her community’s educational needs is unwavering and truly worthy of this award.”
In addition to Lauren, the University of Saskatchewan honoured 40 Indigenous students for their academic achievement, leadership, research, resiliency and community engagement. Click here for a complete list of Indigenous Student Achievement Award recipients.