Dhillon School of Business introduces graduate scholarship in support of Indigenous students

A new scholarship has been created at the University of Lethbridge’s Dhillon School of Business to honour the Every Child Matters movement.

The Aikimmisa Pookaiksi Graduate Scholarship in Management supports Indigenous students pursuing a master’s degree or other graduate qualification in business, management or governance.

The Dhillon scholarship is named Aikimmisa Pookaiksi (raise up the children).

Dhillon School of Business Dean, E gim mi Nitsitapi (man has a heart for real people or Indigenous people), Dr. Kerry Godfrey, says the creation of the scholarship is intended to help the Dhillon School walk the path of reconciliation and affect positive change through education, as a reflection of the school’s Blackfoot motto, Mokakit, which means ‘practice wisdom, apply your knowledge.’

Godfrey says the idea of a scholarship first came about after the tragic discovery at the Kamloops Residential School and the launch of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. As an educator, he wanted to find a way for post-secondary education to be a contributing force in reconciliation and began to explore the idea with Indigenous Elders and advisors. 

“I wanted to find a way to support the idea of education actually being the “new buffalo” and to honour the principles embodied in the Every Child Matters movement,” says Godfrey

He notes the idea of a graduate scholarship came about as he learned of the lack of funding available to support Indigenous students pursuing graduate education. 

Aikimmisa Pookaiksi (raise up the children), is a Blackfoot term given to the scholarship by Blackfoot Elder Francis First Charger. In creating the scholarship, Godfrey has challenged other university business deans across Canada to create something similar at their schools with names reflective of the many nations and territories where they exist.

A fundraising campaign is currently underway to help build the endowment which will sustain the scholarship in perpetuity. Dhillon School of Business faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as all community members, are invited to donate to the scholarship here.