Keynote Presenters 2023
Dr. Chantal Fiola
Chantal Fiola is Michif (Red River Métis) with family from St. Laurent and Ste. Geneviève, MB. She is the author of Rekindling the Sacred Fire: Métis Ancestry and Anishinaabe Spirituality, which won her the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Award. Her follow-up book, Returning to Ceremony: Spirituality in Manitoba Métis Communities, was nominated for the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction and won the Association for Manitoba Archives’ Manitoba Day Award. Dr. Fiola is currently the Distinguished Indigenous Scholar’s Chair (2021-2024) at the University of Winnipeg where she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies. Chantal is two-spirit, Midewiwin, a Sundancer, and lives with her wife and their daughter in Winnipeg.
Dr. Verna St. Denis
Dr. Verna St. Denis is Professor Emerita, University of Saskatchewan and Special Advisor to the President of the University of Saskatchewan on Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression. Since 1992 and retired in December 2022, she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in integrated anti-racist education in the Department of Educational Foundations. She is both Cree and Métis and a member of the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation. An alum of and former teaching staff of Indigenous teacher education programs in Saskatchewan. Completed a B Ed. at the U of S in 1982, Master of Arts at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Education at Stanford University in 2002.Her publications include most recently an invited and co-authored chapter titled: Contemporary Challenges and Approaches in Anti-Racist Teacher Education, which is published in the International Encyclopedia of Education, Oxford University Press. The co-edited book, titled: White Benevolence: Racism and Colonial Violence in the Helping Professions, Fernwood Press, Spring 2022. Researcher, producer of, and participant in the film titled: Finding and Understanding Their Way: Decolonizing Canadian Education, in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation and filmmaker, Alison Duke. Although the film has been taken out of circulation for one year to honor the memory of the death of one of the participants in the film, the film will once again be made available with a two-tier discussion guide next month on April 7th, 2023, so keep your eye on the STF webpage. Finally, Dr. St Denis is near completion of a small research project titled: “How school leaders narrate their personal and professional engagement with anti-racist education?”
Shawna Joynt’s family background is called LaChune from the Tr’ondek Hwech’in Tribe in Dawson City, Yukon. She is a single mom of four boys. Their journey has been challenging but Shawna and her boys have stood by each other, no matter what. Now, they respect who they are, and most of all Shawna’s sons love to see their mom doing things she loves to do. Shawna became the National Indigenous Director for the Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD/ASC) and it is one of the best decisions she has made. Today, Shawna holds the Interim President position. She has always been passionate about helping others. Shawna works to address and remove barriers that many have faced, as she has had to experience may herself. Shawna has educated herself but has also learned from so many people. She keeps an open mind and really looks at the bigger picture. Shawna’s lived experiences and journeys have really shaped her and it takes a lot to pull her down. Shawna surprises herself everyday!
Tera is a Citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario and is the founder and Director of the Weaving Wellness Centre, a private clinical and consulting practice specializing in serving Indigenous peoples and communities and those who have experienced trauma. She most recently had the privilege of travelling with the Métis Delegation who met with Pope Francis in March 2022 to provide wellness and mental health support. Tera is also completing her Doctor of Philosophy in the Counselling/Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Toronto where her program of research examines the supports and challenges of Métis traditional knowledge in addressing the life transition needs (mental health, education and employment) of urban Métis homeless peoples. Tera is a mom to two little ones, Beau and Aurora, and also sits as the Region 8 Women’s Representative with the Métis Nation of Ontario Women’s Council.