Lecturer, Master of Social Work: Indigenous Field of Study*
Giselle Dias is a queer, disabled Métis activist and educator. Her matrilineal ancestors are from the Red River (Hodgson and Fidler) and her patrilineal ancestors are South Asian and French. Giselle has worked in the field of prisoners’ rights, penal abolition, and transformative justice for almost 30 years. She is currently a faculty member with the Indigenous Field of Study, at Wilfrid Laurier University in the Faculty of Social Work
Founder, Inaugural Director, Knowledge Keeper
Professor, Master of Social Work: Indigenous Field of Study*
Kathy Absolon is an Anishinaabe kwe from Flying Post First Nation. Her academic journey has been a pathway of unlearning, healing, re-learning and finding who she is as an Indigenous woman and her place in the academy. Kathy's Anishinaabe name is Minogiizhigo kwe which translates to mean Shining Day Woman, the one who brings goodness and beauty to the day.
In 2008, she received her PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. "Kaandossiwn, this is how we come to know: Indigenous research methodologies in the academy" was her dissertation title with a focus on Indigenous research. Since then Kathy has been teaching Indigenous re-search methodologies and asserting Indigenous ways of coming into knowledge. The Decolonizing Journeys project is in partnerships with a digital story lab and educators who have completed the Decolonizing education certificate, herself included. For Kathy, education has been a process of building dual knowledge bundles: one as an Anishinaabe kwe and her teachings and the other is a critical knowledge bundle fuelled by mainstream education. Kathy carries dual knowledge bundles that are informed by the land, spirit, decolonizing, indigenizing and anti-colonialism.
In 2007 she came to the Indigenous Field of Study in the Faculty of Social Work (now Indigenous Field of Study) at Laurier with a blending of teaching, practice, and community work. Since she has been at Laurier, Kathy has taught in the Indigenous Field of Study Indigenous re-search, wholistic healing practices, culture camp, kinship and community, and Traditional Indigenous knowledge in wholistic practices. She has provided ongoing leadership to the Program during her tenure. In Kathy's role as Director of the Centre for Indigegogy, she focuses on generating decolonial, Indigenous centred and wholistic training for ongoing professional training for educators and practitioners across an array of settings.
Katie McLellan is a Mohawk-Metis Woman and grew up between Windsor and Barrie, Ontario. Her ancestors made their journey from Kahnasatake many years ago to what is now known as Penetanguishene, her family has remained in the area for generations. Katie gratefully acknowledges the contribution her Syrian and Scottish ancestors have made to her identity. She is a graduate of the MSW Indigenous Field of Study Program and has called Kitchener-Waterloo home for nearly three years. Katie honours the spirit of her Matriarch, Wendy, in the work she does every day with the Centre, Laurier and her community. She feels privileged to be on this journey with the Centre for Indigegogy and learn from all the incredible minds that cultivate knowledge at the Centre.
‘You have found your place, and that is with your community.’ -Wendy”
Jessica Hutchison (she/her) is a white settler, abolition feminist, and activist-scholar who is deeply committed to dismantling racist and colonial systems that perpetuate harm and violence. She is currently a new professor in Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University whose work is informed by her long-standing prisoners’ rights advocacy, and solidarity with those most impacted by systems of oppression and domination. Jessica teaches in social work and critical criminology; is a Research Associate with the Centre for Indigegogy; and an active member of a grassroots collective in Waterloo Region advocating for the redistribution of police funding towards community-based and equity-centred initiatives.
Jessica was awarded her PhD on August 10th, 2023 and nominated for the award for excellence.