Second-year law student celebrated for tireless commitment to Indigenous rights

Anita Cardinal-Stewart awarded Women General Counsel Indigenous Scholarship

Sarah Kent - 04 February 2021

Anita Cardinal-Stewart, ‘22 JD, of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law has been feted as the inaugural recipient of the Women General Counsel Indigenous Scholarship Award.

Cardinal-Stewart, who is Nêhiyaw (Cree) and a member of Woodland Cree First Nation, was recognized for her relentless advocacy and commitment to Indigenous communities.

“I've been overwhelmed with gratitude to be the first-ever recipient of this prestigious award,” said Cardinal-Stewart. “It has been one of the highlights of my law school experience, and I look forward to continuing my advocacy for recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights across Turtle Island.”

The Women General Counsel of Canada is an organization invested in supporting women to advance in the legal profession. Its Indigenous Scholarship Award recognizes an Indigenous student who has not only demonstrated their commitment to the organization’s mission but also to the advancement of Indigenous women and/or the principles of Truth and Reconciliation.

In those areas, Cardinal-Stewart has gone above and beyond.

She serves as the Edmonton program leader for Level Justice Indigenous Youth Outreach Program, which provides education and mentorship for Indigenous youth.

Cardinal-Stewart is also the president of the Indigenous Law Student Association at U of A Law. She has been integral to ILSA’s new partnership with Level Justice, enabling law students to connect with local Indigenous communities.

In November, Cardinal-Stewart was elected to represent Indigenous students at law schools across Canada as vice-president First Nations for the National Indigenous Law Students’ Association and as student representative for the Indigenous Bar Association. She was also recently appointed as the new president of NILSA.

Cardinal-Stewart is a writer for the award-winning blog, ReconciliAction YEG, where students are assessing the progress on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action five years on.

“When asked who has inspired me, it was my mother, my nieces and all the other Indigenous women and girls who feel that they are not enough, that their dreams are unachievable,” wrote Cardinal-Stewart in her application.

“I want them to know that they are deserving and have the support to do it. Law school is hard — it is one of the hardest things I have ever done — but it is worth it if I can inspire just one little girl or woman to reach for her dreams no matter how late in life because they deserve it.”