Marianopolis is proud to highlight the remarkable achievement of Iakoiehwáhtha Patton ’19 (Social Science) for having been named a Rhodes Scholar. She is the first Indigenous woman in Canada and the sixth Marianopolis graduate in the College’s history to be have been bestowed such an honour, the oldest and most prestigious scholarship in the world.
A member of the Kanien’kehá:ka community outside Montreal, Iako (pronounced like the famous character from Shakespeare’s Othello) came to Marianopolis from Trafalgar School. She is now pursuing her undergraduate degree in Art History, Anthropology and Renaissance Studies at the University of Toronto and will head to Oxford University in the fall of 2023 to undertake fully sponsored graduate studies and become part of a global community of people dedicated to solving humanity’s challenges.
“My interest in art history was first sparked whilst studying at Marianopolis, ” recalls Iako. “I’ve always loved art and history, two subjects I was drawn to in high school. But it wasn’t until I began studying at Marianopolis that I realized that there was an entire discipline I could delve into! Taking my first Art History class with Professor Megan Spriggs completely changed the trajectory of my studies. And then, being taught by Professor David O’Keefe thoroughly cemented my love for history. I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for these two professors. It would have taken a few more years of searching, that’s for sure.”
Iako has a passion for Netherlandish art – art produced by Dutch artists during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance period. She says she can’t wait to continue her studies at Oxford, focusing on the imaging of North American Indigenous peoples in Netherlandish art. She hopes to shed light on the deeply rooted inequalities of colonial and gender relations embedded within these works.
Her advice for future students: “Take classes outside your program. I like to say that I stumbled my way into Art History; so if you don’t know where your passions lie just yet, that’s okay. I began by studying Psychology and ended up a far cry from that. Marianopolis, and the CEGEP system, is a time for exploration.”
“The Marianopolis community is immensely proud of Iakoiehwáhtha for this historic achievement,” says the College’s Director General Christian Corno. “We wish her every success and hope she will continue to inspire young women to break barriers, forge their own paths and write their own unique histories.”