Driven by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, and committed to the power of stories, Dawson College faculty Susan Briscoe initiated the First Peoples Post-Secondary Storytelling Exchange to address inequities in education through storytelling. With sadness, Susan stepped down as project lead nearly a year into the project due to a terminal illness. She asked Co-Investigator and Dawson colleague Michelle Smith to continue as Principle Investigator.
Susan, we are so very grateful that you set this process in motion. This project, the relationships formed, community created and stories exchanged, are part of your legacy.
– The FPPSE Team
“Every student has a different story, but each of them involves sacrifice and determination as well as success and pride. I have been deeply touched by each story, and I have such great admiration and respect for each student.”
Educator, advocate, poet. Susan Briscoe developed the FPPSE to break down institutional barriers and honour the courage and dynamism of Indigenous students she taught. Hers was a vision of inclusivity and fairness where all learners would have the opportunity to reach their educational and professional goals.
As Principle Investigator of the FPPSE Susan set this project on a clear path, privileging First Nations, Inuit and Métis voices and bringing together a team of scholars and advocates dedicated to justice in education.
“It has been an incredible honour to carry forward this project that Susan began, and to witness the creativity, courage and brilliance of every student involved. Heartfelt thanks to you, your families, the project team and community partners for coming on this journey. Together we are building self-determined futures.”
Michelle Smith is an award-winning Métis filmmaker, media artist and educator born and raised in St. James, Manitoba. She uses diverse media and participatory strategies to explore issues around Indigenous identity and resurgence, education and intercultural experience. She has directed and produced numerous documentary films and interactive media. She led and taught in the Journeys First Peoples Transition program at Dawson College in Tiohtiá:ke (Montreal) for four years. She is a founding member of the Dawson First Peoples Initiative, Indigenous Education Council and Intercollegiate Decolonizing Network and teaches Cinema-Communications at Dawson College. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Education at McGill, with a focus on Indigenous educational sovereignty.
Morgan Kahentonni Phillips is a Kanien’kehá:ka woman (Wolf Clan) from Kahnawake and a citizen of the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. Morgan holds a BA Honours in Anthropology, an MA in Social & Cultural Anthropology from Concordia University and a PhD from the Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE) at McGill. Her research interests include Indigenous well-being, diabetes prevention, resilience, community-based participatory research, Indigenous research methodologies, and health promotion.
Elizabeth is Métis, from St. François-Xavier, Manitoba. She's an Assistant Professor in Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University and teaches in the youth work program. In 2016, Elizabeth was appointed as Special Advisor to the Provost on Indigenous Directions at Concordia. She is currently Vice-President on the Board of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal and a member of the National Métis Advisory committee on the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Nicole Ives is an Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Social Work program at McGill University School of Social Work. Dr. Ives' teaches Indigenous Field Studies, History and Philosophy of Social Work, Policy and Practice with Refugees and Migration and Social Work. Dr. Ives is a founding member of Indigenous Access McGill, a program that supports Indigenous students in the School of Social Work and in the broader university. She has published articles focused on Indigenous social work education, Indigenous social policy, and refugee resettlement as it relates to integration and sponsorship. She has presented her research on refugee and Indigenous issues both nationally and internationally.
Jason Edward Lewis is a digital media poet, artist, and software designer. He founded Obx Laboratory for Experimental Media, where he directs research/creation projects exploring computation as a creative and cultural material. Along with the artist Skawennati, he co-directs Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace, Skins Workshops on Aboriginal Stortyelling and Video Game Design and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. Lewis is deeply committed to developing intriguing new forms of expression by working on conceptual, critical, creative and technical levels simultaneously. He is the Concordia University Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary as well as Professor of Computation Arts at Concordia University, Montreal. Born and raised in northern California, Lewis is Cherokee, Hawaiian and Samoan.
Vicky is of Cree/Coast Salish/Métis heritage. Vicky is a registered energy medicine practitioner (ANQ) and has a certificate in journalism for Concordia. As a research coordinator, she is passionate about effecting change in policy, education and attitudes in social work, health care and education for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Vicky is Co-Chair of the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy NETWORK. Vicky sits on the boards of the Native Women's Shelter and of Montreal's First People's Justice Centre as Vice-president and she is on the (Police Service of Montreal) SPVM Aboriginal Advisory Committee. Her joy in living is matched by her desire to give back to the community.
Reisa is a media creator and producer with a background in film, radio, web, and game production. She has collaborated on several Indigenous media projects and teaches in the Cinema | Communications department at Dawson College.
Laura teaches sociology at Dawson College. She has worked with youth as a nurse/health educator, in policy work related to women's health, and in primary care health research at McGill University. The best thing about her work is learning from her students and the people she collaborates with. She is a settler colonial born on the unceded territory of the Kanien'kehá:ka nation.
I study at Concordia University, majoring in Human Relations and trying to minor in First People's Studies. Currently taking a year off working at the Kativik Regional Government and with The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services in the north. I am with you all in spirit! Nakurmiik
Lucina Gordon is an Inuk from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. She has been pursuing her postsecondary studies since 2013. She likes to go out on the land to hunt or simply to enjoy nature’s beauty.
Kahawihson Horne is a Kanien’keha:ka woman of the Turtle Clan with a background in First People’s Studies at Concordia University who has served in the capacity of research assistant concerning the various obstacles and support systems afforded by and for Indigenous students within post-secondary institutions. She has worked for a number of news and media organizations and is currently working as a freelance journalist and educator within Kahnawá:ke and the urban Indigenous community of Montreal.
Anna Kristensen is Inuk from Kangirsujuaq, QC. I first joined the First Peoples’ Storytelling Exchange project as a participant in a circle interview and have been part of this amazing project since then.
Mel Lefebvre is a Métis-Nehiyaw-Nakota-Saulteaux communityworker, researcher and graduate student at Concordia University. Working closely with the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, Melanie sits on the board and advocates for the safety of Indigenous people as well as Indigenous representation, education, and employment. Melanie is a research assistant to Dr. Elizabeth Fast for Concordia University as well as Dr. Morgan Phillips and Dr. Nicole Ives of McGill University for projects focused on Indigenous youth initiatives.
Pasha Partridge is an Inuit and Mohawk artist and filmmaker. She completed her DEC at John Abbott College and started her studies in Education at McGill. Instagram: @pashasprojects
Angela Watts is from the Cree Nation of Eastmain. She became involved with the project while working for Journeys: A First Peoples’ College Transition Program at Dawson College. She is now doing her BA in Linguistics and Language Studies at York University in Toronto, ON.
Christine Qillasiq Lussier
Christine Qillasiq's ties are to the Northern Village of Salluit, Nunavik, and is currently studying in an individualized program at Concordia University in Inuit Oral History. She works at the Montreal Indigenous Community NETWORK as a Community Needs Coordinator. Her interests lie in community engagement and development with youth in the north, Indigenous storytelling, and languages. Working with the First Peoples Post-secondary Storytelling Exchange Project has been very very fulfilling and has helped me remember the importance of continuing on in my graduate studies. The project brought together such a diverse group of students that it really reminded me of the importance of having Indigenous people working in postsecondary institutions.
Sandra-Lynn Kahsennanó:ron Leclaire is a Kanien'kehá:ka and Mi'kmaw woman from Kahnawake, Quebec but also has family connections to Miawpukek/Conne River, Newfoundland. She is currently finishing her Masters of Arts thesis in the History Department of McGill University.
Jennifer Qupanuaq May
Jennifer is from Kuujjuaq, QC. She's a mother of three and a student at John Abbott College in Media Arts. She is involved in the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership program and works with a mentor in filmmaking. Jennifer is an associate producer for the Nipivut Radio show and also works for Isuma Distribution International as a marketing assistant.
Cheli Nighttraveller is a Cree multi-disciplinary artist from Saskatchewan (Little Pine First Nation) now living in Tiohtiake. She works in film, video, animation, and performance and has shown her work across Turtle Island. She graduated with a BFA in Film Animation from Concordia University in 2016. One of her biggest passions is biking, which has been an important part of healing.
This project relied on the generosity, collaboration and talents of many people
Film and Video
Guillermo Lopez Pérez
Lisa G Neilsen, Our World
Amy Gordon Saunders
Lisa G Neilsen
Web & Graphics
Lori Ann Oke
Sarah Del Seronde