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Driftpile Cree Nation student earns Rhodes Scholarship

The first ever Canadian First Nations student to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship hails from a community in northern Alberta. 21 year old Billy-Ray Belcourt is a member of the Driftpile Cree Nation, which is about 70 kilometres west of Slave Lake.

He is currently a student at the University of Alberta and has been studying comparative literature. He is also the president of the Aboriginal Student Council at the U of A, is a poet and published author, and has kept a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout his studies.

Rhodes scholarships are awarded to 89 students every year, including 11 Canadians, and allows them to complete their post-graduate studies at the University of Oxford in the UK.

Belcourt says he plans to do his master’s in Women’s Studies and Medical Anthropology, with a focus on the health issues that indigenous people in Canada are currently facing.

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