University of Winnipeg | 50 Years Search

Mary Young

Alumna, Indigenous Advocate, Education Promoter, Faculty Member

Mary Young

Mary Young

Helping Indigenous youth succeed at UWinnipeg

A reconciliation pioneer, the late Mary Young, an Anishinabe Kwe from Bloodvein First Nation, was an inspirational mentor and strong advocate that worked diligently to reconnect many young Aboriginal people with their home communities, culture, and languages.

She worked tirelessly helping others heal the residential school experience, combating racism and discrimination, incorporating the wisdom of Elders into modern society, and ensuring the survival of Aboriginal languages.

As a residential school survivor, Young experienced the tragedy of being separated from her family and racial stereotyping first-hand. This experience instilled in her a drive to overcome adversity with the desire to help others overcome the same pain.

She was a diligent warrior in making her community a better place while educating those around her about the needs required in helping Aboriginal young people succeed at university. 

Young believed in the power of education. This is reflected in her pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Winnipeg, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Education and a Masters in Education from the University of Manitoba, and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Alberta.

Young began teaching at UWinnipeg in 1984 and served in many roles including Native Student Advisor/Counselor; and she was a tenured Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education.

One of her notable achievements is the creation of the UWinnipeg Aboriginal Student Services Centre (ASSC), which she served as the inaugural director. ASSC was created to maintain a safe, educational and culturally sensitive environment for all Aboriginal students (First Nation, Métis and Inuit) as they pursue their academic studies at the University. This centre has left an indelible mark on the lives of students and is an asset to UWinnipeg.

In addition to her teaching, Young served on several community boards and on the UWinnipeg Task Force Committee that initiated an Elder in Residence Program and named the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre.

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