Education advocate Carole Sanderson inducted into Women’s Hall of Fame

Jason Kerr
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After receiving numerous provincial and national honours, including the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and the Order of Canada, Carole Sanderson was inducted into the Prince Albert Women’s Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Dawn Robins speaks at the Prince Albert Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony in honour of her mother, Carole Sanderson. 

The education advocate died last August, but her efforts are still being felt across Canada.

“Carole was a true epitome of not having to be elected to be a leader, because she led by example,” FSIN vice-chief Dutch Lerat said in a speech during the ceremony.  “We’re still witnessing that now, not only in Saskatchewan but across the country.”

During her lifetime Sanderson was an important member in establishing the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre, the First Nations University of Canada and the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology.

She graduated in 1960 with a degree in education, become on of the first indigenous post-secondary graduates in the province.

“She was a real model for education, and that’s what I put on her trophy,” Prince Albert Council of Women president Marie Mathers said.  “That was her motto.  She always tried to get people to go for education.  It didn’t matter how young or how old you were.  Keep getting educated, and it shows in her children.”

Sanderson’s daughter, Dawn Robins, accepted the award on her mother’s behalf.  During the acceptance speech Robins recalled how her mom would frequently turn down major awards, only to accept them later in tribute to the people she worked with.

“I really appreciate the Council of Women acknowledging her, even though she probably wouldn’t have excepted it,” she said with a chuckle.  “On behalf of my mother and the people that worked with her in the background, I’m honoured to accept the award.”

For many attendees, Sunday’s ceremony was not just a chance to honour someone worthy of recognition.  It was also a chance for the younger generation to see who had gone before them

Bianca Sanderson, one of Carole’s many grandchildren, said the ceremony made her proud to be a relative.

“She is my inspiration and someone I always found strength in.  I’m very proud she’s my grandmother.”

Bianca said her grandmother was responsible for convincing her to go back to university and finish her degree.  She graduates this year.

“When I was growing up she taught me education was very important,” Bianca said.

For Sanderson’s family, the occasion provided a mix of emotion.  Robins said it was an emotional day for them, but they’re still very happy.

“In celebrating with my children and my grandchildren and just getting that little part of history and missing mom at the same time, as we just lost her in August, it’s been a very humble occasion for us.”

Organizations: First Nations University of Canada, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology, Prince Albert Council of Women

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Canada, Prince Albert

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