Karen Batson is recipient of the 2021 RPNF Award of Excellence for Leadership. Chief Batson graduated in 1987 and has always been conscientious and a hard worker. Her leadership, dedication and easy going manner are positive qualities that are admired by others. She currently serves as elected Chief of her Indigenous Community of Pine Creek, Manitoba, where she was raised. Karen has worked tirelessly as leader of a community with many very serious challenges. Strong leadership skills and great courage have been essential assets for Chief Batson as she has navigated a range of challenges while improving the quality of life for her community. Financial self management was restored in the first two years of Chief Batson’s leadership tenure. She aggressively negotiated major highway repairs with the Province, ensuring safe access to her community as well as acquiring federal funding for mental health initiatives such as the planning, development and building of a youth program centre with a multidisciplinary staff, through “Jordan’s Principle”. Additional accomplishments include training, development, and equipment for safety and security needs. Chief Batson also facilitated the reopening of local businesses and services that had previously been closed, ensuring renewed access to a range of goods and services for constituents. Under her leadership, housing expansion of 33 new modular homes, the construction of a multi unit Elders Residence, Arena expansion, and other new building projects for Pine Creek are underway. In addition, 5G internet cable is currently approved and being trenched toward the Community, earmarked as a youth initiative protect for 2021. Formerly, Karen has worked as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatric Nursing at Brandon University (a position being held by Brandon University for her should she decide to return) developing a necessary skill set in forming Indigenous Mental Health Professionals. Karen is an active participant in the Southern Chiefs Organization of Manitoba. In 2018, Karen was a speaker at the United Nations in New York regarding the impoverished conditions of many First Nations people in Canada. In 2019 she received an Award of Recognition in the Manitoba Legislature for leadership in the advancement of Indigenous issues. In 2020 she was an Indigenous Representative to Cuba to explore links and the development of health care initiatives in a Canadian context. Karen is a dedicated and loving wife, mother and grandmother. She has consistently embraced her many challenges with great enthusiasm, devotion and energy. The Nominators note that the above is not an exhaustive list of achievements. Nominated by Daryle Duke and George Olfert.
Congratulations to Joslin Mamuric, recipient of the RPNF’s 2021 Kay Armstrong Scholarship (Manitoba scholarship awarded to a 4th year student with a minimum GPA of 3.0, in the baccalaureate program at Brandon University). Joslin is a 4th-year student in the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing Program at Brandon University. Joslin’s employment and volunteer experiences have provided diverse opportunities to apply Psychiatric Nursing skills. Joslin plans to pursue graduate studies in rural health with a focus on health of the BIPOC population, promoting a more inclusive health care system, reflective of the needs of current society.