Honouring Champions of Indigenous Education
The four recipients of the award will be honoured at the Pow Wow on May 28th and gifted with $1000 for their efforts in community to champion Indigenous Education.
2022 Award Recipients Are:
Deidre Gregory (she/her) is an Anishinabe woman from Treaty 2 territory. She was raised in Bacon Ridge and educated at Hillridge and at Ebb and Flow School. She is also a band member of O Chi Chak Ko Sipi First Nation. Today, Deidre calls Brandon home. It is the love and support of her family and friends that have encouraged Deidre to pursue her education.
Deidre’s passion for education comes from the values instilled by her parents. Through her educational journey, she found that healing happens in the educational institutions and wanted to support others in their own journeys. In May 2020, Deidre went on to Brandon University to become the coordinator for The Al & Bee Wagner Indigenous Student Transition Program. Deidre now supports Indigenous students through their first year at Brandon University.
Education and Mentorship was the key to her own success, and it is what she offers to her siblings, children, nieces, nephews, and students today. Her own educational journey allowed her to embrace her Indigenous identity while learning the true history of Indigenous people in Canada. Today, she gathers strength and calmness from ceremonies and helps out in the community as needed.
Full Circle sees Deidre as a ‘make-or-break kind of champion’ who makes a huge difference in people’s lives and whose mentorship and healing presence helps students succeed in post-secondary settings. We believe her to be a model of authentic, empathetic, connected engagement with students that goes above and beyond to support success.
Rylee Nepinak is a proud Anishinaabe who grew up off-reserve in Winnipeg’s Northend and is a member of Sagkeeng First Nation in Treaty 1 Territory.
Rylee is one of the Co-Founders of Anishiative. A grassroots community organization that connects Indigenous youth to land-based education, Inner-city outreach opportunities, and provides all-inclusive wellness programming for Northern Communities.
Motivated by a state of emergency in Tataskewayak Cree Nation, Nepinak cycled across Canada raising money and promoting awareness about Indigenous youth suicide. Nepinak, who had no previous experience as a cyclist, finished his journey in 40 days and raised $30,000 that was dedicated to being spent by youth in Tataskewayak.
Rylee has also been involved in supporting relatives experiencing houselessness by means of coordinating the community warming Tipis at the Thunderbird House last year. The efforts of which helped lead to the beginning stages of an Indigenous-led warming space for houseless relatives called N’dinawemak and a new community wellness team called Saabe Peacewalkers.
Practicing lateral kindness, reclaiming identity, and promoting Indigenous youth voices are the driving forces behind Rylee’s mission here on Turtle Island. Full Circle sees Rylee as an inspiring champion who brings heart and love of life to community while inspiring others to acknowledge crisis by using their lives to create change.
My name is Ozawa Giizis Ikwe (Yellow Sun Woman), my family Clan is Migizi (Bald Eagle), and my heritage is of the Anishinaabe Nation. My home where I presently live is Manitouabee (where the spirit sits) in the Whiteshell area of Manitoba and Ontario border.
For years I have been a Knowledge Keeper and Heritage Interpreter of the Petroforms which are known as the Bannock Point Petroforms in Whiteshell Park. As an Ikwe (woman) Pipe Carrier it is a responsibility to support and pass on knowledge to women and girls. I’m a veteran Sun Dancer, and a Sweat Lodge Keeper.
My life activities are painting on canvas, outdoor/indoor gardening, creative writing, harvesting medicine plants, collecting heirloom organic seeds, and daily sunrise meditation. Four years ago, I created a 13 Moon Anishinaabe Calendar. The 13 Moon calendars are now used in centers and schools as teaching tools.
One of my greatest accomplishments was being instrumental in repatriating six super ancient Ancestors back into the Whiteshell. These Ancestors were held in storage at the University of Winnipeg for over 30 years.
My most important role in life is being a mother to 4 children, a grandmother to grandchildren, and a partner/wife to a gentle man who supports my work in Indigenous Matriarchy.
Full Circle is honoured to acknowledge the many ways Diane serves in community, and the dedication she has shown over years to Land, Ancestors, and learners of all ages. We believe her to be an incredible model of what Land-based learning can be, and she champions this work every day.
Janelle Delorme is a francophone Red River Métis and social justice activist, who was born and raised in St-Boniface.
She participated in the RéconciliACTION program at Université de St-Boniface, a 2-year journey (2011-2013) of creating meaningful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. As a KAIROS Blanket Exercise facilitator, she educates people about the impact of colonization on Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island. In June 2021, she organized the placing of 215 ribbons on the walkway at the St. Boniface Cathedral.
Janelle is a popular education specialist and believes that mindsets change through education. She is a sought-out speaker and workshop facilitator on reconciliation, has spoken on several panels, written many articles and is the host of “Chronique RéconciliACTION”. Chronique RéconciliACTION is a podcast serving the Franco-Manitoban community in bringing authentic Indigenous topics into French classrooms.
Janelle champions Indigenous perspectives into classrooms and is making a huge contribution to francophone and French Immersion educators. Bringing authentic Indigenous content to non-Indigenous spaces has its challenges, and Janelle’s podcast brings that voice in a way that allows it to be heard throughout Manitoba and beyond! Les élèves l’apprécient aussi. [and the students love it!] Thank-you for your work.
Thank you to our Community leaders for their dedication!
Our selection committee worked hard to choose our recipients of this year’s Honouring Champions of Indigenous Education Awards. Thank you so much for your effort.