The Mary Guilbault Métis Bursary was named in honour of Mrs. Mary Guilbault, a respected Elder in the Métis community and a pivotal player in the creation of the Manitoba Métis Federation. Mary has been actively involved in the development and establishment of organizations for Aboriginal people as well as advocating for Aboriginal students throughout her life.
Mary was born on June 19,1930 in Fisher River, Manitoba to Elijah and Priscilla Bowers. She grew up on the Fisher River First Nation where she spent much of her early childhood years on the land with her parents and grandparents - trapping, hunting and fishing.
In the Fall of 1943, the Indian Agent whisked her away to Residential School, first to Brandon for several years and then on to Birtle where she completed high school. Mary came to realize that education was of utter importance in order to compete with the larger society.
On June 23rd, 1950, soon after departing the Residential School system, Mary Bowers met and married Mr. Ernie Guilbault, who was born and raised in Fannystelle. They settled in Winnipeg and together had five daughters, all of whom have entered the work force well educated and employed in various professional fields, from education to social work.
Mary's contributions to the community include participation in:
- The formation of the Manitoba Métis Federation in 1967 where she sat as a Board of Director with the Education Portfolio until 1974
- The housing study that resulted in the Lord Selkirk Park Housing Development
- An upgrading program that became nationally recognized and adopted by Canada Manpower
- Forming the Court Communicators Program with Judge J. Rice and Judge I. Dubienski
- The establishment of the Prince of Wales / Princess Ann Bursary for Métis students
- The establishment of counselling and tutoring services for the faculties of Nursing, Education and Social Work at Brandon University and the University of Manitoba
- The establishment of satellite universities in Northern Manitoba resulting in Assiniboine College (The Pas) and Keewatin College (Thompson)
- The establishment of the Median Credit Union
- Board of Directors - President - Kinew Housing in 1970's
- Board of Directors - Métis Women's Organization
- Board of Directors - Elizabeth Frye Society of Manitoba
- Board of Directors - The All Nations Traditional Healing Centre Inc.
- Board of Directors - Louis Riel Institute - appointed by the Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy
Mrs. Guilbault continues to provide guidance to a vast number of Aboriginal youth, men and women. In promoting the traditional and cultural values of the ancestors, she says "for me, the revitalization of my culture and traditional identity many years ago has assisted me with issues that have traumatized me in the past. Understanding the wisdom and spirituality of our ancestors brings many benefits into the everyday lives of our people.
The Mary Guilbault Métis Bursary is an award available to Manitoba Métis students who excel in academics and their community. The funds for the award are fundraised by the Board of Directors and staff of the Louis Riel Institute and matched by the Manitoba Métis Federation. Any Métis student enrolled in their second year or more at a post secondary institution in Manitoba may apply. All applicants must have resided in Manitoba for at least 12 months.
Students apply directly to the LRI and the recipient is chosen by the Board of Directors and staff of the LRI.
Students who are interested in applying for the Mary Guilbault Métis Bursary can access the application here. Application due date is October 1st annually.
The award amount for the 2012-2013 school year is $2,000.00.
All applicants are required to provide proof of their Métis heritage by providing a copy of their genealogy or their membership in a Métis nation.
Students who receive the Mary Guilbault Métis Bursary will be notified by mail.