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Wiidooktaadwin Aboriginal Mentorship Initiatives Fall Leadership Conference


Nipissing University’s Office of Aboriginal Initiatives hosted the fourth annual Aboriginal Leadership Conference on Wednesday, November 25, day of cultural teachings, leadership activities, share food, experiences, and reflection.

The event brought 118 Aboriginal youth to the university that travelled from as far as Moose Factory to engage with local Elders, Nipissing University Aboriginal Student Mentors, and guest speakers in hands-on workshops on campus.  

The day started at Chancellor’s House with a traditional teaching led by Dr. Muriel Sawyer, Nipissing First Nation Deputy Chief and Teacher of Anishnaabemwin; Brian Hansen, Traditional Teacher; and John Sawyer, Elder in Residence.

This conference, a component of Wiidooktaadwin Aboriginal Mentorship Initiatives, also marked the launch of its new name, Aasgaabwitaadwin, given by Dr. Muriel Sawyer.  After attending previous Aboriginal Leadership Conferences Dr. Sawyer gave this traditional name to the gathering, which means that communities thrive when they stand shoulder to shoulder and in support of one another. 

The Office of Aboriginal Initiatives is honoured to have Dr. Sawyer give this program a traditional name as the meaning reflects the vision of the university’s Aboriginal Leadership Conference.

Youth were actively engaged in a hands-on workshop offered by Gemini award-winning actor, Sid Bobb, from Nipissing First Nation’s Aanmitaagzi (he/she speaks). Bobb had the crowd moving and laughing with his outstanding comedic improvisation and leadership activities.  The day ended with a special thanks and an invitation to return from by Dr. Mike DeGagné, president and vice-chancellor of Nipissing University.

Asgaabwitaadwin, Nipissing University’s Aboriginal Youth Leadership Conference, is held at university twice during the academic year.  The Office of Aboriginal Initiatives will host the next Aasgaabwitaadwin on February 10, 2016.​​

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