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The Indigenous Student Centre team
The Indigenous Student Centre is responsible for welcoming and supporting Indigenous students, as well as providing opportunities for students to learn about First Nations, Inuit and Métis culture.
Indigenous Student Centre advisors
Student advisors at the Indigenous Student Centre are here to help you achieve your academic goals. We can help you create an academic plan, clarify university policies and we can connect you with important services, resources and programming.
Indigenous Student Centre advisors are available:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Please call (204) 474-8850 or send an email to email@example.com to make an appointment today.
Drop-ins are also welcome but are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are dependent on the availability of the student advisor. These hours may be affected by COVID-19. Please contact us for more information.
Indigenous Student Centre Mission Statement
Our mission as Indigenous student advisors is to provide holistic and culturally-grounded advising services for Indigenous students, where we consider mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and cultural well-being.
We are guided by the Seven Sacred Teachings in everything we do:
Obaadendiziwin (Humility) - Mai'iingan (Wolf)
Zaagidiwin (Love) - Migizii (Eagle)
Gwekwaadziwin (Honesty) - Sa'be
Nbwaakawin (Wisdom) - Amik (Beaver)
Aakwaakade'ewin (Courage) - Makwa (Bear)
Debwewin (Truth) - Mikinaak (Turtle)
Mnaadendimowin (Respect) - Mashkodebizhike (Buffalo)
Indigenous student advisors strive to achieve this mission by:
- creating space that is welcoming, family-centered and safe, where students can be themselves, demonstrate pride in, learn and expand awareness of their cultures and their peoples
- supporting students with transitions to and within the university
- teaching students how to be self-determining in their academic paths
- providing accurate information and interpreting policy in a courteous and timely manner
- acting as liaisons between students and their bands, faculties, families and professors
- advocating for the needs of students to ensure that students have fair and equitable access to university services and resources
- knowing our limitations and providing referrals to appropriate services whenever necessary
- empowering students to recognize and use their strengths
Carla is a proud member of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation and an alumna of the UM [BEd/01, BA/03, MEd/16]. Her master’s degree was in adult & post-secondary education with a thesis project about student retention and student development theory in relation to peer mentoring for Indigenous students and its connection to first-year student success. She has been working at the UM since 2005, first as an academic advisor with the University 1 First Year Centre and then the Indigenous Student Centre to be one of the student advising team and oversee the Qualico Bridge to Success program. Passionate about the power of peer mentoring, Carla believes that students who feel they are part of the Indigenous campus community and get involved on campus is key to having a rewarding university experience and her goal is to encourage students to do what they need to do have the university experience they want. Carla has made many connections with students, faculty and staff through programming. She is considered a formidable leader and a trusted colleague who works with integrity and humility.
Contact Vanessa for:
Student and cultural support
In her role as a student advisor at Indigenous Student Centre, Vanessa Lillie splits her time between the Faculty of Arts General Office on the third floor of Fletcher Argue, and 254 Migizii Agamik -- Bald Eagle Lodge. Lillie is Cree from Peguis. She earned a BA (Honours) in psychology from UM in the spring of 2016. Outside of work, Lillie is involved in volunteering with Indigenous organizations, service learning organizations like the Child Rising Mentorship Program and Community Action Poverty Simulation, and research projects like Community Health and Information Partnerships. Lillie believes in a holistic, strength-based model of support where each student finds balance in order to succeed, develop and grow.
Contact Denise for:
Denise Proulx is Métis from Winnipeg and is a proud first-generation alumna of the University of Manitoba, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree (Sociology). Proulx is responsible for the development and implementation of the Blankstein Momentum Program and the EmpoweringU Financial Wellness Program. Proulx has completed the Prosper Canada Financial Literacy Facilitator Training and is certified by SEED Winnipeg Inc. as a Money Management Trainer. She is currently working towards a Letter of Accomplishment in Academic Advising. Proulx is passionate about providing opportunities that aim to support Indigenous student success and is an advocate for celebrating achievements.
Contact Justin for:
Indigenous Circle of Empowerment (ICE) Student Leadership Development Program
Justin Rasmussen is Métis from Ile Des Chênes, Manitoba. Justin is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg (B.Sc.), University of Manitoba (B.Sc. 4-year Major; M.Sc.), and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand; Ph.D.) in the field of Biological Sciences. Justin is the recipient of the University of Manitoba Leadership Award, the Migizii Award, and is an alumnus of the University of Manitoba Leaders Learning Program and the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference (2017). Justin is currently serving as the Chair of the Indigenous Student Affairs Network (ISAN) with ACPA College Student Educators International. Justin serves students at the University of Manitoba as a student advisor and by creating outstanding opportunities for leadership development as the coordinator of the Indigenous Circle of Empowerment (ICE) student leadership development program.
Contact Ashley for:
Graduate student support
Ashley Edson is a Nēhiyawēwin and mixed ancestry mother with family ties to the Peepeekisis Cree Nation in Treaty 4 Territory. Coming from a strong matrilineal line of helpers, she completed her Master of Social Work degree in 2016 from the University of Manitoba and also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History (2010). She coordinated the Prairie Indigenous Knowledge Exchange Network (PIKE-Net), a Canadian Institute of Health Research supported student mentorship network program housed in Ongomiizwin Research from 2017-2020. Ashley is honoured to continue providing supports for current and prospective Indigenous graduate students through her current role as the coordinator of the Supporting Indigenous Graduate Enhancement (SAGE) program.
Contact Desiree for:
Qualico Bridge to Success
Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor
Desiree Morrisseau-Keesick (she/her) is an Anishinaabe woman and a member of Grassy Narrows First Nation in Treaty 3. She was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and has maternal ties to Crane River, MB. Desiree earned her BA in Native Studies and Sociology in 2012 and shortly after, began her career with the University of Manitoba in 2015 with Indigenous Student Recruitment (ISR). She is responsible for the program facilitation of the Qualico Bridge to Success and Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor programs. Desiree has always had a love for being a community helper and her role with ISR allowed her the privilege of working alongside many rural, northern and urban Indigenous communities. Her passion for cultural and community based programming was intensified after running the Indigenous Post-Secondary Club for six years. Desiree looks forward to connecting with students in meaningful ways and being a cheerleader for all incoming and current Indigenous students.
Indigenous Engagement and Communications
We work to attract and retain more Indigenous students, faculty and staff, to incorporate Indigenous perspectives and knowledge within UM's program offerings and to honour First Nations, Métis and Inuit traditions and cultures on our campuses.
Ruth Shead is a member of Peguis First Nation and is honoured to be named after her grandma Ruth, a Residential School Survivor who, despite not receiving an education herself, instilled the value of lifelong learning into her family. Ruth began working as the coordinator of Indigenous Achievement at UM in 2014. She is passionate about advancing the university’s commitments to Indigenous students and communities, sharing Indigenous knowledge(s) and research and celebrating First Nations, Métis and Inuit successes.
Conference and events manager
Grace Redhead is registered with Shamattawa First Nation in northern Manitoba, raised in Alberta and BC. Grace graduated from the University of Winnipeg where her studies focused on residential school history. Prior to joining Indigenous Engagement, Grace worked at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Grace lives in Winnipeg with her partner and their two children, Tecumseh and Kateri.
Assistant to the director and events manager
Jenny Trenchard is a settler born in Robinson-Superior Treaty territory, now living on Treaty 1 land. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Education from the University of Winnipeg, and has committed her career to making healthier learning spaces for students. She is a supporter of BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ activism. Currently, she is focused on increasing her knowledge of ongoing processes of settler colonialism and anti-racist informed approaches within universities. She is honoured to have joined the Office of Indigenous Engagement and Communications in 2021.
Sarah Olson was born in Treaty 1 territory and is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. She started her role at the Office of Indigenous Achievement in 2018 as the project assistant on the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint. Sarah completed her Bachelor of Arts (Adv.) in Psychology and Native Studies in 2016 and is pursuing a Master of Arts in the Department of Native Studies. Her research focuses on the ongoing misrepresentation of Indigenous women in Canadian society as a contributing factor of MMIWG2S and systemic oppression, and on the collective reclamation of narrative and voice.
Nickita Longman is a Saulteaux woman from George Gordon First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory. Following in her mother and older sister's footsteps, Nickita obtained her undergraduate degree from First Nations University of Canada in 2013. In 2018, Nickita was honoured to be nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Community Involvement. She has great respect and interest in Indigenous activism in Treaty 1 Territory, and is grateful to call Winnipeg home with her partner and two cats.