Honorary Members


Dr. Mary Young Photo

AERF 2016 Honorary Member 

The Late Dr. Mary Young

Co-Founder and Gifted Name Shawane Dagosiwin to the Research Forum Planning Committee Member, Program Planning Co-Chair

Mary is Anishinabe Kwe from Bloodvein First Nation. She received her early education (grades one to eight) in Bloodvein. She attended Residential School for three years and graduated from Kelvin High School.

She obtained her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg and her Post-Baccalaureate in Education and Masters in Education from the University of Manitoba. She completed her Ph.D. in First Nations Education from the University of Alberta. Notwithstanding these degrees, Mary consistently honoured the way her parents taught and educated her. She believed they were truly her first teachers. Her parents were the ones who encouraged her and insisted she speak her Anishinaabe language.

As she continued her work at the University of Winnipeg as a Native Student Advisor, Counsellor, and as the Director of Aboriginal Student Services, she remembered and recalled the words of her parents. She worked at University of Winnipeg for twenty-six years with the last few years in the Faculty of Education. In her educational and personal journey the education she received from her parents, greatly influenced what she chose to write about in her dissertation, which was a narrative inquiry into “Language as identity”. Her parents’ Way of Life, their beliefs, values, and culture continued to influence her in her everyday life and in her work. Her article, Anishinabemowin: A Way of Seeing the World, was published in the Canadian Journal of Native Education. Her passion was to work towards the preservation of the Anishinaabe language. In the fall 2005, her article, Is the Legacy of Residential Schools Relevant Today? was published in the Manitoba Association of School Superintendents Journal: The Responsibility of SocialJustice. Mary’s dissertation, Pimatisiwin: Walking in a Good Way, was recently publishedby Pemmican Publishing.

Mary was invited several times to be a keynote speakerfor various Aboriginal organizations, conferences, and educational institutions. She hadbeen nominated for the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award 2006 under the category of Education and Leadership. At The University of Winnipeg, Spring Convocation, June 3,2007 Mary received the Marsha Hanen Award for Excellence in Community Awareness.

In June 2010, her article (et. al) Becoming ‘real’ Aboriginal teachers: attending to intergenerational narrative reverberations and responsibilities was published in Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Volume 16, Number 3 Routledge (Taylor & FrancisGroup; The Journal of the International Study Association for Teachers and Teaching).Mary’s most recent publication was the co-authored book, Warrior Women: Remaking Post-secondary Places Through Relational Narrative Inquiry (Emerald, 2012), which foregrounds the experiences of six Aboriginal post-secondary students as they were becoming teachers and researchers. Based on a long-term narrative inquiry deeply shaped and guided by two Elders, the study mades visible the significant need for change in post-secondary education, and, too, for understanding that indelible connections among the earlier schooling experiences of Aboriginal children and youth and postsecondary education. This last book was made possible through a large SSHRC grant that she and her colleagues received.

In addition to her many achievements, she was co-chair of our program committee for the annual Aboriginal Education Forum, "Shawane Dagosiwin." Mary is credited for giving our Aboriginal Education Forum the Anishinaabe name of “Shawane Dagosiwin” and she always reminded us to use the name consistently.

Outside of her academic life, Mary was an active and competitive athlete. She was a long-time member of Family Court Curling and the Granite Women's Curling League; she golfed with the Windsor Park Ladies and won a silver medal in golf at the 2003 Indigenous Games. Mary also had a long career playing mixed and women's softball, including competing at the national level. Other sports interests included tennis, racquetball, and walking. Mary's love of sports included being an enthusiastic spectator at Goldeyes games and attending many national events including the Brier, Scotties, Rogers Cup, Spring Training, and World Junior Hockey.

Sadly, our beloved Mary left the physical world on July 20, 2015. We miss Mary and the passion for what she brought to “Shawane Dagosiwin”.