The Indigenous School Mentorship program offers an opportunity for Carleton students to work as peer mentors with Indigenous elementary and high school students in the Ottawa area, through involvement in the classroom, lunchtime or after-school programs and/or cultural clubs. Currently Carleton students mentor weekly at one or more of the following sites: the Odawa Urban Aboriginal Alternative High School, which offers a fully Indigenous and holistic learning environment;  Queen Elizabeth Public School, which offers extensive learning opportunities and supports for Indigenous students; and the Odawa Native Friendship Centre Akwe:go Program, an after-school cultural program for children and youth.

The mentors are role models who provide cultural knowledge and activities as well as academic support for Indigenous students through sharing learning strategies, traditional activities and practical advice. Using their own elementary, high school and post-secondary experiences mentors help Indigenous students bridge the transitions between elementary, high school, post-secondary and career pathways. The positive relationship between mentor and student helps increase confidence, contributes to the achievement of goals, and fosters an understanding about learning and life challenges. Mentors themselves work in cohesive teams and support each other throughout the school year. This position is of interest to Carleton students in all disciplines, and provides experience that has been of particular benefit to those interested in teaching, social work, child and youth work, recreation, and other human services professions. It also offers a unique opportunity to develop strong leadership skills.

Program Goals:

  • Foster understanding of students’ own and others First Nations, Metis and Inuit identities and histories, comfort with identity, and a sense of pride in these identities
  • Provide encouragement and support to Indigenous students in their efforts to thrive in school and community programs
  • Share learning experiences and knowledge to develop and enhance Indigenous cultural knowledge and understanding
  • Dispel confusion and false perceptions about post-secondary learning
  • Encourage students to stay in school and to consider different options after completing their studies
  • Develop leadership, communication and solution-based skills


2020-2021 Indigenous High School Mentor Bios 

Laura Bueneman – Laura is a third-year Women and Gender’s Studies student taking a minor in Indigenous studies. She recognizes her position as a settler on the traditional, unceded, and unsurrendered territories of the Anishinaabeg nation, within the Kichi Sibi watershed. With this acknowledgment, she recognizes that her mentor work with Indigenous students must center Indigenous ways of knowing, taking understandings and cues from Indigenous peers, mentors, activists and knowledge keepers, whom she is humbled to work alongside and learn from. She has been working as a mentor at the Urban Aboriginal Alternate High School for three years, and hopes to pursue a career in education upon completing her undergraduate degree.

Naomi Brito – My name is Naomi & I am currently in my 2nd year of the Master of Law & Legal Studies at Carleton University. I call both Windsor & Detroit as my hometowns, and I completed my undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University, majoring in music history, theory, & critical analysis. In my spare time, my hobbies include water coloring, cross-stitching, and getting involved with various social justice initiatives in the local community & beyond! I am extremely excited to be joining the mentorship program amidst these unprecedented times and looking forward to meeting and working with amazing youth and young adults! Fun fact about me: I am half Portuguese/half Chinese & was the only Canadian on a competitive rhythmic gymnastics team in Michigan during my secondary school career.

Rim Zeghai – My name is Rim, and I am a 4th-year student in Public Affairs and Policy Management at Carleton University. I have been a part of youth-led advocacy initiatives within Eritrean and Indigenous communities throughout my university career. My interest in such work stems from my passion for working with youth to better one another’s self-awareness, knowledge, and methods to implement change through joint action plans. I am looking forward to being a mentor with the Urban Alternative High School Program this year!
Sheldon Paul – A fourth-year Public Affairs and Policy Management student at Carleton University, Sheldon is a passionate Indigenous sovereignty researcher, activist, and writer, conducting transnational decolonial research on Indigenous legal orders and political economy. He is originally from Brampton, ON (Upper Canada Treaty No. 18 Mississauga Anishinaabe Territory), with ancestral roots in Kerala, south India, and Mauritius, southeast Africa. He has taken part in research, advocacy, and activism initiatives in several locations throughout Turtle Island and Abya Yala, and hopes to pursue Indigenous Law. He loves theatre, having taken part in over 35 community, school, and professional productions throughout Ottawa and the GTA as a performer, director, and dramaturg, including writing and co-directing the 9-award-winning 2016 Sears Festival play The Red Road, about the residential school system. He is thrilled to be working with the Mentorship Program to help students achieve their goals, and can’t wait to see the places they will go.

Interesting in being a mentor?

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