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 students with experienced Indigenous students who will provide academic and social support and ongoing advice, and where all members are provided with activities to support their post-secondary goals.

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 (Mentors):

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 mentor. You will login with your UMnet ID. The deadline to apply to be a mentor is September 4th by 11:59 P.M. Early application is recommended.

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 a mentor. You will login with your UMnet ID. The deadline to apply for a mentor is Friday, September 14th by 11:59 P.M.

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:

"I love this program. It is a simple, beautiful, holistic approach to creating an instant community of friends, which means a space where we're all welcome and we can feel comfortable. University really requires us to rise to the challenge, and having someone in our corner who can offer support when it gets hard, because it will, is incredibly important. We are strong together." Charlene Hallett, Family Social Sciences, mentor

"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 [that has been beneficial to me] as a social worker." Maxine Boulanger, B.S.W. 2017, former mentee to long-term mentor


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