Aboriginal Education Research Forum 2011

Speaker Biographies

Absolon, Kathy – is also known as Minogiizhigokwe and is from Flying Post First Nation in Ontario.  Her interests have been in the area of Indigenous research, Indigenous social work practice, community healing and wellness and Indigenous knowledge.  Kathy teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University in a Graduate MSW Aboriginal Field of Study utilizing holistic approaches.  

Anderson, Dave – came to the University College of the North to teach in the Kenanow Faculty of Education over two years ago. He is Dene/Anishinabe, originally from Atikokan Ontario, and has been in the field of Aboriginal education for over 25 years. He has worked as a classroom teacher, a curriculum writer, a policy analyst, a teacher educator and consultant with First Nations schools and communities across Ontario and Canada.

Armstrong, Helen – is a Professor of Education at Brandon University and the Principal Investigator of the SSHRC/CURA (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada/Community-University Research Alliance) project entitled Community-Based Aboriginal Curriculum Initiatives: Implementation and Evaluation.

Atleo, Marlene – Associate Professor, University of Manitoba, ?eh ?eh naa tuu kwis, Ahousaht First Nation, Nuu-chah-nulth. Is an adult educator who came from the West Coast Salmon fishing industry into post secondary education.  She specializes in using multiple modalities for teaching and learning in Aboriginal and Cross Cross cultural education as well as graduate programming. Marlene has worked in her home community to develop the Ahousaht Holistic Center as well as at the tribal council, provincial, national and international levels in the field of education and capacity development.

Baker, Jeff – is a Métis doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia. Having grown up in Saskatoon, his international teaching and traveling experiences led to his pursuit of graduate studies. He has recently returned to Saskatoon with his wife and daughter to complete his research in Indigenous Science Education.

Batzel, Nichola – Nichola’s Inuit ancestors are originally from Garry Lake (NW of Baker Lake) and she has lived in Winnipeg all her life. She started her teaching career (in her young years her parents were teachers), and she taught as a Teacher’s Assistant then went on to get her B.Ed in 1995 from the University of Winnipeg and has been teaching in Winnipeg. Nichola travelled globally, is a single mother of a 14 year old boy. She has been involved in advancing Inuit perspectives into the curriculum and into Urban issues and perspectives. She has a Post Baccalaureate in Education then went to Nunavut for a one year period to re-connect with her Inuit family, land and culture. She brings these stories into her presentation.

Blair, Dr. Heather – is a Professor of Education and co-founder of the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute (CILLDI). She works in the area of Indigenous languages teaching, revitalization, policy and planning.

Bostrom, Shane – is the Provincial Coordinator of the Standing Tall program.  He grew up in the Metis community of Manigotogan, located on the east shore of Lake Winnipeg, and attended school on the Hollow Water reserve.  Shane graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2010 with an education degree. 

Chartrand, Rebecca – is the Aboriginal Education Teacher Team Leader/CATEP Coordinator

Conway, Sharon – is the Director of Provincial Education for the Manitoba Metis Federation. She is from the Turtle Mountains in South Western Manitoba. She’s been a teacher for 20 years working for the Winnipeg School Division, The Province and now the MMF.  She is working on her Masters in Education.

Courchene, Mary – is a long time educator from Sagkeeng First Nation. She is Elder-in Residence for the Seven Oaks School Division and River East Transcona School Division. Her passion is quality education for all students, which must include Aboriginal perspectives in the school systems thereby ensuring better tomorrows for all students.

Daniels, Leona, MSW – has over 20 years’ experience in working with alongside Aboriginal people(s). Her experiences with Aboriginal communities and organizations working with Aboriginal people(s) allow Leona to understand the concept modern day education.

Debassige, Brent (Ahnungoonhs) – is of the Carbou Clan and is an Ojibwe-Anishinaabe from M_Chigeeng First Nation, ON. His re-search has investigated holistic approaches to Indigenous research, Aboriginal literacy, and Anishinaabe health and well-being, generally. His experiences in Anishinaabe ceremonies have formed the foundation for spirit-centered approaches to preserving and sustaining Anishinaabe ways of knowing.

Denysuik, Sherri – is of Anishinaabe ancestry from Sagkeeng First Nation. She is currently Vice Prinicpal of Elwick Community School, a K – 8 school in Seven Oaks School Division. Before joining Seven Oaks School Division, Sherri worked in Winnipeg School Division and Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. Her work as educator has extended beyond the school into organizations such as CAEM (Council for Aboriginal Educators) and ASVAC (Aboriginal Voice and Action Standing Committee) that aim to enhance and promote Aboriginal Education.

Desmoulins, Leisa – gained Indian Status and membership with the Ojibways of the Pic River through marriage. She lives in Thunder Bay where she works as an ally with Indigenous peoples. She works as a Research Associate to Judy Iseke, CRC in Indigenous Education, and teaches as a contract lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University. 

Desvents, Audrey – Audrey’s greatest gift as a speaker is the ability to inspire, challenge and motivate others to reach their true potential in life. She has worked with many youth and adults groups in first nations across Canada and USA, this experience has provided her insights into holistic healing. Through the years she has been dedicated to learning in depth the intricate meaning of the native teachings, energy work and holistic healing. She has studied to decipher the concepts and principles of traditional teachings into understandable contemporary terminology.

Donald, Dwayne (Papaschase Cree), Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

Dumas, Davin – Davin is the Principal of Charles Sinclair School in Fisher River. He has a Bachelor of Education degree and Graduate Diploma in Education from Brandon University. He has extensive experience in the classroom and as a Nursery to Grade 12 administrator.

Firman, Brenda – is a graduate of the remote Anishnabe communities of northern Ontario and of the House of Learning at UBC. As classroom teacher, resource teacher, principal, curriculum developer, consultant, and researcher; Brenda remains committed to the infusion of Aboriginal languages, culture, and knowledge in education.  Brenda is completing her third year in the Kenanow B.Ed. program at UCN.

Fitznor, Laara – Associate Professor, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Education, is from Wabowden, Manitoba. Her cultural/linguistic identity is Cree First Nation (with German/Scots ancestry), and she is a member of the Nisichawaysihk Cree Nation. She was raised in her culture/language and “on the land” in Wabowden, combined with her attending an English/European education curriculum.

Fontaine, Lita (Dakota / Anishinaabe / Métis) – is a practicing Visual Artist and Arts Educator. She holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Intermedia (Mix Media) from the University of Regina (2001) and a Diploma in Fine Arts from the School of Art, University of Manitoba (1997). Lita Fontaine’s artistic mediums include photography, mixed media, mural work and Installation. Lita Fontaine is currently employed as the Artist in Residence with the Seven Oaks School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Fontaine, Lorena – is Cree/Anishnabe from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Fort Alexander Manitoba and also considers the Opaskwayak First Nation in The Pas as home. Her mother attended St Alban's and All Saints residential schools in Prince Albert and Elkorn residential school.

Forbes, Lisa – is an Aboriginal woman from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her roots are Cree, Metis, Scottish, and English.  Her right to Indian Status was restored along with her mom and sister in 1987.  She’s a member of Peguis First Nation.  Lisa lives in Winnipeg, works in community development, and is a long-time human rights activist and member of Amnesty International.

Forsyth, Donna – is a Professor of Education at Brandon University and a language-arts and professional development specialist.

Guilbault, Kristine – is a Seven Oaks School Division Paraprofessional and CATEP graduate

Halas, Joannie – is a professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management at the University of Manitoba. Her research program investigates issues of access to quality and culturally relevant physical education for Aboriginal youth.
Hansen, Dr. John G - is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. He has taught elementary, high school and university students. Currently he is an Assistant Professor in the Aboriginal and northern Studies department at the University College of the North. Hansen earned his PhD in Education from the University of Regina and has published two books, his most recent (2011) Swampy Cree Justice: Researching the Ways of the People forms the basis of this presentation. 

Hedrich, Lydia – is currently working as an Assistant Superintendent in the Seven Oaks School Division. She spent several years as a French Immersion classroom teacher and as an early years’ principal. Her educational interests focus on understanding and fostering “good” teaching with democracy in mind

James, Kim – is a Seven Oaks School Division Paraprofessional and CATEP graduate 

Johnson, Amy – is a Metis woman from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is currently an educator at Maples Collegiate and an instructor at the University of Manitoba. In addition to her roles as a community member and educator, Amy has worked as a researcher in the areas of Aboriginal education and physical education for a number of years.

Johnston, Damon – is a Member of the Fort William First Nation, (Thunder Bay, Ont) and is currently the President of the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg. Throughout his career, he has served in service and leadership positions with various Urban organizations that serve the needs and aspirations of the Winnipeg Aboriginal population. He currently serves on the boards of Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club, and Manitoba Federation of Non-Profit Organizations. Damon Johnston is leading the discussion of the development of an Aboriginal School System as part of his position with the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg.

Lafferty, Shaun (Tsiigehtchic Gwich'in), teacher and curriculum coordinator, Amiskwaciy Academy, Edmonton Public Schools

Lamoureux, Kevin – is a PhD candidate at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, and an instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg. His research areas include enrichment programming and talent development, Aboriginal Education, and creativity; he has published extensively in these areas. Lamoureux's doctoral research is focused on talent identification and programming for youth in the juvenile justice system.

Laramee Myra – is a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation.  She is a grandmother, mother, sister, and daughter.  These roles are of great importance and have been significant in shaping the person that she is today.

Myra carries a traditional bundle for the Indigenous people of this territory and has made a vow of commitment to be a person of peace in the work that lies in her path.  She personally believes that lack of knowledge amongst people is cancerous and spends most of her time seeking and imparting knowledge for capacity building and the development of truthful relations.

As a traditional woman, Myra is responsible for the transmission of knowledge and ceremony for women and children through the use of a Tipi Lodge.  Care of children has been and will continue to be a lifelong commitment.  Healing in our communities is of utmost urgency and the work for her future hinges on our peoples’ wellness.

Lessard, Sean (Montreal Lake Cree Nation), teacher and Aboriginal education consultant, Edmonton Public Schools

Mallett, Kathy – Currently is one of the Co-Directors for the Community Education Development Association (CEDA).  Before coming to work with CEDA, Kathy worked with Healthy Child Manitoba as a program consultant Aboriginal Initiatives.  At Healthy Child Kathy initiated a research project on the question of “What is Aboriginal parenting in the 21st Century.”  Prior to Healthy Child Kathy worked as an archivist/researcher for the Archives of Manitoba, Hudson’s Bay Company division. Kathy worked in the Winnipeg Aboriginal community for about 25 years.  She worked in the areas of transformative justice, Aboriginal women’s development and developing various service organizations in her community.  As well, she volunteered many years for many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community organizations.  She was elected in the early 1990s as a school trustee for Winnipeg School Division # 1 and served a three year term. Throughout the years Kathy has received recognition for her community work, and most recently was the recipient of Women’s History Month Year Celebration 2010. In 2008 she received the Grass Roots Women’s Award in 2008, and in 2000 she received the first Manitoba Human Rights Commitment Award. 

Manitowabi, Susan – a member of Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, is a PhD candidate in the Rural and Northern Health program at Laurentian University. The focus of her research is in developing culturally appropriate means of evaluating mental wellness teams in Aboriginal communities. Susan is actively involved with research ethics as a member of Manitoulin Anishnabe Research Review Committee (MARRC). She has also served as a board member of both the National Council on Ethics in Human Research and Laurentian University Research Ethics Board.

McNabb, Wendy – is an OjiCree Woman from Treaty 4 area (Gordon's/Cowessess/Peepeekisis First Nations); Her mother "Pete", attended the Marieval (Cowesses) & Qu'Appelle Indian Residential Schools (Lebret), Saskatchewan.

Michell, Claudette – whose people are commonly known as Cree, was born in The Pas, Manitoba.  She studies and works in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her mother Adelaide Michell, is a survivor of the Sturgeon Landing and Guy Hill Residential Schools. Claudette's hope is that these digital stories will encourage others on a personal journey of healthy living and healing.

Morgan, Leah A. – works with Aboriginal people(s) and has a life-time experience of living in a system that may be viewed as time out of mind. She is from the Gitxsan Nation (one of the nations that brought the Supreme Court of Canada case of Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, 1997 where they used their oral histories as principal evidence in the case. 

Munroe, Tania – graduated from Brandon University where she took an interest in Post secondary Education. Tania taught in the Island Lake area for thirteen years before returning to Brandon University to assist Aboriginal Students achieve their goals in getting a degree. She is currently the Indigenous Student Advisor for the Indigenous Health and Human Services Program at Brandon University.

Murdock, Lisa – is a Métis-Dené woman from Winnipeg, MB. Her mother, Rita Engbaek (nee Buggins), is a survivor of St. Henry’s Mission in Fort Vermillion and St. Josephs’s in Fort Resolution.

Murdock, Nora – is the Director of Education for Fisher River Cree Nation in Koostatak, Manitoba. She has a Master of Education degree in Educational Administration from the University of Manitoba and is currently in the PhD program. She has a wealth of experience in education administration in Aboriginal schools.

Nardozi, Angela – is an Italian-Canadian woman born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, who in the past five years has been growing into the role of an ally to Aboriginal people in Canada. She recently completed her M.A. at OISE/UT and also hold a B.Ed. from OISE/UT as well as a B.ArtSci from McMaster University.

Oberman, Sheri – is an instructor in the Kenanow B. Ed. Program at University College of the North and a doctoral student in Educational Technology at Athabasca University.  Sheri Oberman is actively developing skills, insights, and facility with aboriginal research methods in order to launch the academic study of Kenanow.  Sheri grew up with aboriginal people, on Winnipeg's Main Street very close to the present sight of Thunderbird House and in the North End of Winnipeg.  She graduated from St. John's High School and worked as a school teacher in First Nations communities and in Winnipeg's inner city.
Sheri is the mother of two children: a girl who is studying Fine Arts at The University of Manitoba and a boy, who will graduate grade 12 in June 2011.

Okemaw, Violet – is a doctoral student in the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta. Until she moved in Edmonton in 2009, she was Project Coordinator for Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Center. She has a B.Ed. and a M.Ed. from the University of Manitoba.

Ouellette, Robert-Falcon – is the Program Director at the University of Manitoba for the Aboriginal Focus Programs which has extensive partnerships with the Aboriginal community in Winnipeg and Manitoba. He has a Bachelors degree in music (education) from the University of Calgary and two Master degrees in music education and instrumental pedagogy from Laval University in Quebec City. He has been a professional musician who was solo euphonium for the Royal 22nd Regiment Band for several years. For the past 5 years he has been working with La Fanfarniente della Strada Gypsy Band based in Quebec City. He also has extensive experience in administration earned with the military in various units from combat, medical and even musical military organizations. One of his greatest personal experiences was playing with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra on live radio. Robert is Neyieho from Saskatchewan, but was raised in Calgary, Alberta, is married and has 4 children.

Peden, Sherry – Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Brandon University and has experience with both community based and on campus teacher education. Sherry is completing her Phd in May 2011! Worked for over 30 years in Aboriginal education and has a lot of wonderful stories and experiences to share.

Peters, Sheryl – is a non-Aboriginal researcher with Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence in Winnipeg. She advocates for using Indigenous methodologies, stories and visual media in research and social advocacy.

Prevost-Derbecker, Sonia – is a Métis women and mother of 3, who views Education as the “Great Equalizer”.  She believes that to build a truly just and prosperous society we need a strong education system that supports all of our children. Sonia has a Bachelor of Arts and Education degree, and she has taught in various settings as a teacher to advance the success of youth in difficult situations. She held (past and current) leadership and board positions supporting equity and Aboriginal representation in educational systems (adult/school/daycare) in Winnipeg and in community development. Sonia is one of the committee members of the Steering Committee for an Aboriginal School System.

Selkirk, Kelly – Kelly is the Enhancement Year Program coordinator in Fisher River.  She has a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Winnipeg. She has experience teaching and developing curriculum from Nursery to Grade 12, including adult education and college level.
Davin Dumas – Davin is the Principal of Charles Sinclair School in Fisher River. He has a Bachelor of Education degree and Graduate Diploma in Education from Brandon University. He has extensive experience in the classroom and as a Nursery to Grade 12 administrator.

Smith, Bernadette – is the Seven Oaks School Division Paraprofessional and CATEP graduate

Steeves, Phyllis Grace – is a Cree Metis woman with strong roots in the community of Lac. Ste. Anne, Alberta.  She has a keen appreciation for life’s training, be it through day to day living, the “school of hard knocks” or formal channels. All avenues have impacted on her work and her philosophies. Phyllis currently lives in Edmonton where she holds a Postdoctoral Fellowship position with the Alberta NEAHR (Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research) at the University of Alberta

Stout, Roberta – is a Cree woman from Kehewin First Nation in Alberta, Canada and a researcher at Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence in Winnipeg. Roberta’s mother, Madeline Dion Stout, is a survivor of the residential school system.

Vizina, Yvonne – is Métis and graduate of SUNTEP, Prince Albert, SK in 1997.   An interest in traditional knowledges and practices led her to do further research and complete a Master of Education Degree in 2010 at the University of Saskatchewan.   Yvonne currently works at the Métis National Council in the Environment Department.

Weber-Pillwax, Cora – is a Metis Cree woman who has been an educator for over 5o years. She is an Associate Professor working with Indigenous graduate students at the University of Alberta in the Indigenous Peoples Education specialization, Educational Policy Studies, and with Indigenous community researchers within communities located in northern Alberta.

Wilde, Edie – is the Assistant Superintendent Seven Oaks School Division

Wilson, (Commissioner) James:  was appointed as the second Treaty Commissioner for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba (TRCM) by a Federal Order-in-Council on June 19, 2010. Commissioner Wilson is an educator by profession and holds a multicultural/multi-subject teaching credential and has teaching experience from K through 12.

Zeidler, Martin – is a 3rd year doctoral student in the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta. His dissertation work focuses on Indigenous language learning as a protective cultural factor and its potential contribution towards individual and community well-being. He holds a B.Ed. and M.Ed.in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Alberta.