Joseph H. Teronianente Jacobs, a Kanien’kehá:ka student from Kahnawà:ke, was determined to earn a university degree, and became the first student to successfully petition Canada’s Department of Indian Affairs for funding for his studies.
Indian Affairs stipulated that McGill had to provide progress reports on his studies to the government, but while at McGill, Jacobs thrived. He received a BA in History in 1911 before enrolling in the Faculty of Medicine and graduating with an MD in 1915.
Upon graduation, he returned to Kahnawà:ke to set up a medical practice for the community. His academic achievements and community impact are immortalized on his tombstone, which sits in the Kahnawà:ke Catholic Cemetery. It reads: “McGill Graduate of Medicine, Completed 5 years in 4, Rhodes Scholar Candidate, Fluent Mohawk Speaker, A Devout Catholic.”