The Chiefs of Ontario First Nation Education Coordination Unit is proud to announce


Summary of Charting Our Own Path Forward- Symposium November 2015 


The Symposium focused on next steps associated with narrowing the options that have been developed to date on systems and funding for First Nations education in Ontario.  Participants reviewed previous work done and provided valuable input that will inform recommendations to be considered by leadership.

November 17, 18, 19th, 2015
Victoria Inn, Thunder Bay



Right Honourable Paul Martin & TRC Commissioner Chief Wilton Littlechild


Click here for the Agenda


Julia Candlish, Education Coordination Unit, COOPF Update, Presentation  – click here

 Jennifer Manitowabi, Lac Seul, 1st Support Circle, Panel Presentation- click here

Mary Elijah, Language, 1st Support Circle, Panel Presentation- click here

Drs. Stan and Peggy Wilson, Indigegogy, Keynote Presentation- click here

Stephanie Roy, KTEI, 2nd Support Circle, Panel Presentation-  click here

Sharon Nate, Matawa Council, 2nd Support Circle, Presentation-  click here

Matthew Angees, KERC, 2nd Support Circle, Presentation-  click here

 Dr. Rhonda Paulsen, Indigenous B.Ed. program, Trent University, 2nd Support Circle, Presentation-  click here

Marc Manatch, Ogemawahj Tribal Council, 2nd Support Circle, Presentation-  click here

Andy Graham, Bimose Council, 2nd Support Circle, Presentation-  click here

Julia Candlish, Education Coordination Unit, 3rd Support Circle, Presentation-  click here

Dr. Jean Clinton, Keynote Presentation- click here

Julia Candlish, Education Coordination Unit, Funding Presentation-  click here

Commissioner Wilton Littlechild, Truth & Reconciliation, Keynote Presentation- click here

For images from the event, please click here.


Speaker Bio
Right Honourable Paul Martin was the Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006 and Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002. During his tenure as Prime Minister, Mr. Martin signed agreements with the provinces and territories to establish the first national early learning and child care program and created a new financial deal for Canada’s municipalities. Under his leadership the Canadian Government reached an historic deal with Aboriginal people of Canada to eliminate the existing funding gaps in health, education and housing known as the Kelowna Accord. After leaving politics, Mr. Martin founded the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative focusing on elementary and secondary education for Aboriginal students and the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship (CAPE) Fund, an investment fund investing in Aboriginal business.
Dr. Stan Wilson is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation where he spent his formative years on the trap line. He has experience teaching at all levels of education including primary, elementary and high school both in the public system and on First Nations. He has been a school board member, a member of the Board of Regents at the U of Winnipeg, a school principal, superintendent of education, a consultant to provincial Departments of Education in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and Dean of Education at the University College of the North. As a university professor Stan conducted research and taught at various universities including the University of Alberta, where he co-founded the First Nations Graduate Education Program. He also initiated (with his wife Peggy) the Indigenous Land Based Master’s cohort offered at the University of Saskatchewan. Stan works from within an Indigenous paradigm. He works extensively across Canada, the United States and Australia.
Dr. Peggy Wilson is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. She has experience as a classroom teacher, high school administrator, curriculum writer and researcher on Aboriginal issues. Dr. Wilson is a licensed associate clinical psychologist with the Psychological Association of Manitoba and conducts First Nations School counsellor training throughout Canada. She was co-founder of the First Nations Graduate Education Program at the U of A. and the Land-Based Graduate Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan.  Dr. Wilson is actively involved in the development of qualitative evaluation and professional development processes for First Nations Schools and for mental health and well-being programs in Canada and the U.S. Former editor of The Canadian Journal of Native Education, she is now adjunct professor at both the University of Alberta and the University of Saskatchewan.
Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux is the Vice Provost (Aboriginal Initiatives) at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay & Orillia, where she also serves as an Adjunct Asst. Professor for the Faculty of Anthropology and a Research Affiliate of the Centre for Health Care Ethics. Her research and writing is directed towards understanding the continuing transmission of historic intergenerational trauma and unresolved grief primarily within the Aboriginal community. She is a Board Member for Healthy Minds Canada, the newly formed Teach for Canada Non-Profit, and sits as a member of the Governing Council of the National Research Centre at the University of Manitoba. Cynthia has recently been inducted as a Honourary Witness by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Cynthia also co-founded and chairs a youth project ( out of the University of Toronto, the University of Saskatchewan and Lakehead University.
Dr. Jean M. Clinton is an Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster, division of Child Psychiatry. She has been a consultant to children and youth mental health programs, child welfare and primary care for almost 30 years. Dr. Clinton was recently appointed as an education advisor to the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education. She is the Faculty Lead for the provincial primary care education strategy for Ontario’s Enhanced 18-month well baby visit. Dr. Clinton is renowned locally, provincially, nationally and, more recently, internationally as an advocate for children’s issues. Her special interest lies in brain development, and the crucial role relationships and connectedness play therein. She is equally committed to ensuring that children’s and youths’ needs and voices are heard and respected.
Dolores Wawia is a member of the Order of Ontario and a longtime professor at the Lakehead University. She is cited as “a leader, pioneer in native education and storyteller who has expanded educational opportunities for Aboriginal people.” Dolores Wawia was born in Gull Bay, was the eldest of 12 children, and attended residential school at St. Joseph’s Boarding School in Thunder Bay. She spent 15 years at Lakehead University developing the Native Teacher Education Program (NTEP), followed by three years helping set up McMaster University’s Indigenous Studies program. Dolores Wawia was the first aboriginal woman in northwestern Ontario to get a Bachelor of Arts degree and the first to get a Masters of Education.
Chief Wilton Littlechild, in 1976, had the distinction of being the first Treaty First Nation person to acquire his law degree from the University of Alberta. He is a strong advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and promoter of implementation of the Treaties between the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the Crown. Chief Littlechild also served as the Chairperson for the Commission on First Nations and Métis Peoples and Justice Reform, mandated to review the justice system in the province of Saskatchewan. Chief Littlechild served as a Member of Parliament from 1988 – 1993 for the riding of Wetaskiwin-Rimby. Chief Littlechild organized a coalition of Indigenous Nations that sought and gained consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Chief Littlechild was honoured by being appointed the Honourary Chief for the Maskwacis Crees and also honoured by the Chiefs of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations as the International Chief for Treaty No. 6 Confederacy.

We would like to thank our Education Symposium Sponsors:

For Media Clips on the event please click here.

For any inquiries, please contact Charu Murti, Policy Analyst at: 1-877-517-6527 or email,