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Indigenous Awards of Excellence recipients from left to right: Cody Gonsalves (accepting for Dr. Wanda Wuttunee), Kristen Pot, Carly McLellan, Bobby McNair, Dr. Barry Lavallee, Linda Diffey, Amanda Fredlund, Alannah Mckay, Noah Wilson, Peter Pomart.

Ten individuals honoured at second annual Indigenous Awards of Excellence

March 9, 2018 — 

The Office of Indigenous Engagement is thrilled to announce the recipients of the second annual Indigenous Awards of Excellence. These awards recognize the tremendous accomplishments of Indigenous students – and for the first time – faculty and support staff, who are going above and beyond to make the University of Manitoba an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

The three student categories are Community Builder, Outstanding Achievement and Trailblazer. The Community Builder award goes to students who exemplify collaboration and collegiality; the Outstanding Achievement award recognizes students with high academic standing and contribution to the community; and the Trailblazer award honours students for their leadership and visionary thinking.

The faculty award (Trailblazer) is presented to Indigenous faculty members who advance Indigenous pedagogy, research and scholarship; help foster a greater understanding of Indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditions on campus; and demonstrate visionary thinking that has resulted in advancing Indigenous engagement at the U of M.

The support staff award (Community Builder) is given to those who strengthen connections with Indigenous communities; build a culturally rich, safe and supportive learning and work environment; and help create a space in which Indigenous students, faculty and staff succeed.

The recipients were honoured at an afternoon celebration on Thursday, March 8 as part of Indigenous Awareness Month.

The recipients are:

Community Builder: Amanda Fredlund
Faculty: Arts

As current female co-president of the University of Manitoba Aboriginal Students’ Association (UMASA), Fredlund is an inspiring role model for other Indigenous men and women studying at the university. She initiated an Indigenous women’s council for UMASA, ensuring women are in leadership roles within the community. She’s also been a leader in creating countless learning opportunities such as beading workshops, sweats, Indigenous paint nights, and traditional pottery workshops, bringing cultural teachings to U of M students.

Community Builder: Kristen Pot
Faculty: Nursing

Pot was instrumental in the development of Orange Shirt Day on campus, bringing awareness of the harms done through Residential Schools. Pot also worked with the Nursing Students Association and College of Nursing to showcase traditional items in the Helen Glass building, as a symbol of community, pride, and an acknowledgement of U of M’s place on Treaty 1 Territory. Additionally, Pot helped organize the “Building Bridges” workshop to teach students about the harms of Residential Schools and historical trauma.

Outstanding Achievement: Bobby McNair
Faculty: Agricultural and Food Sciences

McNair serves as treasurer for the Metis University Students Association (MUSA). Aside from his role with MUSA, he participates in Fireside Chats at the Indigenous Student Centre, he’s a member of the Neechiwaken Peer Mentor Program, and is on the Bison Men’s Golf Team . McNair has applied to medicine for fall 2018. He wants to create a Métis student group on the Bannatyne campus as a way to continue exploring and strengthening his identity, while helping others do the same.

Outstanding Achievement: Noah Wilson
Faculty: Arts

Wilson is a fourth-year Faculty of Arts student studying Indigenous Governance. Outside of his course work, he has been a part of planning U of M’s Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering, has been an executive member of UMASA for two years, and is the University of Manitoba Students Union (UMSU) Indigenous representative. Wilson has spearheaded multiple initiatives, including the ReconciliAction Campaign. An advocate for students, Wilson helps to promote an Indigenous connection to culture on campus through speaker series and workshops.

Trailblazer: Alannah Mckay
Faculty: Arts

Mckay is recognized by her peers as someone who wholeheartedly embraces new students and makes them feel at home at the U of M. Once a self-proclaimed shy student, she now uses her voice and personal story to mentor others. In her role as director of finance for UMASA, Mckay works tirelessly to maintain efficiency, while also assisting with the planning and promotion of recreational, political, social and cultural events. She has also played an integral role in bringing the ReconciliAcation Campaign into fruition.

Trailblazer: Carly McLellan
Faculty: Max Rady College of Medicine

McLellan is determined to let Indigenous med school applicants know they are a priority at the U of M. By voicing her experiences with interview process for admission into the Max Rady College of Medicine, McLellan has advocated for positive changes that will provide a more welcoming and inclusive environment for future Indigenous applicants. McLellan has also been involved with the development of a ‘toolkit’ for health sciences students to use during their northern remote rotations. The ‘toolkit’ facilitates presentations that encourage community students to consider a health career.

Faculty award: Dr. Barry Lavallee

Position: Director, Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing; Lead, Indigenous Health Longitudinal Course, Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

Dr. Lavallee has been a long-time mentor to Indigenous health professionals, students and Indigenous medical educators. When the Max Rady College of Medicine underwent a curriculum renewal 4-5 years ago, Dr. Lavallee was a key advocate who highlighted that the roughly 10 hours of Indigenous health content the medical students were receiving over four years was not enough to prepare them to provide anti-racist, high quality, culturally safe care to Indigenous patients. Due to this advocacy, Dr. Lavallee became the first course director of the Indigenous Health Longitudinal course, with roughly 70 hours of teaching time.

Faculty award: Dr. Wanda Wuttunee
Position: Professor, Native Studies

Dr. Wuttunee has created bridges to bring together Native Studies with the I.H. Asper School of Business MBA program. A few examples include the creation of the Exploring Indigenous Economy reading course, as well as the Indigenous Economy/Business major for MBA students. Her visionary ideas have allowed Indigenous students in the MBA program opportunities to connect with business leaders, explore Indigenous-related issues, and research Indigenous economic development.

Support staff award: Peter Pomart
Position: Director, Indigenous Business Education Partners, I.H. Asper School of Business

Pomart is recognized for creating a culturally rich, safe and supportive environment for Indigenous students in the I.H. Asper School of Business. He has also earned a reputation as a trusted voice for non-Indigenous support staff and academics who are interested in exploring Indigenous perspectives in their work or teaching. He served as founding co-chair for Gaa wi’i ji’i diyaang – a committee of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working towards creating a just U of M community through relationship building, education, advocacy and action.

Support staff award: Linda Diffey

Position: Coordinator, Indigenous Health Longitudinal Course, Max Rady College of Medicine/Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing

Diffey has been involved in Indigenous health in the Max Rady College of Medicine in various roles that have contributed to student support, research and education. She worked in the Centre for Aboriginal Health Education, coordinating events and supports for Indigenous learners, and helped create a place within the faculty where Indigenous learners felt safe. Diffey was also the initial coordinator of the International Indigenous Academic Health Network. She has been key in facilitating international exchanges for Indigenous faculty and medical students, and advancing cultural safety in medical education.



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