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The Indigenous Student Centre team
The Indigenous Student Centre is responsible for welcoming and supporting Indigenous students, as well as providing opportunities for students to learn about First Nations, Inuit and Métis culture.
Indigenous Student Centre advisors
Student advisors at the Indigenous Student Centre are here to help you achieve your academic goals. We can help you create an academic plan, clarify university policies and we can connect you with important services, resources and programming.
Indigenous Student Centre advisors are available:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Please call (204) 474-8850 or send an email to email@example.com to make an appointment today.
Drop-ins are also welcome but are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are dependent on the availability of the student advisor. These hours may be affected by COVID-19. Please contact us for more information.
Indigenous Student Centre Mission Statement
Our mission as Indigenous student advisors is to provide holistic and culturally-grounded advising services for Indigenous students, where we consider mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and cultural well-being.
We are guided by the Seven Sacred Teachings in everything we do:
Obaadendiziwin (Humility) - Mai'iingan (Wolf)
Zaagidiwin (Love) - Migizii (Eagle)
Gwekwaadziwin (Honesty) - Sa'be
Nbwaakawin (Wisdom) - Amik (Beaver)
Aakwaakade'ewin (Courage) - Makwa (Bear)
Debwewin (Truth) - Mikinaak (Turtle)
Mnaadendimowin (Respect) - Mashkodebizhike (Buffalo)
Indigenous student advisors strive to achieve this mission by:
- creating space that is welcoming, family-centered and safe, where students can be themselves, demonstrate pride in, learn and expand awareness of their cultures and their peoples
- supporting students with transitions to and within the university
- teaching students how to be self-determining in their academic paths
- providing accurate information and interpreting policy in a courteous and timely manner
- acting as liaisons between students and their bands, faculties, families and professors
- advocating for the needs of students to ensure that students have fair and equitable access to university services and resources
- knowing our limitations and providing referrals to appropriate services whenever necessary
- empowering students to recognize and use their strengths
Contact Carla for:
Neechiwaken peer mentorship program
Qualico Bridge to Success
Carla Loewen is a member of the Mathis Colomb Cree Nation and has been a student advisor at the University of Manitoba since 2005. She is the program facilitator of the Qualico Bridge to Success and Neechiwaken Indigenous Peer Mentor Programs. Loewen completed her Master of Education degree in 2016 in adult and post-secondary education and examined student retention and student development theory in relation to peer mentoring and its connection to Indigenous student success. She holds additional degrees in education (2001) and arts (2003).
Contact Justin for:
Indigenous Circle of Empowerment
Justin Rasmussen is Métis and he grew up in Ile Des Chênes. Justin coordinates the Indigenous Circle of Empowerment student leadership development program at the Indigenous Student Centre. In 2014, Rasmussen received his PhD in biological sciences from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a BSc in geography in 2003, and from the University of Manitoba with a BSc in zoology in 2006, and an MSc in zoology in 2008. Justin is dedicated to supporting students in a holistic learning environment and providing students with an outstanding post-secondary experience.
Contact Vanessa for:
Student and cultural support
In her role as a student advisor at Indigenous Student Centre, Vanessa Lillie splits her time between the Faculty of Arts General Office on the third floor of Fletcher Argue, and 254 Migizii Agamik -- Bald Eagle Lodge. Lillie is Cree from Peguis. She earned a BA (Honours) in psychology from UM in the spring of 2016. Outside of work, Lillie is involved in volunteering with Indigenous organizations, service learning organizations like the Child Rising Mentorship Program and Community Action Poverty Simulation, and research projects like Community Health and Information Partnerships. Lillie believes in a holistic, strength-based model of support where each student finds balance in order to succeed, develop and grow.
Contact Denise for:
Denise Proulx is Métis from Winnipeg and is a proud first generation alum of the University of Manitoba, earning a bachelor of arts degree in 1999. Proulx is responsible for the development and implementation of the EmpoweringU Financial Wellness Program and the Blankstein Momentum Program. Proulx is passionate about providing opportunities that aim to support Indigenous student success. She is an advocate for celebrating achievements, both large and small.
We work to attract and retain more Indigenous students, faculty and staff, to incorporate Indigenous perspectives and knowledge within UM's program offerings and to honour First Nations, Métis and Inuit traditions and cultures on our campuses.
Ruth Shead is a member of Peguis First Nation and is honoured to be named after her grandma Ruth, a Residential School Survivor who, despite not receiving an education herself, instilled the value of lifelong learning into her family. Ruth began working as the coordinator of Indigenous Achievement at UM in 2014. She is passionate about advancing the university’s commitments to Indigenous students and communities, sharing Indigenous knowledge(s) and research and celebrating First Nations, Métis and Inuit successes.
Sarah Olson was born in Treaty 1 territory and is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. She started her role at the Office of Indigenous Achievement in 2018 as the project assistant on the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint. Sarah completed her Bachelor of Arts (Adv.) in Psychology and Native Studies in 2016 and is pursuing a Master of Arts in the Department of Native Studies. Her research focuses on the ongoing misrepresentation of Indigenous women in Canadian society as a contributing factor of MMIWG2S and systemic oppression, and on the collective reclamation of narrative and voice.
Nickita Longman is a Saulteaux woman from George Gordon First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory. Following in her mother and older sister's footsteps, Nickita obtained her undergraduate degree in English Literature from First Nations University of Canada in 2013. In 2018, Nickita was honoured to be nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Community Involvement.
Nickita has great respect and interest in Indigenous activism in Treaty 1 Territory. She lives with her partner and her cat in Winnipeg's West End.
Val Parker has worked at UM for more than 25 years in various administrative, service and managerial roles at both the Fort Garry and Bannatyne campuses. Val’s commitment to supporting student engagement comes from her strong belief in the mission of her current office and from working closely with students, staff and faculty in every role she has filled at the University of Manitoba. Outside of the university, Val and her partner Rob have been lifelong Winnipeg Jets fans and can usually be found cheering loudly at Bell MTS Place or any other location the Jets are playing.
Andrea Williams is a proud Metis woman from Winnipeg. Andrea has worked for the Indigenous Student Centre since making her return back to Canada after living, working and raising her twin boys in the United States for the past 20 years. She has spent most of her career with the US Federal Government. Andrea joined our team in October 2020.