• A headshot of Lorena Fountaine in front of a plane white wall wearing a blasck dress and native beaded earrings
  • Associate Professor;
    Department Head (Indigenous Studies)

    Faculty of Arts
    Department of Indigenous Studies
    208 Isbister Building
    183 Dafoe Road
    University of Manitoba
    Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2

    Phone: 204-474-8872

    Preferred pronouns: she/her

Currently accepting graduate students - yes

  • Master's
  • PhD


Lorena Sekwan Fontaine (BA, LLB, LLM, PhD) is Cree and Anishnaabe, and a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba. She is the author of Creating Constitutional Space for First Nations’ Language Rights in Education and has published articles and spoken nationally and internationally on Indigenous language rights, the legacy of residential schools, and cultural genocide. 

Her research was featured in the CBC documentary, "Undoing Linguicide." She was also an expert witness to the Canada’s Standing Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples on the Indigenous Languages Act.

Dr. Fontaine has co-organized educational forums in the United States with Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. She also co-organized an international forum "Mass Violence and Its Lasting Impact on Indigenous Peoples" with the University of Southern California, Center for Advanced Genocide Research. 

Dr. Fontaine has served on various national committees, including an Equality Rights Panel member for the Court Challenges Program of Canada and a National Steering Committee Member for the National Association of Women and the Law as well as a board member for the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund. 


  • PhD (Interdisciplinary Program), University of Manitoba, 2018
  • LLM (Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy), University of Arizona, 2002 
  • LLB University of Manitoba, 2000 
  • BA University of Winnipeg, 1996 


Research interests

  • Indigenous languages
  • Legacy of the Residential School
  • Linguicide

Selected publications

  • Fontaine, L. (Forthcoming). Finding Constitutional Space for First Nations’ Language Rights in Education: University of Manitoba Press. 
  • Fontaine, L. (2024) “Implementing Article 14 UNDRIP Rights and Responsibilities Indigenous Language Transmission. In Karen Drake et al (Eds) Critical Conversations in Public Law. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press. 
  • Fontaine, L. et al (2022) “Using the UN Human Rights Treaty System to Defend Linguistic Human Rights.” In Tove Skutnaab-Kangas and Robert Phillipson (Eds.) The Handbook of Linguistic Human Rights. Oxford: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 235-250. 
  • Fontaine, L. et al. (2021) “Extraordinary Times: History, Relationality and Indigenous Women’s Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” In A. O’Reilly & F. J. Green (Eds.), Mothers, Mothering, and COVID-19: Dispatches from the Pandemic. Toronto: Demeter Press. 479-496. 
  • Fontaine, Lorena Sekwan, et al. (2019) Listening to First Nations Women’s Expressions of Heart Health: Mite Achimowin Digital Storytelling Study, International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 78:1, DOI: 10.1080/22423982.2019.1630233 1- 10. 
  • Fontaine, Lorena Sekwan, (2019) “Our Languages Are Sacred. Indigenous Language Rights in Canada.” In John Borrows, Larry Chartrand and Oonagh E. Fitzgerald. Braiding Legal Orders. Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Montreal: McGill Queen Press. 93-100. 
  • Fontaine, L. Sekwan (2017) “Redress of Linguicide. Residential Schools and Assimilation in Canada.” British Journal of Canadian Studies. Volume 30. Issue 2. 183-205.
  • Fontaine, L. and Pitawankwat, B. (2016). Intergenerational Legacies of Loss and Revitalization: Cree and Ojibway Languages in Canada. In Delyn Day, Poia Rewi and Rawinia Higgins (Eds.) The Journeys of Besieged Languages: United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars. 16-33. 
  • Fontaine, L. (2015). "Reflection post-Residential School Settlement Agreement: Expressions of Reconciliation: Looking Back Forward Looking" In Kristin Burnett and Geoff Read (Eds.) Aboriginal History: A Reader, Second Edition, Don Mills: Oxford University Press. 263-274. 
  • Fontaine, L. et al. (2014). Nimamasak: The Legacy of First nations Women Honouring Mothers and Motherhood. In Dawn Memee Lavell-Harvard and Kim Anderson (Eds.) Mothers of the Nations: Indigenous Mothering as Global Resistance, Reclaiming and Recovery, Toronto: Demeter Press. 251-266. 


  • 2022 - Canada Fulbright Research Chair at San Diego State University
  • 2022 - Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal 

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