Marjorie Anderson was the first Indigenous woman to attend McMaster University graduating in 1935. Marjorie was Tuscarora from Six Nations born in 1913 and she was one of 10 children in her family. Prior to attending university, she was considered a very bright student by her elementary school teachers. At the time, not many went to high school but Marjorie did attend Caledonia High School for one year and then when her family moved to Hamilton, she decided to attend Central Collegiate. Marjorie’s family describes her as a wonderful and humble person that went out of her way to help others whenever she could. She went to McMaster during the time of the Great Depression and her relatives would send her food parcels from Six Nations to help her on her academic journey. As well, she enjoyed reading Daphne Du Maurier and cooking having learned from her mother and grandmother. Marjorie majored in French at McMaster but why she chose to major in this area has remained a mystery to her family members. Marjorie Anderson inspires Indigenous students to get a higher education by sharing her experiences paving the foundation for more Indigenous youth to succeed. Despite the many challenges that Marjorie faced growing up, she remained resilient and humble on her academic journey at McMaster in hopes that other students would follow in her footsteps. Today, we honour Marjorie Anderson’s resilience and high achievements in the graduating class of 1935 at McMaster University with the Marjorie Anderson Financial Award.
(With thanks to Don Lynch, Marjorie’s son, who shared these stories for this profile)