A recognized leader in Indigenous education, Christy R. Bressette has been appointed Western University’s first vice-provost and associate vice-president (Indigenous Initiatives).
Bressette, an Anishinabe member of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, begins her five-year term March 1, 2021.
As national coordinator for Indigenous education with the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, Bressette – whose Anishinabek name is Neeta-Noo-Kee Kwe (Hard-Working Woman) – has also supported London-area Anishinabek, Haudenosaunee, and Lenape Nations, as well as Friendship Centres, to advance education outcomes for Indigenous learners in the areas of policy, curriculum, and governance.
“Throughout her career, Christy has demonstrated an astute ability for bridging cultural differences between people to help ensure inclusive, equitable, and quality education opportunities for all,” said Andy Hrymak, provost and vice-president (academic).
Hrymak says Bressette has strong ties to Western and is uniquely qualified for taking on this important new leadership role. In addition to her three Western degrees, Bressette, BA’95 (Brescia), BEd’96, PhD’08, also has a master’s in education from the University of British Columbia.
“The creation of this important senior leadership role is timely as Canadians endeavour to act upon the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission where respect for all is central, and our actions are informed by their impact on future generations yet to come,” said Bressette, one of the first Indigenous women to earn a PhD in educational studies from Western.
In addition to teaching at the primary and secondary level in Ontario and British Columbia, Bressette has also taught several graduate-level courses related to Indigenous culture and education at Western’s Faculty of Education since 2004.
In 2017-18, she co-chaired the Provost’s task force on the implementation of Western’s Indigenous strategic plan (2017-18).
“The work to implement Western’s Indigenous strategic plan will be informed by the wisdom, knowledge, values and worldviews of Indigenous ancestors, in collaboration with all members of the learning community and beyond,” said Bressette.
Candace Brunette-Debassige will continue in her current role as acting vice-provost and associate vice-president (Indigenous Initiatives) until Bressette’s arrival. At that time, Brunette-Debassige will transition to a new role as special advisor to the Provost (Indigenous Initiatives) until June 30, 2021.
“For the past two years, Candace has been a strong leader, advancing the area of Indigenous initiatives in many important ways while at the same time completing her doctoral studies in the Faculty of Education. We are immensely grateful for her courageous leadership and ongoing commitment to serving Western,” said Hrymak.