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Who was Elder Mary Thomas and Recipients #2

Elder Mary Thomas was a highly respected Neskonlith Elder of the Secwepmec (Shuswap) Nation in the Southern Interior of BC. She was an avid environmentalist and a devoted teacher who spent her lifetime educating both the young and old about the need for increased environmental awareness, conservation and preservation. She believed in preserving and promoting traditional practices as a way to heal both the land and its people.

Mary was a pioneer in early learning and child care and championed the importance of the early years in improving the lives of young children. In 2004, the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development awarded its Medal for Exceptional Contributions to Elder Mary Thomas, in recognition of all her outstanding contributions to the field.

The recipient of two honourary degrees (including an honourary doctorate from the University of Victoria in 2000), Elder Mary Thomas shared her knowledge, skills and experience in ways that have made positive and lasting impacts for all Indigenous children. She was a strong and passionate supporter of the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society. In admiration of her lifetime of commitment to the health and well-being of Indigenous children, we have named our ECE scholarship in her honour.

Mary Thomas Memorial Scholarship Recipients

Scholarship for Basic ECE Certificate or Diploma:

2017 – Dion Keitlah, Ahousaht

(North Island College)

2016 – Hazel Quash, Tahltan Nation

(Northwest Community College)

2015 – Natasha Spahan, Coldwater Indian Band

(Nicola Valley Institute of Technology)

2013 – Verginia Johnson, Gitsxan Nation

(College of New Caledonia)

2013 – Mikkaela Slykerman, Chehalis Indian Band

(MTI Community College)

2012 – Carol-Ann Yorke, Ojibway

(Native Education College)

2011 – Shawnee Swayze-Kristan, Siska Indian Band

(Nicola Valley Institute of Technology)

2010 – Caroline Chandler, Squamish Nation

(Native Education College)

2009 – Jocelyn Martin, Gitxan (College of New Caledonia)

Sandy Wells, Lil’wat Nation (Native Education College)

NOTE: In 2008 there were no eligible applicants for the Basic ECE scholarship, so 2008 funds were carried forward and BCACCS awarded two Basic ECE Scholarships for the 2009 scholarship cycle only. In 2014 there were no eligible applicants for the Basic ECE scholarship, so funds were directed toward a second scholarship for the Post-Basic designation.

Scholarship for Post-Basic ECE Certificate or Diploma:

2017 – Jeanine Petel, Bonaparte

(Native Education College)

2016 – Jennifer Carman, Skawahlook First Nation

(University of the Fraser Valley)

2015 – Jennine Adams, Métis Nation British Columbia

(Northern Lights College)

2014 – Autumn Hood, Tsleil Waututh Nation

(Native Education College)

2014 – Natasha Nelson, Tsawataineuk

(Camosun College)

2013 – Mary Joseph, Squamish First Nation

(Native Education College)

2012 – Michelle Pierre, Katzie First Nation

(Douglas College)

2011 – Caroline Chandler, Squamish Nation

(Native Education College)

2010 – Edna Dennis, Okanagan/Kaska

(Northern Lights College)

2009 – Annette Vivier, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

(North Island College)

2008 – Holly Viksush, KwanlinDun Nation

(Camosun College & College of the Rockies)

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