Elizabeth Hill Chi-Meegwetch fund

The School of Social Work maintains a fund in honor of Elizabeth Hill. The fund is used to assist Indigenous UVic School of Social Work students in their learning journey with us. Students may apply by December 1 of each year in writing to the Indigenous Circle to apply for this bursary.   If you are interested, please send an e-mail to the Indigenous Circle care of socw@uvic.ca.  In your e-mail please briefly describe your plan on using the funds if you receive them.

Elizabeth Hill, 1941 - 1991

"Elizabeth was one of those rare individuals who could both politically empower and psychologically strengthen those with whom she worked."

Elizabeth Hill was born April 1, 1941 in Coleman, Alberta. Her heritage is Cree and Blackfoot. Her experiences in her culture and the poverty of her early life were perhaps, her first education. She also learned much in her early years from her great-grandmother. This knowledge permeated all areas of her professional practice.

In 1976, Elizabeth Hill entered Simon Fraser University, majoring in psychology before transferring to the Bachelor of Social Work program at the University of British Columbia where she earned both her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW).

An exceptional social work educator, Elizabeth was widely recognized as an outstanding teacher, a skilled administrator and a respected clinician. She believed that Native peoples should hold all power for their own community development, their own human services, their government structures and cultural destiny. She worked tirelessly to promote these goals.

As one of Canada's leading social work scholars in the policy and practice of social work with Native communities, Elizabeth Hill's research efforts were closely consistent with Native values and priorities, and served to merge academic study with traditional ways of thinking and analyzing.

Elizabeth had strong links to traditional Native communities where she was respected as a leader and innovator. She was instrumental in the original design and implementation of Ma Mawi Chi Itata Centre, one of the few Native child and family service agencies in Canada. Ma Mawi's Board is composed entirely of Native members, staffed by Native professionals and serves Native people living in Winnipeg and surrounding reserve communities.

Elizabeth Hill was also the driving force behind the creation of the Elizabeth Hill Counselling Centre, formerly named the Community Resource Clinic. Elizabeth recognized the need for the provision of quality services in Winnipeg's inner city, and the importance of training clinical social workers and psychologists to work with inner city families.

Because of her substantial knowledge of child and family services, and her close affiliation with Native communities, Elizabeth frequently served as a consultant to provincial and federal government departments. In Manitoba, she served as a member of the Provincial Child Abuse Committee and the Provincial Victims Assistance Committee.

Perhaps her most enthusiastic consultation efforts were with reserve communities in Manitoba and across Canada. She dedicated herself to do all she could to enhance the present and future life circumstances of Native children. For these, and other efforts on behalf of Native communities, she was nominated for the Order of Canada.

In all her efforts, Elizabeth was an outstanding role model for fledgling social workers, for those advancing the circumstances of women in our society, and for Native people struggling to reform the Canadian social service structure.

Elizabeth Hill died August 30, 1991. Her spirit was set free to join the Creator where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet. She will remain alive in the hearts of the many people who loved her.