The new Advanced Education Minster in BC is also the first Indigenous woman to hold a cabinet position in the legislature.

Melanie Mark: From Douglas grad to first female Indigenous cabinet minister in B.C.

By Sucheta Singh

Douglas College alum Melanie Mark first made headlines in 2016 after winning a by-election in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, making her the first First Nations woman to serve in the B.C. Legislature. Now, she’s made waves once again as the first Indigenous woman to hold a cabinet position in British Columbia. Mark is Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree and Ojibway.

The B.C. NDP has formed a government in this province for the first time in 16 years. Mark was appointed as Minister for Advanced Education, Skills and Training by Premier John Horgan yesterday.

Mark grew up in East Vancouver. She spent a lot of time in the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant community, which she now serves. She attended Douglas College from 1998 to 1999 and graduated with a Diploma in Criminology. She was even involved in Douglas Women’s Rugby.

She went on to get a degree in Political Science from SFU. Mark worked alongside the former Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond, for eight years advocating for the rights of children and youth in government care. Before entering politics, she was the Associate Deputy Representative, responsible for Advocacy, Aboriginal and Community Relations and Youth Engagement throughout the province.

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