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Join us at Laurier

Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


Kathy Absolon, MSW, PhD

Dr. Kathy Absolon-King is the Director for the Centre for Indigegogy: Indigenous Centred Wholistic Development and an Associate Professor, Master of Social Work: Indigenous Field of Study.

Her academic journey has been a pathway of unlearning, healing, re-learning and finding who she is as an Indigenous woman and what her place is in the academy.

I teach in the Indigenous Educators Certificate in Indigegogy, the Decolonizing Educators Certificate and the Wholistic Professional Development  workshops.

Cyndy Baskin, PhD

Mi'kmaq and Celtic Nations, originally from NB, is currently an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Ryerson University. Her spirit name translates into English as something like, "The Woman Who Passes on the Teachings" and she is of the fish clan. Cyndy is a prolific writer and experienced researcher with publications that include two novels, a text titled, The Value of Indigenous Knowledges in the Helping Professions, a co-edited book, Spirit in the Quest of an Equitable World: Spirituality, Social Justice, and Social Work and numerous journal articles and book chapters. Prior to joining academia, Cyndy was a social work practitioner, consultant and trainer for many years, the latter two of which she continues to do today.

Ben Carniol, MSW, LLB

Ben Carniol is professor emeritus at Ryerson University, where he served as a professor in the School of Social Work for two decades and, more recently, as program coordinator to implement agreements between First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) and Ryerson University that deliver off-campus Indigenous-based social work education to Indigenous students. He is the acclaimed author of the first six editions of Case Critical: Social Services and Social Justice in Canada.

The 7th edition of the popular textbook Case Critical is an example of mutual respect in Indigenous - settler relationships.

I teach in our Decolonizing Education Certificate workshops.

Giselle Dias, MSW, (Niigaanii Zhaawshko Giizhigokwe, Leading Blue Sky Woman)

Giselle Dias is a queer, mixed race, Metis community organizer, activist and scholar. She is in the third year of her PhD program at Laurier in the Faculty of Social Work, Indigenous Field of Study (IFS). Giselle is also the program coordinator for the Centre for Indigegogy. She has been working in the field of prisoners’ rights, penal abolition and transformative justice for 25 years. From 2010-2018, Giselle had a psychotherapy practice where she provided counseling, support, advocacy and long term psychotherapy to Indigenous, Black and racialized communities. She specifically worked victims of violence, perpetrators of violence, and LGBTQ2SII communities. She completed a five-year training program in Psychotherapy from Ontario Psychotherapy and Counseling Program in Toronto, Ontario and an MSW in Social Work in the Indigenous Field of Study. Giselle provides Indigenous Wholistic Healing as well as having been trained in many Western modalities (in-depth psychotherapy, EMDR – eye movement desensitization and reprocessing – and sensorimotor psychotherapy for PTSD). She is registered with the Ontario Social Work Association and continues to provide clinical supervision to other therapists.

Cara Fabre, PhD

Cara Fabre's ancestors are English, Irish, German and French. They settled in Nova Scotia, which is unceded Mi’kmaq territory. She currently lives in the territory of the Anishnawbe, the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, which is governed by the Dish With One Spoon Treaty. Her relationship with Indigenous people is a treaty relationship. She began to understand her responsibilities as a settler within treaty relationships during the Decolonizing Education Certificate at the Centre for Indigegogy in 2017. Over the course of two years, she learned the importance of understanding who she is and where she comes from so that she can clearly position herself in relation to Indigenous peoples and to colonialism (and all forms of institutional oppression). Cara actively supports Indigenous self-determination, sovereignty, ways of knowing and Indigenous peoples' connection to land. Cara often engages with other white settlers in the work of self-reflection in how we perpetuate colonialism in our work and figuring out how to ground her/our decolonizing, wholistic approaches to helping in ethical, relational principles (rather than “expert,” extract,” “invade,” and “exploit” mentalities of engagement).

Cara's work engages in the struggle against ongoing colonialism in all its forms (e.g. through land theft, incarceration, child welfare, the Indian Act, education), but particularly through the pervasive racism against Indigenous people that is enshrined in white settler Canadian political discourse and institutions. Myths of multiculturalism, terra nullis, white supremacy and benevolence; dehumanizing stereotypes of Indigenous people; the enduring lie that colonialism is in the past – settler Canadians are socialized to believe these myths and act to uphold settler colonial state interests that do direct violence to Indigenous people and violate treaty agreements. She is especially interested in issues of widespread white settler ignorance because it impacts every aspect of Indigenous life – but it is also where she feels most able to effect change from her position as a white settler. Cara engages and organizes with other settlers to raise awareness about how we can act against colonialism and support Indigenous sovereignty from wherever people are located regionally, professionally and relationally with other settlers and Indigenous people.

Teaching has been the site of her most sustained efforts to disrupt power inequalities; facilitate meaningful, wholistic engagement within and among students; and connect students to their individual gifts in working accountably and collectively toward systemic change.

Cara Fabre is currently Assistant Professor in Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Windsor. She co-founded the department's TRC Committee, which works to enact the TRC Calls to Action as they are related to education; she also co-facilitates Decolonizing Pedagogies circles with faculty seeking support and resources to decolonize and Indigenize their teaching. Cara is trained in circle pedagogy through the Centre for Indigegogy and the Walls to Bridges program at Wilfrid Laurier university. She facilitates workshops on decolonization and creative writing.

Bonnie Freeman, PhD, MSW, RSW

Dr. Bonnie Freeman is Algonquin/Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River. She brings many years of experience with connections to Indigenous communities throughout Canada and the United States. Bonnie has been involved with many Indigenous land-based journeys as a way of understanding Indigenous epistemology and Indigenous cultural activism.

Bonnie teaches in our Decolonizing Education Certificate workshops.

Bill Hill – Ro’nikonkatste (Standing Strong Spirit), RPN, MSW, RSW, BEd

Bill Hill is a Mohawk from Six Nations, living outside of London, Ontario. He is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Schulich School of Medicine Dentistry at Western University. Ro’nikonkatste is also the project lead for Biigajiiskaan: Indigenous Pathways to Mental Wellness, an Indigenous Mental Health initiative co-led by Atlohsa Family Healing Services and St. Joseph’s Health Care-London. He has worked at SJHC in mental health since 1982 in Nursing, Social Work and Education. He has extensive experience in frontline work including inpatient admission units and intensive ambulatory care such as Assertive Community Treatment teams. Ro’nikonkatste walks in both worlds, working to create an Indigenous mental health program that acknowledges and integrates the gifts of both forms of treatment while being Culturally Safe and adhering to the Trauma and Violence Informed Care ideology.

Lori Hill, RSW, MSW, PhD

Lori Hill is an assistant professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in the Master of Social Work program (Indigenous Field of Study). She is a Mohawk woman, turtle clan, from the Six Nations of Grand River territory. Along with teaching, she provides counselling in her Six Nations community. She centres her helping in an Indigenous wholistic worldview.

Banakonda Kennedy-Kish (Bell), Elder-in-Residence

Banakonda Kennedy-Kish (Bell) is the Elder-in-Residence with the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, Indigenous Field of Study at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is an Indigenous cultural advisor, teacher, and Traditional Practitioner, and has served Indigenous communities for over forty years.

Banakonda teaches in our Indigenous Educators Certificate in Indigegogy and our Wholistic Professional Development Workshops.

Timothy Leduc, PhD

Dr, Timothy Leduc is author of the new book, A Canadian Climate of Mind: Passages from Fur to Energy and Beyond (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2016). It engages the Two Row Wampum to look at the colonial roots of today's climate change-energy issues, which are reconsidered as a spiritual initiation into healing the pain of disconnection at the root of modern culture.

His first book, Climate, Culture, Change: Inuit and Western Dialogues with a Warming North (University of Ottawa Press, 2010), was short-listed for the 2012 Canada Prize and looked at climate science, politics, and economics from the perspective of Inuit cosmology. He is faculty in land-based and Indigenous Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University Brantford, and has worked as a social worker in northern Indigenous communities and as an urban land-based educator.

Timothy teaches in our Decolonizing Education Certificate.

Laura Mastronardi

Laura Mastronardi is a settler Canadian of Italian and Dutch ancestry. She joined the Wilfrid Laurier Faculty of Social Work in 2006, currently teaches and coordinates field education in MSW Indigenous Field of Study, and is looking forward to teaching in the Indigenous PhD program in fall 2018. Laura brings to her educational practice a social work background in child welfare, mental health and community development. She has had the honour of working and learning in relationship with First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples over the past forty years in communities throughout northwestern, central and southern Ontario, and in Nunavik, the arctic region of Quebec. She strives to be a strong ally of Indigenous peoples and is dedicated to decolonizing Indigenous-settler relations through her social work practice, research and teaching.  

Carrie Tabobondung, BSW, MSW

Carrie Tabobondung is a helper with well over 30 years in the child welfare sector. She has worked on the frontline to leadership in administrative roles over the years. She comes from a close-knit family where her grandmother was the matriarch of the family and Chief of the community for 28 years. Carrie draws much of her strength from her mentors: grandmother and parents, aunties and uncles. Carrie is a mother to two boys, Myles and Skye. Carrie has been committed to rebuilding our families and communities and repairing the damaging colonial experience of Indigenous people.

Darren Thomas, MA, PhD (ABD)

Darren Thomas is a member of the Seneca Nation; he is a Bear Clan and he currently resides at the Grand River Territory of the Hodinohso:ni.

His research has focused on First Nations community development, Indigenous research methodologies, suicide prevention and colonial trauma. Darren specializes in working with First Nations peoples, inspiring them to be proud of their heritage and take a rightful place in modern society.

Darren teaches in our Decolonizing Education Certificate.

Raven Sinclair, PhD

Dr. Raven Sinclair is a member of Gordon First Nation of the Treaty #4 area of southern Saskatchewan. Raven's academic and research interests include Indigenous knowledge and research methodologies, the synthesis of traditional and contemporary healing theories and modalities, aboriginal cultural identity issues, adoption, colonial and decolonization theories, and mental health and wellness.

Raven teaches in our Decolonizing Education Certificate.

Syrus Ware

Syrus Ware is a Vanier Scholar, a visual artist, community activist, researcher, youth advocate and educator. For 12 years, he was the coordinator for the Art Gallery of Ontario Youth Program. Syrus is currently a facilitator/designer for the Cultural Leaders Lab (Toronto Arts Council and The Banff Centre). He is the inaugural artist-in-residence for Daniels Spectrum (2016/17). Syrus is also a core-team member of Black Lives Matter Toronto.

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