RAVEN - Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs

Meet Young Scholars Essay Prize Winners Helen and Helena!

We’re thrilled to announce winners of this years’ Young Scholars Essay Prize.

First prize is awarded to Helen Knott, Prophet River First Nation. We’ve had the privilege of working with Helen on the Site-C campaign, as she was a strong voice for Treaty 8 on the “Caravan for the Peace” that travelled across Canada from the banks of the Peace River to the Federal Court in Montreal. A brilliant poet, Helen has a must-read decolonizing blog, “Dancing with Decolonization”. Subscribe : https://reclaimthewarrior.com

Read a profile of Helen here: https://nobelwomensinitiative.org/meet-helen-knott-canada/

Excerpt from her paper:

My Asu (Grandmother) has called me Dishinit Sakeh since I was born because I have my Father’s Cree facial features. The name Dishinit Sakeh means “Cree Woman” in the Dane Zaa language and it defines my position as an insider and an outsider in my community, Prophet River First Nations, which is predominantly Dane Zaa. I am also of mixed European ancestry as my maternal Grandfather was a White man from Montana who chose to settle in the territory when he was on his way to Alaska. Although I come from a mixed background, I strongly identify with Dane Zaa ways of being and knowing as I am very close with my maternal family. 

Read Helen Knott’s full essay: https://raventrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/RAVEN_05.pdf


RAVEN’s second prize winner is Helena Arbuckle, of Victoria/Coast Salish Territories.

A student of Political Science, Philosophy and Indigenous Studies at the University of Victoria, Helena has been a vocal activist against Pacific Northwest LNG, Kinder Morgan pipeline, while supporting local food sustainability initiatives.

Excerpt from her paper:

It is important to note that I am writing this paper from the position of a Settler who resides in unceded and unsurrendered W̱ SÁNEĆ, Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations territories. I recognize myself as a Treaty 7 and Douglas Treaty person because the legitimacy of my existence on Tsuut’ina (Treaty 7), and W̱ SÁNEĆ, Songhees and Esquimalt (Douglas Treaty) territories depends on the establishment of ongoing treaty relationships between Indigenous Nations and Settlers. Moreover, I locate myself as a Settler in order to recognize the relationship to where I live as rooted in colonialism. Hence, I am aware of my position of privilege as a beneficiary of settler colonization. It is the resentment and guilt I associate with my privilege that, in part, motivates me to decolonize my mind and encourage Settlers to embark on their own pathway towards decolonization. I am incredibly grateful and fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from Indigenous people inside and outside of the academy. This gift of knowledge has given me many responsibilities, such as acknowledging the territories I am situated on, while simultaneously honoring the peoples to which these territories belong.

Read Helena Arbuckle’s full essay: https://raventrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/RAVEN_09.pdf


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