Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Program

The Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Program is a peer mentor program that promotes student engagement and a sense of belonging on campus. 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, ongoing advice, and where all members are provided with activities to support community building and personal growth. It is open to Indigenous students in any year of study.



The Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Program as a whole provides members with social, academic, and cultural development, peer-to-peer support and the opportunity to be a Neechiwaken – a Cree word, which means friend. The 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 standing. 2.5+ GPA preferred
  • Must have completed a minimum of 24 credit hours
  • Be available for monthly meetings
  • Must be willing to commit to communicating regularly with their assigned student
  • New mentors must attend a training session (dates listed in application form)
  • Be interested in campus and community volunteering events

Apply here to be a mentor. The deadline to apply to be a mentor is Thursday, September 5th, 2019 by 11:59 P.M. Early application is recommended as there is an interview process.

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
  • Must be willing to commit to communicating regularly with their peer mentor
  • Be interested in campus and community volunteering events

Apply here for a mentor. The deadline to apply for a mentor is Sunday, September 8th, 2019 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

“I enjoyed attending Neechiwaken's monthly activities. They provided a break from studies and time to connect with others. It encouraged me to attend other events and activities at Migizii Agamik, which I may not have otherwise. This program has improved my experience at university and has provided great support during my first year.” Kyle Wiebe, Fine Arts

"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