Chyna Steele, Bigstone Cree Nation

Chyna is halfway through her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan, majoring in microbiology with a minor in economics.  During her summers, she has been exposed to various aspects of the healthcare field through internships with Bigstone Health Commission.  She has also traveled abroad, spending a month on a pre-med trip to Ecuador.  A role model in her community, she plans to attend medical school with the goal of becoming a pediatric doctor and bringing her medical skills back to her home community of Wabasca.

Claudette Machatis, Cold Lake First Nations

After many year in the workforce, Claudette has recently returned to the Concordia University of Edmonton to complete a degree in Sociology while minoring in both English and Environmental studies.  Facilitating community building is important to Claudette and she hopes to use her education to break down barriers to community development at Cold Lake First Nations by increasing communications with partners as well as provincial and federal governments.

Margaret Martial, Cold Lake First Nations

Margaret is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts Dene Degree at nuhelot’ine thaiyots’I nistameyimakanak Blue Quills University, travelling daily from Cold Lake to St. Paul. Through her studies, she has learned more of her Dene tongue, viewing communication in Indigenous languages as an important part of her culture. While in school, Margaret has written two short books in Dene, which will hopefully be published in the coming year. Going forward, she hopes to encourage children in her community to respect, understand and pursue the learning of Dene in order to understand and preserve their history.

Zoe Quinney, Frog Lake First Nation

Zoe is passionate about the environment, specifically preserving Indigenous sacred land. Through her summers working outdoors in Frog Lake, her appreciation for the outdoors has grown. Entering her first year of post-secondary school, she will be studying environmental studies with a focus on conservation and reclamation at Lakeland College (Vermilion Campus) in order to bring her knowledge back to the community and help keep it environmentally sustainable. Throughout high school, Zoe has participated in her school’s MetoWe program aimed at helping those in need both locally and globally.

About the Spark Award

The Osum Spark Awards are four $5000 scholarships awarded to secondary students, post secondary students or apprentices from Indigenous communities near Osum’s project areas in northern Alberta.

These areas include:

  • Cold Lake First Nations, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Heart Lake First Nation, Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation, Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Kehewin Cree Nation, Frog Lake First Nation, Metis Nation of Alberta Region 2 and Region 5, Elizabeth Metis Settlement, Fishing Lake Metis Settlement, Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement, Kikino Metis Settlement, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Metis Local 1935, Bigstone Cree Nation or Fort McMurray #468 First Nation;

Sometimes all it takes is a small spark to start something big. It’s our hope that this year’s recipients and future Spark Award winners will recognize the incredible potential they have to make a difference in their communities and the world.

Applications for the 2019 Osum Spark Award will open in March 2019.

For more info, please visit: https://www.osumcorp.com/spark/about-the-spark-award/