Jenine Burns considers Red Earth Cree Nation, located within Treaty 5 Territory, as her home town but she graduated from Oskayak High School in Saskatoon in 2014 and is currently living in Nipawin while she attends post-secondary education. She started the Youth Care Worker program at Cumberland College in 2018 and has to complete her final practicum yet but while finishing the YCW program, Jenine has started on the next stage of her education, taking online classes through the University of Regina. Her eventual goal is to complete her Indigenous Social Work degree through the First Nations University of Canada.
Jenine says the first time she walked on campus at Cumberland College, she felt the College truly cared about the well-being of its Indigenous students. As an Indigenous woman, she felt heard, seen, and respected. The awareness the College brought to Indigenous social issues, such as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the cultural responsiveness displayed on campus encourages and includes everyone in the process of reconciliation. Jenine commends the College staff for bringing such awareness to the campus. Her advice to other students is, “Use your own Indigenous language, beliefs and values to practice exercising your right to education. Ahkamêyimok means do not give up in the face of adversity, keep trying, have perseverance. Your identity as an Indigenous person is important to bring positive social change within society. Knowing who you are will help you be successful in your studies.”
In addition to the cultural awareness evident on campus, Jenine appreciates the friendly and kind atmosphere. She finds this very motivating and it helps her to keep striving towards her goals. The programming she took part in was a great transition to university classes. Jenine appreciates the many resources that helped her be independent – the housing, the daycare and elementary school close to campus, the staff that were helpful (including the instructors, program coordinator, tutor, and those who pointed her in the right direction), the scholarships, and all of the staff who she trusted and who believed she would succeed. Add in the support of East Side LIMB and the Red Earth Cree Nation and she is well on her way to achieving her long-term goals!
The path, however, has not been without bumps. Without secure funding and having limited financial resources, there were periods when Jenine has had to rely on Social Assistance. Not having a vehicle nor any family in town to help, getting to school can be difficult. Jenine is proud that even with those obstacles she was able to get her children to school/daycare so she could get to her classes on time. COVID-19 threw in some extra bumps. Without a regular routine and schedule, Jenine found it more difficult to stay organized. This was coupled with worry about finishing the program. Thankfully, with guidance from her “amazing instructor” and support from the other students, Jenine and her fellow classmates were able to finish their classes during the pandemic. She is happy to report that she now has her driver’s license, a vehicle, and some savings, and equally important, she is independent. She knew education would help her and she did not give up in the face of the adversity that so many Indigenous students experience!
Congratulations Jenine! You have come so far in your education and we wish you all the best in your future educational endeavors. You are an amazing role model for your children and your community.
Please choose your application path based on your residency.
Select this option if you are coming from outside of Canada.
Select this option if you are currently a permanent resident of Canada.
Unsure which option to select? Check out our FAQ centre for support.