Kwayesk-astâsowin Mamawâpiwin

Nî yati kweskastanan kiskinawamakewinîhk 
Ni tapwewinan ekwa ni kiskenîtamowinan ôchi

April 7 & 8, 2021


University College of the North will be hosting the 5th Annual Truth and Reconciliation Gathering virtually on April 7 & 8, 2021. This year’s theme is, “Sharing Our Truth and Knowledge is Changing Academia”.  The gathering aims to hold discussions that build student and educator’s capacity for reciprocity, understanding, and relationship restoration.
Since the initial release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report in 2015, the efforts of the Canadian government, educational institutions, community organizations and Canadians have a responsibility within their actions in repairing the harms caused by residential school; but, unfortunately, much work is required. The TRC Gathering will focus on delivering the hidden truths of colonization by examining the pre- and post-residential school era. Uncovering these truths will lay a foundation for the much needed work centering reconciliation. The gathering will deliver ways in which academics are and can practice reciprocity, while gaining an understanding of historical wrongdoing with the goal of delivering a basis in relationship restoration. Attendees of the gathering will gain an understanding of the current state and the actions needed to move forward in a positive direction.


Express the historical truth and experience centering residential schools.
Teaching and learning strategies in becoming an active participant in reconciliation actions.
Provide examples of institutional and instructional strategies and practices for active participation in reconciliation.
Highlight indigegogy in practice. 


To gain knowledge of often hidden (or unknown) historical truths.
To become an active participant in reconciliation in academia.
To employ reconciliation practices at the course, program, and institutional levels.


Secondary and post-secondary students
Teachers, instructors, faculty, administrators
Business community
Community organizations
Residential school survivors
General public
UCN staff and students


Wednesday, April 7th 
Truth and History

9:00 – 9:30AM


Opening Prayer
Elder Mabel Bignell

Drum Song
Mary Azure-Laubmann

Welcome Remarks
Grand Chief Garrison Settee, MKO

Vice President Judith Mayer, MMF
Mayor Colleen Smook, City of Thompson
President Doug Lauvstad, UCN
Harvey Briggs, Reconciliation, Research and Academic Innovation, UCN
Melanie Belmore, TRC Gathering Chair

Ken Bighetty, KTC, Thompson

9:30 – 10:30AM

Pre-Residential Schools

Dr. Alex Wilson, Professor – Department of Educational Foundations, Academic Director of the Aboriginal Education Research Centre, University of Saskatchewan


Dr. Alex Wilson is Neyonawak Inniniwak from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. She is a professor with the Department of Educational Foundations and the Academic Director of the Aboriginal Education Research Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. 

Click here to read the full biography

She completed her BA (Psychology) from California State University, Sacramento in 1994; her EdM (Human Development and Psychology: Psycho-social and Cultural Development) from Harvard University in 1995; and an EdD (Human Development and Psychology) from Harvard University in 2007.

Dr. Wilson’s scholarship has greatly contributed to building and sharing knowledge about two spirit identity, history and teachings, Indigenous research methodologies, and the prevention of violence in the lives of Indigenous peoples. Her current projects include two spirit and Indigenous Feminisms research: Two-Spirit identity development and “Coming In” theory that impact pedagogy and educational policy; studies on two spirit people and homelessness; and an International study on Indigenous land-based education.

Dr. Wilson is one of many organizers with the Idle No More movement, integrating radical education movement work with grassroots interventions that prevent the destruction of land and water. She is particularly focused on educating about and protecting the Saskatchewan River Delta and supporting community based food sovereignty efforts. Having co-developed a Masters program in Land-Based Education at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Wilson is now in the process of creating an international Indigenous Land –based PhD program.

Dr. Wilson is a recipient of the University of Saskatchewan Provost’s Award in Aboriginal Education for connecting research to pedagogy and practice and the Avenue Community Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity’s 2014 Affinity community service award; the 2015 Provost’s Award for Community Outreach and Engagement;  2016 Nellie Award; and, the 2016 Peter Corren Award. She was recently recognized by the Legislature of Manitoba for her extensive ongoing work with Indigenous communities revitalizing Cree culture through land based education.


10:45 – 11:45AM

Residential School System

Edwin Jebb, University College of the North


Edwin Jebb is currently Chancellor with The University College  of North as well an elected Councillor with Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

Click here to read the full biography

Edwin Jebb is a retired educator with Kelsey School Division, Swampy Cree Tribal Council, Chemawawin Educational Authority and  Opaskwayak Education Authority, having graduated from the University of Manitoba.   He has served on numerous Boards both locally and provincially. He beliefs in a healthy life style and spends much time out in the land, trapping, hunting and fishing as well as gathering medicines.

Edwin Jebb left home at the age of 6 to attend Residential School for 9 years.   With this experience he has volunteered in the healing of the communities, including at least 25 years with the Guy Hill Gathering for Indian Residential School Survivors and their families. 

Edwin has received many awards including the Order of Manitoba in 2002.


Dr. Jennie Wastesicoot, University College of the North


Jennie Wastesicoot received her PhD from the University of Manitoba in 2015. She attended the Mackay Indian Residential School where she learned to adapt to a new way of life that was often challenging.

Click here to read the full biography

Determined not to forget what her family had instilled in her, she maintains a strong connection with her culture working with Elders, her constant advisors. Jennie teaches at the University College of the North and is a member to York Factory First Nation and former member to the Chemawawin Cree Nation.    


11:45AM – 1:00PM

Lunch | Faculty Presentations
Gary Melko, Dean of Trade and Technology
Abayomi Oredegbe, Faculty of Arts, Business and Science
Lynette Plett, Associate Vice President, Access at UCN


1:00 – 2:00PM

Métis Community After Residential School

Vanda Fleury-Green, Braiding Histories Inc.


Vanda is a Métis woman from the prairies of western MB. Her ancestral homelands extend from Red River throughout the Assiniboine valley with family roots in Uno, a section on the railway near historic Fort Ellice. 

Click here to read the full biography

Vanda connects to the land through Photo Narrative and her photographs of Birtle Residential School appeared in the magazine, Locale: Bringing Heritage to Life. The lens of resiliency remains meaningful to her and she supports Indigenous voices and community storywork through her work in video production. Vanda’s three children are her greatest source of inspiration.


2:15 – 3:45PM

Indigenous Jurisdiction – Child and Family, Bill C92

Shirley Allarie, Child Welfare Secretariat Director, MKO


Shirley Allarie is the Director of the Child Welfare Secretariat (CWS) for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO). Over the last 20 years, Shirley has worked in the field of child and family services. 

Click here to read the full biography

These experiences include child welfare at the grassroots level from Frontline, Supervisor and Co-Executive Director, and positions with the Northern Authority and the Child Protection Branch with the Government of Manitoba. 

Shirley’s education includes a Bachelor of Social Work Degree; Advanced Counselling and Focus on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Certificate; and a Business Administrative Certificate from Red River College and studies on her Master of Social Work in policy. Shirley has obtained training as a police officer from the RCMP D Division and served over six years as a police officer in the north. Shirley has had the opportunity to work in the areas of Management, Child Welfare, Mental Health, Social Services and Education. 

As an Aboriginal Cree woman from Tataskweyak, Shirley prides herself on her integrity and ability to build trusting working relationships within leadership, staff, communities and stakeholders.


3:45 – 4:00PM

Closing Prayer & Remarks

Closing Prayer
Elder Mabel Bignell

Ken Bighetty, KTC, Thompson

Thursday, April 8th

9:00 – 9:15AM


Opening Prayer
Elder Martha Jonasson

Drum Song
Mary Azure-Laubmann

Jenna Brown, UCN, The Pas

9:15 – 10:15AM

Reconciliation and Curriculum 

Laura Ayres, UCN Early Childhood Education Program


Laura Ayres has worked in the field of Early Childhood Education (ECE) for over 20 years.  She is currently the Program Coordinator for the UCN ECE program which she has held for the last eight years. She was a member of the committee to Indigenize the Manitoba ECE curriculum for all the Manitoba ECE training colleges.  

Click here to read the full biography

Laura will share how the UCN ECE Faculty have shared their knowledge by hosting the Manitoba Colleges of Early Childhood Education Conferences with an emphasis on participants experiencing indigenous culture.

Laura will also share how the UCN ECE programs is an outcome/competency-based program with emphasis placed on learning within the context of Northern Manitoba and, in particular, within Aboriginal communities.  The program emphasises affirmation of Aboriginal world views, values, perspectives, and traditions as an integral part of the program.


10:30 – 11:30AM

Indigenization in Post-Secondary Institutions 

Kory Wilson, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, BCIT


Kory is Executive Director of Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships at BCIT, as well as a lawyer, Kwakwaka’wakw, writer, speaker and educator.

Click here to read the full biography

Kory has designed and taught many innovative programs and courses such as Langara College’s Haida Gwaii Field School and Aboriginal Studies program and SFU’s Good Governance, Moving Beyond the Indian Act course, among many others. She was instrumental in the creation of six open-sourced BC Campus Indigenization Guides and recently created and launched the BCIT Indigenous Vision. Kory, a sought after advocate for Reconciliation, assists BCIT in Indigenous awareness training, cultural activities, policy reviews, hiring and student support. Kory serves on more than 10 non-profit boards and as a founding member of UBC’s President’s Advisory Committee, has been involved in two UBC Indigenous Strategic Plans.


11:30AM – 1:00PM

Lunch | Faculty Presentations
Ramona Neckaway, Centre for Aboriginal Languages & Culture
Keith Hyde, Faculty of Arts, Business and Science
Brenda Firman, Faculty of Education

Booking Reading
Brenda Wastasecoot, University of Toronto


1:00 – 2:00PM

Indigenous Strategy in Action

Michael Hart, University of Calgary


Dr. Michael Hart is a proud citizen of Fisher River Cree Nation in central Turtle Island. In 2018 he moved to the University of Calgary to be the inaugural Vice-Provost of Indigenous Engagement, and professor in Faculty of Social Work.

Click here to read the full biography

Previously, he held a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledges and Social Work through the University of Manitoba from 2012 to 2018. Dr. Hart lead the development of the Master of Social Work in Indigenous Knowledges program at the University of Manitoba and was the first Director of the program. His research focuses on Indigenist helping perspectives, theories, and practices. He holds a BSW, MSW and PhD in Social Work from the University of Manitoba, as well as a BA in Psychology from the University of Manitoba. While he has always been involved in Cree ways of being through the guidance of his family and Elders, he has been actively learning Indigenous ceremonial practices focused on well-being for over three decades, with a focus on Cree concepts such as wîcihitowin, mîno-pimâtisiwin, and mamatawisowin.


2:15 – 3:15PM

Reconciliation in Treaty 5 Territory
Louis Harper, Treaty 5
Walter Spence, Treaty 5


3:15 – 3:30PM

Closing Prayer & Remarks

Closing Prayer
Elder Martha Jonasson

Jenna Brown, UCN, The Pas


If you have questions about the Conference,
please contact us:

Kelly Forgala, Event Manager | 204-391-4419

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