SASKATOON — Through a pledge of $30,000, Henry Remai has established two new STM bursaries and contributed to an endowed chair at the Catholic college at the University of Saskatchewan.
With annual tuition and fees for Arts and Sciences students approaching $6,000. These new bursaries will provide funding for deserving recipients.
The Henry Remai Emergency Student Bursary of $2,000 will provide funding for students who are in acute need of financial support and are at risk of withdrawal from university as a result.
The Henry Remai Aboriginal Student Bursary will provide one to four bursaries ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 to Aboriginal students. Recognizing the value of providing support to first-year students at STM, preference will be given to continuing students who have participated as a mentor in programs for new Aboriginal students.
Remai has also provided funding for the STM Endowed Chair in Indigenous Spirituality and Reconciliation. This chair was established in 2016 by an initial endowment from the Basilian Fathers who founded St. Thomas More College. Remai’s support will encourage and foster awareness and appreciation of indigenous spirituality and advance reconciliation.
Remai attended elementary and high school in Carrot River, Sask., and subsequently earned his BA and BEd degrees at the University of Saskatchewan, going on receive a master’s degree in education from the University of Alberta.
Remai’s career teaching mathematics at Holy Cross High School spanned 26 years. In recognition of his dedication to students and his contributions to mathematics education, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in the area of Mathematics, and the Master Teaching Award from the Saskatchewan Mathematics Society.
“I have very fond memories of the time I spent at St. Thomas More,” says Remai. “The positive Catholic environment was very supporting for a kid from rural Saskatchewan. My most fervent wish is that students will avail themselves of the many resources offered at STM. The fellowship there can lead to life-long friendships.”
STM is grateful for this gift from an alumnus and proud to recognize the support from an accomplished educator whose contributions to students, the community and the province reflect the values STM hopes to instill in its students.
being drunks or says indigenous women are poor moms ask them, ‘Can you explain that to me?’ If you do, you’ve made it safer for an indigenous person to be there.”
Elsie Moar, 71, is a parishioner at St. Kateri and originally from the Skownan First Nation, a Saulteaux community. As a child she felt the effects that residential school had on her mother, a survivor. “She was never happy, and she took it out on us,” Moar said. As the eldest of six, she took care of her siblings when her mother, and her then second husband, would leave the children, “sometimes for days.”
But now she tries to learn what she can about residential schools, in workshops and support groups. Growing up, for her “would have been a lot different without residential schools.”
Christine Cyr is a Cree/Métis woman from Winnipeg and director of the Indigenous Student Centre at the University of Manitoba. She, too, is a child of residential school survivors.
“So much was taken through residential schools and the colonial system,” she said. She tries to recover some of the losses, beginning with continuing to learn her native languages.
“I acknowledge my experience as a child of residential school survivors and I never apologize for my tears. It makes me sad and angry,” Cyr said. “Angry because it has been 25 years of learning and acknowledging my story and that of my community. In so many ways it is both beautiful and horrible.”
She said she and her husband’s parents and both their grandparents are residential school survivors, “and we have been learning about what happened over 500 years. In my family there is a history of abuse and trauma. As grownups we were seven siblings who never hugged, we were raised in a way that it was not acceptable. There has been lots of healing, but there’s still a long way to go.”
Cyr said she does fewer such presentations like these than in the past because of the pain it recreates in her. But she came to this session at the request of Sister Marilyn Gibney, one of the organizers, and one of Cyr’s teachers at St. Mary’s Academy.
To introduce the evening, the pastor at St. Ignatius, Rev. Frank Obrigewitsch, said truth and reconciliation ”happens by getting to know each other better. One can accept and forgive the better one knows the other person.”