Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Program

The Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Program has been structured to ensure that student development and student engagement are available to Indigenous students in any year of study. The main intention of the program is to match new Indigenous University of Manitoba (UM) students with experienced Indigenous UM students who will provide academic and social support, ongoing advice, and be provided with activities to support the post-secondary goals of all members.

Peer mentor and mentee sitting in student lounge

This program provides students with social, academic, and cultural development, peer-to-peer support and the opportunity to be a Neechiwaken – a Cree word, which means friend. The Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Program was created to ease the transition of first-year students into university life and is organized in partnership with the Indigenous Student Centre and Student Life.


The Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Program is formed by Lead Neechiwaken and Neechiwaken:

Lead Neechiwaken:

A Lead Neechiwaken is defined as the experienced student in the peer-mentoring relationship who is willing to participate in the reciprocal process of sharing their knowledge, skills, and expertise to facilitate a new student's transition into university life and build on their leadership skills.

To become a Lead Neechiwaken, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be an Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) UM student in good academic standing (must have completed a minimum of 24 credit hours)
  • Be available for monthly meetings
  • Must be willing to commit to communicating regularly with their students
  • Be interested in campus and community volunteering events

Click here to apply to be a Lead Neechiwaken. Applications are being accepted in UMCommunityLINK until September 10, 2017.

Neechiwaken (info for new students):

A Neechiwaken is defined as the less experienced student in the peer-mentoring relationship who is willing to participate and assist in the reciprocal process of sharing knowledge, skills, and expertise to build their own leadership skills with the opportunity to become a Lead Neechiwaken in the future.

To become a Neechiwaken, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be an Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) UM student interested in having a peer mentor for the year (September to April)
  • Be available for monthly meetings
  • Be willing to commit to communicating regularly with their peer mentor
  • For those interested in the social aspects only, please add that in the "Interests" section

Click here to apply for an Indigenous Peer Mentor. Applications are being accepted in UMCommunityLINK until September 10, 2017.

New Indigenous students are also welcome to consider any of the opportunities being offered by the Qualico Bridge to Success Program.


What students say about the program:

"When I first started at the University of Manitoba I was terrified because there were so many students. Joining the program helped me to make connections with other students who felt the same way which in turn made campus life less intimidating. Since then I have made many new friends. It also gave me the opportunity to volunteer at various events throughout campus and in the community which will be beneficial to me in my future career as a social worker." Maxine Boulanger, Social Work, Lead Neechiwaken

"I am so grateful that I joined Neechiwaken (formerly PACT) in my first year on campus because the truth is, university can be hard. But it was made more manageable and less daunting by being paired with a mentor - someone who calmed me, encouraged me, and pointed me in the right direction. I am excited to be a mentor this fall, and to share what I have learned in the same manner that my mentor helped me navigate that first year in a new environment. Because yes it's hard - but we can do hard things! Come find [Neechiwaken] when you get to campus and let someone ease the way." Charlene Hallett, Family Social Sciences, new Lead Neechiwaken


If you have any questions, please contact Carla Loewen, Neechiwaken Coordinator, at:

Indigenous Student Centre
114 Sidney Smith, Migizii Agamik – Bald Eagle Lodge
Phone: 204-291-5257
Email: carla.loewen@umanitoba.ca