Hubley highlights exceptional young Islanders: Jenna Burke

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Honourable senators,

Today I have the pleasure of rising to tell you about an exceptional young Islander who is using her skills and time to give back to her home province.  Jenna Burke is a fourth-year political science student at the University of Prince Edward Island and will graduate in May of this year. Throughout her time at UPEI, Jenna has been instrumental in raising awareness of Indigenous issues and promoting Indigenous inclusion on campus.

Jenna has been immersed in her Indigenous culture from an early age and has carried her passion to share it with others in everything she puts her hand to.  She started volunteering at an early age with her off-reserve Indigenous organization, the Native Council of PEI, in numerous ways.

After receiving her Child and Youth Care Diploma from Holland College in 2006, Jenna created and led a successful youth program at the Native Council of PEI for six years before moving to Ottawa to work at the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples as the National Youth Policy Coordinator. Her greatest accomplishment there was the creation and overseeing the Find Your Voice youth program, which taught and promoted civic engagement to Aboriginal youth.

As a student at UPEI, Jenna volunteered at the Mawi’omi Aboriginal Student Centre on campus, serving as a mentor for Aboriginal students and organized numerous events on campus.

As well as maintaining her busy university schedule, Jenna volunteered as the lead organizer in a Mass Blanket Exercise in Charlottetown, held in May of 2016. This event brought together over 30 volunteers and 100 participants to the front lawn of the provincial legislature to tell the story of Canada through an Indigenous perspective. The exercise was held to honour the one-year anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. It was a huge success, bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples from across the Maritimes provinces.

A passionate advocate for all Indigenous peoples, Jenna has been accepted in the Master of Indigenous Governance program at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. In fact, she was one of the top three candidates chosen for the program! Congratulations, Jenna, on this great accomplishment! Thank you for your ongoing investment in the Indigenous and Island community.

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