Mark Schroeder is a 25-year-old MNBC citizen and member of Waceya Métis Society whose Métis roots are from the Red River Settlement. He is a direct descendant of the Métis leader, Cuthbert Grant. Mark is a college student with an easy-going personality who cares about his community and demonstrates it in his actions and dedication. He has served his community as a leader for several years and is passionate about raising awareness of Métis identity.
While Mark was in high school he experienced a lack of recognition of his Metis heritage regularly in his school. Once he was repeatedly questioned by a teacher about what he was doing in, what was then called, the First Nations Room, to which he simply replied, “I am Métis”. The teacher did not think he looked like he belonged in there. Though he was encouraged to have pride in his Métis heritage at home, Mark did not see this reflected everywhere. This is what led him to get involved in his Métis Chartered Community and agree to be their Community Youth Representative between 2009-2011. Later, he was appointed as interim Regional Youth Representative for the Lower Mainland between 2011 and 2012. To help raise awareness of Métis culture and identity, he volunteered to speak to aboriginal youth involved in his former school district’s Aboriginal Education program where he has continued to volunteer over the last few years, showing his Métis pride.
After completing the SFU Aboriginal Pre-Health Program and a semester in the SFU Health Sciences Faculty, Mark was accepted into Douglas College’s Psychiatric Registered Nursing Program where he is completing his final year. Last summer he was selected by Sto:lo Nation Community Health for the position of Community Health Nursing Assistant where he was able to assist community members ranging from babies to elders on Sto:lo reserves. His future goals include helping those with mental illness.
As Vice President of the Douglas Student Union Aboriginal Students’ Collective (Douglas College) Mark is an integral member of this group which serves both Coquitlam and New Westminster campuses to: create a sense of community; ease transition into post-secondary education for fellow aboriginal students; promote and advocate for aboriginal interests and culture. This fall 2016, he represented them at the BC Federation of Students, Indigenous Students’ Conference in Victoria where he met with Aboriginal leaders from around the province.
Mark loves hiking and fishing with family. The last two summers he climbed Black Tusk in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Mark also gives back to the community-at-large by giving blood regularly and has been recognized by the Canadian Blood Services for the number of times he has donated, reaching a donation milestone.
Character, dedication to serving his community, accomplishments, healthy lifestyle, resiliency, leadership, the pursuit of strengthening Métis identity and cultural awareness amongst his peers and community, have all shaped Mark into a role model for other youth to look to.