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Focus and drive motivate student. (Education & Training).

Growing up in northern Saskatchewan has its challenges and rewards for post-secondary students attending universities across this country. One of these students is 23-year-old Dawn Cheecham from Clearwater River Dene Nation, the daughter of Chief Roy Cheecham and Delores Cheecham.

After high school in 1997 in her community of La Loche, her dream. Was to enter law school. From there she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan and was soon accepted into the university's Native law program.

"Adjusting to my first year of university was challenging because I grew up in a fairly remote community in northern Saskatchewan, said Dawn. "Most of the school population was approximately 98 per cent Aboriginal versus almost being the only Aboriginal women in most of my undergrad classes. All that said, I would recommend the Native law program to any Aboriginal person. Not only do you learn the required tools that. will guide one through law school, but also getting the opportunity to meet other Aboriginal people from across Canada. Eventually, some of these students become part of one's support system, which becomes an enriching experience."

Today, Dawn finds herself completing half her third year at the University of Victoria, faculty of law summer program. This program will help her complete her law degree sooner than she anticipated. Dawn will be back this fall to complete the rest of her third year law degree requirements by the end of December.

Dawn maintains an excellent academic record with a lot of studying and staying focused on her goals.

She received the Lieutenant Governor's Award of Excellence in 1992. 1994, 1996 and 1997, as well as the, Lieutenant Governor's Student Award in 1993 and 1997.

In 1997, she also received the Saskatchewan General Proficiency Award, the SaskPower Northern Enterprise Fund Scholarship, Foundation for the Advancement of Aboriginal Youth Scholarship and the Gabriel Dumont Institute Bursary.

In 1999, Dawn was awarded the Cogema Delta Catalytic Co. Scholarship for Northern Residents. She received the Department of Justice Canada Bursary for the Legal Studies Program for Aboriginal Peoples in 2000 and 2001. She is also a member of the Golden Key National Honour Society that recognizes academic excellence.

There are many rewards for an Aboriginal student who sets his or her priorities and goals.

"The scholarships and bursaries I received throughout my years of education were invaluable," said Dawn. "In a time when increased enrollment arid tuition fees continue reaching new heights, any amount of financial assistance goes a long way. There, was one particular scholarship that is important to me. The SaskPower Northern Spirit Scholarship deserves great appreciation. They can certainly take credit for putting the first Dene woman from Clearwater River Dene Nation through law school. In addition, due to the competitive nature of scholarships, I am always grateful to have been chosen as a recipient."
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Title Annotation:Dawn Cheecham
Author:Henderson, Eldon
Publication:Wind Speaker
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
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