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Indigenous Education Initiatives


New OISE Dean’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Education
In January 2017, Dean Glen Jones announced the creation of the Dean's Advisory Council on Indigenous Education (DACIE). The Council was established following consultations with OISE's Indigenous faculty with an interest to meet on a monthly basis to provide advice as a collective on Indigenous Education Initiatives. The membership of the Council has agreed to meet monthly with a rotating chair.
Membership of DACIE includes:
Martin Cannon, Associate Professor (SJE)
Jean-Paul Restoule, Associate Professor (LHAE)
Sandra Styres, Assistant Professor (CTL)
Eve Tuck, Associate Professor (SJE)
Stephanie Waterman, Associate Professor (LHAE)
Glen A. Jones, Professor and Dean

Special Statement from Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, William A MacDonald, Q.C. Distinguished Fellow and Adjunct Professor - OISE Global Indigenous Education Initiative

I am honoured to be the first William A. MacDonald Q.C. Distinguished Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.  Meeting students and faculty at OISE has been a great privilege, and I am excited about the possibilities of supporting the incredible work and scholarship happening here.  I look forward to the opportunity to work with Dean Julia O’Sullivan, faculty members, and students to support Indigenous education research in Canada and around the world.  Indigenous students deserve and need this support, and Canadians in turn stand to benefit tremendously from their increased understanding and awareness of Indigenous traditions...(read in full)


OISE has received a $5-million gift from an anonymous donor to strengthen Indigenous education research in Canada. The gift, which is the largest donation ever made to a Canadian faculty of education for Indigenous education research, will establish a prestigious fellowship and launch a comprehensive five-year initiative exploring the educational needs and aspirations of Indigenous peoples.... more

OISE is a leader in Aboriginal education and among the first Canadian faculties of education to prioritize indigenous values and educational research following the signing of the Accord on Indigenous Education by the Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE) in June 2010. The accord was developed to create a respectful and inclusive education curriculum that reflects the needs of Aboriginal people.  Here is a brief introduction to some of the Aboriginal Initiatives at OISE:

Special Advisor to the Dean on Aboriginal Education

In 2011, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE) announced the appointment of Dr. Suzanne L. Stewart of the Yellowknife Dene First Nation as OISE’s first Special Advisor to the Dean on Aboriginal Education. This position was established in consultation with the Aboriginal scholars at OISE and with Anishnawbe Health Toronto, and was given the spiritual name Kitchae kaetae bojinanon (Great dreams from long ago). Suzanne was also given a new spiritual name, Medicine Hand, to help guide the success of the initiative.  In her role, Suzanne works with local Aboriginal mental health organizations and is consulted regularly with regional, national, and international health and government organizations. She is Chair of the Aboriginal Section of the Canadian Psychology Association and Special Advisory to the Dean on Aboriginal Education. 

Suzanne L. Stewart is an associate professor in the department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology.  Suzanne began her appointment at OISE in 2007, following completion of her PhD in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria. Her research and teaching expertise include Indigenous mental health and healing, and Indigenous pedagogies in education. Among other courses, she teaches Special Topics in Counselling Psychology: Integrating Traditional Healing Practices into Counselling and PsychotherapySuzanne coordinates the Indigenous Education Network based at OISE, and works within local Native communities and shares her experiences with regional, national, and international health and government organizations. 

Aboriginal Community Council

In 2011, a community-based Aboriginal Council was established to advise on institutional policies, procedures, practices and programs to ensure they reflect and respect the interests and needs of Aboriginal communities and meet the need for the increasingly diverse and international perspectives in education that globalized student populations require.  OISE’s senior academic team is committed to establishing principles, protocol and process to consider Council’s recommendations and to seek advice from Council on Aboriginal education initiatives under consideration at OISE.   

The Indigenous Education Network (IEN)

Since 1989 the Indigenous Education Network (IEN) of students, faculty and community members who share a common commitment to and passion for Indigenous education and research have provided an Indigenous presence at OISE and a forum for ongoing and dynamic discussion, action and change. Specifically, the Indigenous Education Network:

  • Supports students and their study interests in Indigenous education.
  • Advances education research on Indigenous issues.
  • Actively encourages the development of Indigenous curriculum.
  • Collaborates with campus and community groups to strengthen initiatives related to our mission.

Every month the IEN holds in-formal meetings as a way for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to get to know one another, establish relationships and friendships and stay up-to-date on events that are taking place at the IEN, at OISE and across the UofT campus.


Infusing the history and traditions of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Native American cultures, information about the challenges facing Aboriginal communities today, and curricula for incorporating this information into all levels of education is central to OISE's Aboriginal Inititiaves.  Examples include: 

  • MOOC – OISE’s first Massive Open Online Course, Aboriginal Worldviews and Education. More than 25,000 people around the world enrolled.  This course marked a great professional development opportunity for participants to develop a deeper appreciation and respect for the histories, cultures, values, and contemporary realities of Aboriginal peoples.
  • Deepening Knowledge Project – The Deepening Knowledge Project seeks to infuse Aboriginal peoples' histories, knowledges and pedagogies into all levels of education in Canada.  The project is a part of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, which is located on the territories of Anishinaabe and Onkwehonwe peoples.
  • Graduate courses at OISE include:
    Indigenous Healing in Counselling and Psychoeducation
    Foundations of Aboriginal Education in Canada
    Implications for Education: Aboriginal World Views
    Aboriginal Community Learning
    Integrating Traditional Healing Practices into Counselling and Psychotherapy

    Centering Indigenous-Settler Solidarity in Theory and Research
    Race, Indigenous Citizenship and Self-Determination: Decolonizing Perspectives


Many faculty at OISE (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) address Aboriginal issues in their research. Some examples include:

  • Indigenous mental health and healing
  • Urban Aboriginal identity
  • Access to post-secondary education for Aboriginal people
  • Racism, including sex discrimination in Canada's Indian Act
  • Land-centered approaches to language, literacy, and curriculum
  • Language development
  • Teaching and learning reading in First Nation schools

For more information about Aboriginal Initiatives at OISE, contact suzanne.stewart@utoronto.ca.



Our Aboriginal faculty members are available to offer support, advice and answer questions on matters relating to academics, research, advising and anything in between. We encourage you to connect with them.

Dr. Suzanne L. Stewart, PhD, C. Psych
Twitter: @SuzanneLStewart

Picture of Doctor Suzanne Stewart

Suzanne is a member of the Yellowknife Dene First Nation. She is a mother of four children. She is a psychologist and Associate Professor of Indigenous healing in Counselling Psychology at OISE/University of Toronto, where she is also Special Advisor the Dean on Aboriginal Education and the Chair of the Indigenous Education Network.

Research and teaching interest includes Indigenous mental health and healing in psychology (homelessness, youth mental health, identity, and work-life development), and Indigenous pedagogies in teacher education and higher education and psychotherapy practice/training. She is also Chair of the Aboriginal Section of the Canadian Psychology Association and is committed to advancing Indigenous healing issues through the discipline of psychology.

Media Appearances:

OISE: Professor Suzanne Stewart on Aboriginal Education

Place-Based Learning in Aboriginal Communities

First Nation Transitions to Post-Secondary

Should Kids Really "Follow Their Dreams"?


Dr. Jean-Paul Restoule, PhD

Picture of Doctor jean-Paul Restoule

Jean-Paul Restoule is a member of the Dokis First Nation. He is associate professor of Aboriginal Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. He has been a member of OISE’s Indigenous Education Network since 1998 and was a co-chair of the network for 7 years. He co-founded SAGE Ontario, a peer support group for graduate students whose research involves Aboriginal communities, and is an original member of the OISE working group to infuse teacher education with Aboriginal perspectives called Deepening Knowledge, Enhancing Instruction.

He’s contributed to research on urban Aboriginal identity, HIV prevention messaging in Aboriginal communities, access to post-secondary education for Aboriginal people, and curriculum development with Aboriginal perspectives.

Media Appearances:

Aboriginal Education and The Changing Aboriginal Population

Issues for Teachers: Chapter 4


Dr. Martin Cannon, PhD

Picture of Doctor Martin Cannon

Martin Cannon is a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Six Nations at Grand River Territory. He is Associate Professor of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto, Canada.

His published work has focused on the complexity of challenges facing educators charged with decolonizing education and bringing Indigenous knowledge into the academy, colonial dominance and racism, including sex discrimination in Canada's Indian Act.

He has been an advocate for legislative changes to colonial policy, and has worked with organizations like the Native Women's Association of Canada, Union of Ontario Indians, and the National Centre for First Nations Governance. His book "Racism, Colonialism, and Indigeneity in Canada", is co-edited with Dr Lina Sunseri and is published by Oxford University Press.  His forthcoming book Undoing Citizenship Injustice: Racism, Sexism and Indian Status in Canada is currently under revision with the University of Toronto Press.