Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America

December 16, 2000 - Issue 25


University of Alberta Gift to Recruit More Native Students

by Allen Chambers Edmonton Journal

 artwork by Donald Morriseau Children Seek to Learn and Understand

A $500,000 endowment to attract aboriginal students to the University of Alberta will be unveiled today by Canative Housing Corporation, an innovative non-profit company that provides housing for native residents in Edmonton.

"It's an investment in people," Herb Belcourt, chief executive officer of Canative, said in an interview Monday.

"It's important that we make this type of investment.

We must encourage education."

A cheque for that amount will be presented to University of Alberta officials, including president Rod Fraser, at a ceremony at the university this afternoon.

Interest from the endowment will be matched by the university for two years, providing an ongoing source of funds to recruit aboriginal students and to do work in community relations.

The program will enable the university to develop some new programs as well, said Lewis Cardinal, director of the office of native student services.

One program might involve aboriginal student exchanges with universities in Chile and Hawaii, both of which are seeking ties with the U of A.

Cardinal said the Canative grant is the largest the U of A has received from an aboriginal source and may be the largest such grant any Canadian university has received.

"We're very proud of that," he said.

Canative was created about 30 years ago to supply badly-needed housing for aboriginal residents of Edmonton. Over the years, it has also provided day-care services and classes in urban life skills. It currently maintains about 140 houses for rental, doesn't accept government subsidies and is debt-free, said Belcourt.

He, cousin Orval Belcourt and city lawyer Georges Brosseau were the founders and are still involved in Canative's operations.

Herb Belcourt said the endowment to the U of A, which will exist in perpetuity, "will make a tremendous difference in the lives of Metis and other aboriginal students" at the university.

"Investing in education is the route to go," he added.

University of Alberta



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