LIVING

Roberta Jamieson, First Nations Activist, Shares Her Story On MAKERS

11/16/2015 12:01 EST | Updated 11/16/2015 12:59 EST

Canadian lawyer and First Nations activist, Roberta Jamieson understood the power of education from a young age.

As a Mohawk girl growing up in the Six Nations of the Grand River territory in Ontario, she witnessed many of her friends dropping out of school.

"Trust me, when you're sitting in a classroom learning from a book about people you could not remotely relate to -- we know these are foreign ideas; they don't reflect our community," she explains in an interview with MAKERS. "So when you don't have your identity validated, it's easy to check out."

Nevertheless, Jamieson says she knew her people were capable of anything they set their minds to, and she was determined to prove it. In 1976, she became the first First Nations woman to earn a law degree in Canada. She went on to become the first woman appointed Ombudsman of Ontario, and the first woman elected Chief of Six Nations.

Now, as President and CEO of Indspire, she's fighting for education equality for Indigenous youth.

"In Canada, in 2015, the reality is that only four out of 10 of our children will graduate from high school," Jamieson tells MAKERS. "Other Canadian children -- at least eight out of 10. For post secondary, again, at most eight per cent verses 28 per cent.

"There's a huge gap in educational outcomes," she continues. "There is no gap in talent, or resources, or intellect. There is a gap, though, in achievement. This is what Indspire is trying to change."

Watch Jamieson's full interview with MAKERS above to learn more about her story and her mission to close the achievement gap in education.

Also on HuffPost

11 Facts About Canada's First Nations