Indigenous Education Council (IEC)

The Indigenous Education Council (IEC) at the University of Ottawa is responsible for facilitating the creation of a new, meaningful, and lasting relationship based on a respectful partnership between uOttawa and Algonquin communities upon whose lands the university sits, as well as other Indigenous communities that work in partnership uOttawa. The IEC, therefore, represents the interests and concerns of local Indigenous communities and is committed to the educational success of current and future Indigenous learners.  Its university-wide mandate is to develop and implement relevant policies, programing, services, and spaces that affect and impact Indigenous post-secondary success.

The IEC will initiate a review of the Terms of Reference as needed to ensure their relevancy to the context in which they are working.


The Indigenous Education Council’s key goals are:

  • create a respectful, inclusive environment within the University that values Indigenous languages, cultures, worldviews, histories, and knowledges.
  • foster a more culturally-sensitive and supportive environment that will help Indigenous students achieve their highest academic potential;
  • encourage the recruitment and participation of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit in the University of Ottawa’s workforce;
  • facilitate intellectual partnerships with Indigenous peoples drawing on the traditional knowledges and cultural protocols of Indigenous teachings specific to different nations.


The University of Ottawa, a publically funded institution receiving targeted Postsecondary Education Funding for Aboriginal Learners (PEFAL), has a responsibility ensure that Indigenous people are consistently and regularly engaged in decision-making processes within the university. The University of Ottawa is therefore responsible for ensuring that the IEC, the body that represents local Indigenous communities, has direct access to the Board of Governors and the Senate. To accomplish this, the President or Vice President Academic and Provost, or their Academic Delegate on Indigenous Engagement will serve as a member of IEC.

Furthermore, the University of Ottawa’s Academic Delegate on Indigenous Engagement will serve as the liaison between the IEC and senior administration by serving as co-chair or the IEC as well as chair of uOttawa’s Standing Committee Indigenous Engagement which will be the body that will assist the Vice-President Academic and Provost to identify priorities and to develop policies required to implement activities and processes related to the University of Ottawa’s Indigenous Portfolio. One member of the IEC will be appointed to sit on the Standing Committee.

The IEC is comprised of people from local Indigenous communities that work in partnership with the University of Ottawa to support the needs of Indigenous students, faculty and staff. It does this by identifying and articulating priorities for policy, program, and service development geared towards the successful recruitment, admission, retention, graduation and employability of Indigenous students along with the recruitment and retention of Indigenous faculty and staff.

Council's Responsibilities

To fulfill its responsibilities, the Indigenous Education Council will:

  • Promote the academic and student support needs of Indigenous students success by assisting in the development of programs, services, and policies.
  • Approve the PEFAL operational budget and review activities outlined in the work plan on a quarterly basis.
  • Promote the University’s programs and services to Indigenous communities by encouraging and maintain communication with Indigenous communities and their education authorities.
  • Provide knowledge and expertise in developing, on a cyclical basis, the uOttawa Indigenous Action Plan which will become a part of the university-wide strategic plan.
  • Support the University of Ottawa’s Indigenous Resource Centre activities and staff.
  • Advise and support the University in the recruitment and retention of Indigenous faculty and staff.
  • Advise and participate in financial planning and decision making with regards to externally generated funds specifically targeting Indigenous education, such as PEFAL.


The Indigenous Education Council shall be composed of no more ten members. A successful IEC is dependent on strong and supportive relationships between the University of Ottawa and Indigenous communities/organizations as well as between the actual membership of the IEC. To that end, regular and consistent communication between all members and the co-chairs all is necessary so that we are, together, able to ensure the success of our students.

  • Academic Delegate on Indigenous Engagement
  • Director of Indigenous Affairs
  • Two Indigenous students, currently registered at the University of Ottawa (one undergraduate, one graduate).
  • Six community seats to be filled by First Nations, Inuit and Metis representative organizations and/or communities with interest in Indigenous educational issues. One of these six seats should be filled by a uOttawa alumnus. (One of these five will be appointed as co-chair by the IEC membership and will, consequently, also have a seat on the Standing Committee).
Appointment Process

The IEC will send a formal invitation letter to identified Indigenous communities or organizations requesting that they appoint the appropriate person to the council. It will be the responsibility of that organization to supply the IEC with the full contact information of the individual selected so that the IEC can follow-up and confirm their willingness to serve as well as provide them with the appropriate introductory information.

Recommendations for membership are made according to the individual community or organization’s protocols or preferences.

If an individual has to resign from the Council, the IEC will seek the support of the organization to determine whether they’d like to appoint a new member. If the organization determines that they’d like to, for the time being, withdraw from the IEC, then the IEC will locate another organization or community to approach and ask them to appoint a member; the IEC will always ensure that the full complement is achieved.

The undergraduate student representative will be appointed by Indigenous Students Council (ISC) and Indigenous Law Students Association (ILSA), the two undergraduate student organizations who can work together to select their member.

The graduate student representative will be appointed either by a duly constituted Indigenous graduate student organization or with the support of the student body as represented by the ISC and ILSA.

Membership in the IEC is dependent on:

  1. being a currently enrolled uOttawa student;
  2. being employed by the organization that made the appointment to the IEC (if someone has either quit or been dismissed, they can no longer be an IEC member and the organization will be asked to locate a replacement);
  3. Be fulfilling the role outlined/expected by the community that made the appointment (if that role is not being fulfilled any longer, then the community will be asked to locate a replacement).

The IEC will be co-chaired by the Academic Delegate on Indigenous Engagement and one of the six community representatives who will be nominated and selected by the body of members.

The term of office for the community co-chair will be no more than three years.

Should the community co-chair need to vacate the position before the end of their term, the IEC will come to a consensus on who among the remaining members of the Council should assume the role of co-chair.


All members of the IEC will be given the opportunity to comment and express their views and opinions on the issue at hand and each member of the Council will take part in decision making.

In order to maintain consistency, transparency, and good order, proxies or replacements will be permitted at meetings and will have the ability to contribute to decision-making while present.

To identify a consensus, the Chair will state the issue and the decision made for the record and follow up in writing (email or minutes) to confirm that decision.


Community Members:

Anita Tenasco, Director of Education, Kitigan Zibi Education Sector, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg (or delegate)

Dwight Bero Jr., Post-Secondary Manager, Ahkwesahsne Mohawk Board of Education (or delegate)

Della Meness, Manager, Education Services, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (or delegate)

Amanda Kilabuk, Manager of Employment and Education at Tungasuvvingat Inuit (or delegate)

Marie-Louise Perron, Councillor, Ottawa Region Metis Council (or delegate)

Karen Green, lawyer & consultant, citizen of the Tyendinega Mohawk Territory

uOttawa Student Members:

Tagwanibisan Armitage-Smith, Undergraduate Student Representative

Kerri-Lynn Cheechoo, Graduate Student Representative

uOttawa Staff Support:

Claudette Commanda, Elder-in-Residence, Faculty of Law

Tareyn Johnson, Director of Indigenous Affairs

Brenda Macdougall, Academic Delegate for Indigenous Engagement


The Indigenous Education Council governance is guided by the principles of the traditional Indigenous governance models and the accepted modern governing principles applicable to the Council. Decision-making will take place based on discussion in person at meetings and, when necessary, via email communication.


The Indigenous Education Council will strive to hold up to four meetings during the regular academic year (between September and April annually. One meeting / year will be hosted at the University of Ottawa and then will meet in one of the communities or organizations represented by members on the IEC. The dates of each meeting will be set in April for the following academic year so that the meeting dates and times are known well in advance and calendars can be organized accordingly.

Each meeting will be opened in in a culturally appropriate way by an Elder who will selected by the meeting host. The co-chairs will set the agenda in advance of the meeting and will ensure that each member is given the opportunity to provide their input.

The Indigenous Education Council may invite guests or guest speakers to attend council meetings for a specific purpose. Visitors can participate in the meetings, but will not be involved in decision-making.

The IEC may strike ad hoc working groups or subcommittees on specific issues as required; these groups and committees may meet outside of the prescribed times should there be a need to do so. However, the IEC will rely heavily on the Office of Indigenous Affairs to ensure that the Indigenous Portfolio mandate is operationalized.


Membership is contingent on an individual’s agreement to be present at each meeting for the academic year; notification of absence should be provided in advance of the set meeting date and a proxy identified is necessary.

If a council member is unable to attend a significant number of meetings in a year, then the IEC will work with them and their community and/or organization to locate a replacement member.

In cases where a member wishes to participate in a meeting but cannot be physically present (especially in the case of poor weather), the IEC will attempt to locate the facilities to host them via video or teleconferencing.

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