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Award-winning Camosun student recognized for leading Indigenous peers

Sixties Scoop survivor Katie Manomie well known for supporting classmates
Camosun College student Katie Manomie is the recipient of the 2021 B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Award for inclusion, democracy and reconciliation. (Photo courtesy Camosun College)

A Sixties Scoop survivor and Camosun student is the recipient of the B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s inclusion, democracy and reconciliation award.

Katie Manomie was honoured for “contributing to the life of her institution” and promoting the values of the award’s name.

“I feel a great sense of honour and responsibility to receive this award,” Manomie, said in a release. “I am incredibly grateful to all of the instructors, advisors and my classmates from Camosun. I have learned a great deal from each one of these important Indigenous people.”

During the Sixties Scoop, which saw Indigenous children removed from their communities and adopted into mostly non-Indigenous families in the 1960s, Manomie, an Inuk woman born in Iqaluit, was raised by a non-Indigenous mother in the traditional territory of the T’Souke Nation.

“I was never taught about my Inuk/Indigenous heritage beyond what I learned in the public-school system,” she said. “In high school, I experienced a lot of racism, had a hard time attending, and started to abuse drugs and alcohol. I also experienced homelessness, which ultimately affected my ability to finish high school.”

Manomie enrolled in the Indigenous Family Support program at Camosun in 2020, having taken a pledge of sobriety the previous year and completed her adult basic education certificate in 2014 at Vancouver’s Native Education College – a time when she was named Elected Chief.

She plans to sign up for Camosun’s Indigenous Studies diploma program next fall and looks forward to “learning how to decolonize my worldviews, how to walk in both worlds, and how to advocate for my people,” she said. “I have been able to live my true, authentic self since I started at Camosun, and I am finally able to learn Indigenous ways of life. Nakurmiik! (Thank you in Inuktitut).”

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In her first semester at Camosun in 2020, Manomie received an Inspire Award and the college’s Spirit Award for students in the Indigenous Family Support program. Her peers nicknamed her “the auntie” of the program for her frequent help of classmates.

Camosun president Sherri Bell congratulated Manomie for her personal accomplishments, perseverance, and contributions to her classmates and program. “We wish her all the best as she continues on to the next step of her educational journey,” Bell said in the release.

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