Sahtu education scholarship launched in George Cleary’s name

A new scholarship fund is being launched in memory of George Cleary, a Sahtu-born education advocate who was instrumental in developing language and cultural programs for NWT schools.

The Yellowknife Community Foundation said the George Cleary Memorial Scholarship Fund, created by the Cleary family, will “encourage Indigenous residents and Sahtu beneficiaries to pursue post-secondary or trades educations, giving them the opportunity to help their communities grow and prosper.”

The value of the scholarship was not immediately identified. Applicants for its first year, who must be Sahtu beneficiaries of the NWT pursuing post-secondary or trades education, have until July 1 to apply. The deadline in future years will be May 15.


Alongside his work in education, where Cleary served as a teacher and principal in Délı̨nę, he was also said by the foundation to have played “a critical role” in the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement before becoming a director for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

“In every role that George was in, whether it be a survivor of residential schools, administrator, or in leadership roles, George always made the effort to turn his experience into a positive learning opportunity. George’s determination propelled him past obstacles, but he was never one to seek the limelight or to self-benefit,” the foundation said in a news release.

The Cleary family said they were “very pleased to support the launch of this new scholarship in his name to encourage others and acknowledge his legacy.”