Aboriginal grads join push to help peers embrace higher learning

By Louise Brown

She was an Inuit high school dropout living in Iqaluit, near the Arctic Circle. Her English was rusty, and she didn’t know what an essay was.

Little chance Raigelee Alorut would ever graduate from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in aboriginal and Caribbean studies.

But she did — and now jumps to describe how European explorers mistreated both the Inuit and peoples of the Caribbean. She slams Martin Frobisher as the Christopher Columbus of the north.

She’s a convert to higher learning, and she’s just begun. The 51-year-old who now lives in Toronto, teaches Inuktitut and throat-singing while she and her husband care for two grandchildren, has applied to U of T to do a master’s degree in education.

Alorut is one of 13 indigenous Canadians who have gone to university and are highlighted in a public awareness campaign to urge others to defy the odds and do the same. They have made 30-second video pitches in the campaign, to start Tuesday, sponsored by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU)…

Read more in The Toronto Star.

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