An election is being conducted for five (5) new Indigenous Senators to sit on the University of Manitoba Senate. 

Online voting will be open from 8:30 AM CT on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 to 4:30 PM CT on Monday, March 21, 2022.

On April 7, 2021 the University of Manitoba Senate approved the addition of five Indigenousi Senators to the membership of Senate over and above any Indigenous Senators already serving on Senate as representatives for their respective Faculty and School Councils. This addition is intended to add Indigenous participation in Senate governance and is not to preclude Indigenous Senators to continue to be elected by individual Faculty and School Councils as well.

As such, and in keeping with the mechanisms available under the Standing Rules of Senate Relating to Members Elected Under Section 27 of the University of Manitoba Act,  an election is being held to select five (5) Indigenous Senators as voting members of the University of Manitoba Senate

For the first election only, the three nominees receiving the greatest number of votes will be elected for a 3-year term and the two nominees receiving the 4th and 5th number of votes respectively will be elected for a 2-year term.  These terms will be from June 1, 2022 to May 31, 2025 and May 31, 2024 respectively.  This one-time process is to ensure that there is continuity and succession planning across Senate and is in accordance with Section 27(2) of The University of Manitoba Act.

Indigenous Senators Election Timeline

November 8, 2021       Call for Nominations Opens

January 21, 2022         Nominations must be received by 12:00 PM CT

February 16, 2022        Nominees are announced to Faculty and School Councils

March 1, 2022              Voting Period Opens at 8:30 AM CT

March 21, 2022            Voting Period Closes at 4:30 PM CT

March 30, 2022            Newly elected Indigenous Senators are announced

June 1, 2022                 Senate Term Begins


i For the purposes of these elections, Indigenous means those individuals having historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies in Canada and their relatives across the border with the United States who regard themselves as part of the same nations (adapted from the United Nations definition of Indigenous).

Election Results


2-year terms (June 1, 2022 - May 31, 2024)

Debra Beach Ducharme

Mélanie Morris

3-year terms (June 1, 2022 - May 31, 2025)

Marcia Anderson

Margaret Hart

Jeremy Patzer

Meet the Candidates

Below are the biographies for the nominees for Indigenous Senator. Nominees have provided their own biographies.

Marcia Anderson

Dr. Marcia Anderson is Cree-Anishinaabe and grew up in the North End of Winnipeg. Her family roots are in Peguis First Nation and Norway House Cree Nation. She is appointed as Vice-Dean Indigenous Health, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She first joined the university in 2007 and then in 2011 became head of the Section of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Health. 

Dr. Anderson is a medical officer of health for the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Indigenous Services Canada, a past president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada and past chair of the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress. Since 2017 has served as executive director, Indigenous academic affairs, Ongomiizwin-Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing. She currently serves as the Chair of the National Consortium for Indigenous Medical Education.

In 2015, following the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final reports, Dr. Anderson led the faculty-wide workshop and the subsequent creation of five working groups to develop the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences’ Reconciliation Action Plan.

Throughout her career, Dr. Anderson has advocated for a more robust curriculum in Indigenous health and changes in the admissions process that would support the successful recruitment of increased numbers of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.  She was recognized for her efforts in 2011 with a National Aboriginal Achievement Award (now known as the Indspire Awards) and was named as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2018 by Women’s Executive Network.  In 2021, she received the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award.

Debra Beach Ducharme

Debra Beach Ducharme received a Bachelor of Education in 1985, a Post Baccalaureate in 1996, and Masters degree in 2009, all from the University of Manitoba. Her work experience includes classroom teacher, counsellor, consultant, director and administrator at various schools in the city of Winnipeg. 

Her passion is supporting her community through advocacy for revitalizing Indigenous world-views, languages and culture. This experience has enabled her to develop a solid background in human resource management, curriculum and policy development, accompanied by in-house training programs in restorative practices and reconciliation, conflict resolution and team building. 

As board member with the Manitoba First Nations Resource Center (MFNERC), Debra Beach Ducharme was provided an opportunity to advocate for First Nation communities in forming a First Nation School Division. Presently, she is the Director of Indigenous Health Integration at the Ongomiiziwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. Debra works with the deans in five health colleges, implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the University of Manitoba’s 5 year strategic plan.

Margaret Hart

Margaret Hart is from Cross Lake First Nation. She is fluent in Ninowewin. Margaret has worked in Indigenous Education for twenty years. Her teaching career includes elementary, middle years and high school teaching experiences in Northern Manitoba.

In the last decade, Margaret has been a numeracy specialist for the Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre. Margaret is one of the original team members in the development of the Manitoba First Nation School System. MFNSS is a First Nations-led initiative to create a new, culturally relevant, high-quality education system for First Nation students. She works with varied teams of educators throughout Manitoba to promote effective math programming, community development, and Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Margaret has worked in more than 30 First Nation communicates throughout her career working alongside First Nation community, elders, and knowledge keepers. Margaret received her Bachelor of Education from Brandon University. She obtained from her Masters of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the University of Manitoba. She will continue to obtain and work towards her PhD in Education.

Margaret strives to change the educational experiences for First Nation teachers and students, when engaging with curriculum. She recently joined the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences as an Instructor II. She is contributing to Indigenous curriculum development and supports for Indigenous students in the Master of Occupational Therapy program.

Melanie Morris

Dr. Melanie Morris is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Pediatrics and Child Health and was the first Indigenous pediatric surgeon in Canada.  She created a minimally invasive program in pediatric urology that helps avoid having to send children out of province for treatment and has published research in pediatric surgery, urology, congenital illnesses, and Indigenous health. She was appointed as the first Indigenous Lead role within the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba in 2019.

Dr. Morris, who is of Métis heritage, mentors Indigenous medical learners within RFHS and has been instrumental in spearheading the transformation of the Children’s Hospital to a culturally safe space for Indigenous children and their families, by developing a new Indigenous Community Healing Space that will allow families to nurture their whole self, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Helping found the Winnipeg Global Surgery Office, Dr. Morris currently serves as Medical Director.  Melanie has supported teaching and training in Kenya and Uganda, created outreach clinics in Nunavut, received a cross appointment as Associate Professor at UBC to teach in the Masters in Global Surgery and is a mentor in the Gender Equity Initiative in Global Surgery to address gender disparities in the surgery, obstetrics, and anesthesia (SAO) workforce worldwide. She advises the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada on incorporating Indigenous Health into surgical education.

Dr. Morris has recently been awarded the Pediatric Chairs of Canada (PCC) 2021 Emerging Academic Leader Award, the Ongomiizwin Health Services Award for Respect, the Manitoba 150 Award and was named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2021.

Jeremy Patzer

Jeremy Patzer (BA, BEd, MA, PhD) completed his PhD in sociology at Carleton University and joined the Department of Sociology and Criminology in 2016. He is also adjunct with the Department of Indigenous Studies. Patzer is Metis, Saulteaux, and German, with roots in the West Interlake region of Manitoba. (Indigenous family names are Spence, Monkman, Pottinger, and Dumas.) A citizen of the Manitoba Metis Federation, Patzer still owns land on the family
farm in the Vogar Metis Local, just outside Lake Manitoba First Nation, and has family ties to members of Peguis and Sagkeeng First Nations.

Having experienced firsthand the conflict and contention created by the non-recognition of Metis constitutional rights prior to 2003, Patzer's research is centered on Indigenous rights and the forms of legal resolution employed by
contemporary settler state courts and governments. While much of his past research has concentrated on Aboriginal rights, treaty rights, and Aboriginal title in Canada, Patzer's recent research has extended further into international and comparative examinations of Indigenous rights. Patzer has published with multiple university/academic presses and journals, including the International Journal of Human Rights.

He has engaged in a range of academic service in several years, both internal and external to the university. Internal contributions include numerous search advisory committees; graduate program committees for both Soc|Crim and Indigenous Studies; Curriculum Committee (Soc|Crim); Faculty of Arts Indigenous Content Requirement Committee; Social Work, Law, Police & Community Development Committee; and, most recently, the Faculty of Arts Associate Dean (Indigenous) Search Advisory Committee.

Kathy Yerex

Kathy Yerex is a Métis woman with a tenure track position at the School of Dental Hygiene, Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. She obtained her Bachelor of Science (Honors) in 2002, diploma in dental hygiene in 2004 and Master of Science in Oral Biology (2021); all from the University of Manitoba. Prior to her academic position at the University of Manitoba in 2017, Kathy worked as a clinical dental hygienist in Winnipeg in private practice and long-term care and was the Oral Health Promotion Specialist for the University of Manitoba, Centre for Community Oral Health.

She is in her early stages of her research career. Her research interests are diverse with an overall focus on improving oral health whether that is directly through patient outcomes or indirectly through the education of students. Her current research interests include oral microbiome and its relationship to oral disease, the oral health of Canadian Indigenous children, and scholarship of teaching and learning. Her research has been funded locally and nationally.

Kathy is active in the dental hygiene profession as a director on the board for the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, a member of the Manitoba Dental Hygienists’ Association/School of Dental Hygiene Mentorship Program Committee and continues to serve on various local boards and university committees to give oral health and dental hygiene a voice.

Submit Your Vote

Voting is open to all voting members of University of Manitoba Faculty, School, and College Councils.  You may vote for up to five (5) candidates.

Employee numbers are being collected and must be entered to verify your ballot.  This is a secret ballot election and all personal information will be kept separate from your vote. Your vote will not be traceable back to you. Only ballots with completed information will be considered valid.