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Indigenous Education Month: Meet four members of the OISE community who are making an impact

By Kaitlyn Balkovec and Marianne Lau

November 30, 2018

November 1 marks the start of Indigenous Education Month. Throughout this month, OISE News will introduce you to Indigenous people from the OISE community who are making an impact in this important area. 


Sandi Wemigwase

Third-year doctoral student Sandi Wemigwase is seeking to improve universities for Indigenous students.

“I want to leave the place in a better condition than it was when I was there, so that the generations that come after me will have fewer challenges,” she says.

Wemigwase hopes that the success of Indigenous students within universities will pave the way for future generations of Indigenous people who are thinking about attending post-secondary institutions.

Read more about Wemigwase’s work in Indigenous education.

Dallas Fiddler

Dallas Fiddler

One of Dallas Fiddler’s passions is supporting Indigenous students in higher education.

The Research Projects Coordinator and Indigenous Community Liaison was motivated to advocate for change after experiencing the disparities between First Nations and provincially run schools.

“One of the many reasons why I do this work is to try and make it easier for Indigenous students to succeed in higher education institutions,” he says. “I want to help build a support system of people who have faced and overcome many of the same barriers as other Indigenous students.”

Read more about Fiddler’s work in Indigenous education.

Jennifer Brant

Jennifer Brant

As a teacher of future teachers, Dr. Jennifer Brant believes that educators have a powerful role to play in advancing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.

For Dr. Brant, it is important to teach educators how to incorporate Indigenous perspectives—which have often been left out of education altogether or presented in harmful ways—into their classrooms.

“As a child in school, I never saw reflections of my cultural identity, family, traditions, or vast contributions of Indigenous communities,” she says. “As an undergraduate student, whenever Indigenous content was presented – which was rare – it was done so in stereotypical ways. I am committed to changing this reality.”  

Read more about Dr. Brant’s work in Indigenous Education.

Fernanda Yanchapaxi

Fernanda Yanchapaxi

Doctoral student Fernanda Yanchapaxi is researching ways to protect Indigenous knowledges for future generations.

“When I got to graduate school, I realized that traditional Indigenous knowledges are often seen as less valid than other forms of knowledge in academia,” she said. “That is, until they are appropriated by non-Indigenous peoples, who then claim the knowledge as their own.”

This prompted the Ecuadorian-native to dive deeper into how Indigenous peoples use, create, and preserve their knowledges, and how the current intellectual property system is inadequate for protecting these knowledges.

Read more about Yanchapaxi’s work in Indigenous Education.