Yahlnaaw/Aaron Grant | Courtesy Peter James, UNBC

University of Northern BC students Amy Blanding and Yahlnaaw/Aaron Grant have been named 3M Student Fellows for 2018. They each earned the honour for their leadership on campus.

Grant earned it for her work exploring how a ‘colonial post-secondary education system does not encompass or appreciate Indigenous knowledges.

“Building relationships, incorporating knowledge, and using community practices especially in regards to language and story revitalization to revive and bring back knowledges and, therefore, aid in community wellbeing,” she explains.

As for Blanding, a knee injury has kept her from performing her usual hip-hop choreography. Instead of letting the situation hinder her, Blanding is using the story to encourage others to think about what some consider to be limitations.

Amy Blanding | Courtesy Peter James, UNBC

Ten students are chosen across Canada each year for the award and Blanding and Grant will meet the other eight winners in Sherbrooke, Quebec, next month to begin a year-long project.

Grant says the overarching theme is community.

“When I work within the community, I’m working with Indigenous children, adults, Elders, building community-oriented practices, programs, anything like that to, for example, revive language, revive culture, revive stories.”

This is the second time two UNBC students have been named 3M Student Fellows in the same year. This first time was in 2012 when Cameron Bell and Selena Demenoff were named in the first year of the award’s existence. Stephanie Wall from UNBC also earned the honour in 2013.