Loretta Warnsby Memorial Award in Law

Loretta Warnby

The Loretta Warnsby Memorial Award in Law is given to a Canadian-born Indigenous undergraduate student in the JD or JD/JID program in the Faculty of Law with a learning disability. Preference is for a student with demonstrated financial need. Approval of the recipient will be made by the Senate Committee on Awards upon the recommendation of the Faculty of Law.

Loretta Isabel Warnsby (nee Barber) was born on 05 July 1946 the fourth child and second daughter of Clarence (Mike) Ruben Barber and Agnes Rose Barber (nee Simon). She was a member of the Crow Clan and a Citizen of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. Her early days were spent on the White and Stewart Rivers where her family trapped and cut wood for the paddle-wheelers. Loretta attended school in Dawson and later at FH Collins in Whitehorse. She was an excellent student and her teacher encouraged her to go to college but her family couldn’t afford it so she went to the Secretarial School instead. After graduating and working several jobs around Yukon she returned to Dawson to work at the Commerce and Montreal banks.

It was in the late 60’s that she met Ben Warnsby, the love of her life, and they were married in 1970 in Merritt, B.C. After marrying Ben, Loretta supported him in his many business ventures. They sometimes looked after Loretta’s younger brother and sister, as needed. In 1984, she was happily surprised to welcome Benjamin Bruce her only child and as Bruce grew up, she was a stay-at-home mother for a number of years.

In the 1990’s with Bruce in school, Loretta returned to work at the Yukon Native Teacher Education Program. She soon, however, took the opportunity to gain a college education by enrolling in Yukon College’s Social Work program graduating in 1997. After obtaining her degree, Loretta worked for many years with Yukon’s Healthy Family to support families in providing a safe and supportive home for their children. In retirement, Loretta was often greeted by families who she had supported.

Outside of work and her family, her passion was her well-maintained backyard and vegetable garden. She also enjoyed taking part in Elders Active programming including Carpet Bowling (for which she won medals) and singing with the Han Singers. She was actively involved in Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in as a regular attendee at meetings. She had a love for dogs and was thinking recently of getting a new dog.

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