Danielle Harrison always knew she would go back to school to earn her master’s degree – and she is now in the process of achieving her academic goals with a little help from University Canada West’s Emily Baker Scholarship.

The scholarship was established in 2015 to honour Squamish elder and advocate Emily Baker and guarantees a full scholarship for an Indigenous MBA student every year.

Harrison, who has a background in business administration and human resources, is the second recipient of the scholarship.

“Winning the Emily Baker Scholarship has been an immense joy,” she said. “MBA programs are expensive and receiving this scholarship has allowed me to focus on my studies without worrying about finances. It also makes me proud to be recognized with this scholarship.”

Harrison’s grandmother came from Delaware Nation at Moraviantown, which is in Chatham-Kent, Ontario. She was adopted out of the community when she was young but reconnected with the community when she got older and was able to learn more about her mother.

“We’ve been going to powwows on the reservation for the past 20 years and have been able to reconnect with that part of our family,” Harrison said.

Harrison, who hails from Windsor, Ontario, has a degree in Political Science, as well as a diploma in Business Administration-Human Resources. She has been working as an HR Generalist/Health and Safety Specialist for a municipal government for the last five years, and said she decided to pursue her MBA to set herself up to be able to take on management and director roles in the future.

“I’ve always loved learning and I enjoy having new goals to reach,” she said.

Harrison also hopes to use the skills and knowledge she gains at UCW to help a local First Nation.

“I work in Leamington, Ontario and the Caldwell First Nation had their land taken from them hundreds of years ago. They were finally able to establish a reserve in Leamington in 2020,” she said.

“I would love to use what I learn in school to be able to assist them in organizing and managing the business and governmental aspects of setting up and governing a new reserve.”

Harrison, who wanted to continue working full time while earning her degree, said she’s enjoying the flexibility of UCW’s Online MBA program.

“I have enjoyed meeting new people in my courses and there are many resources available to help students succeed,” she said. “I especially enjoyed the Learning4Success workshops that give students the chance to gain the knowledge necessary to do well in their programs.”

Emily Baker, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 104, was a Squamish Nation Elder and the widow of late Squamish Chief Simon Baker (known traditionally as Khot-La-Cha or ‘Man with a Kind Heart’).

Baker was a strident advocate for equal rights for Indigenous students. She fought for years so that her children could attend Canadian public school and, after two years of negotiations, her daughters became the first Indigenous children to attend public school in Canada.

Published on Oct. 27, 2021.