First Nations Centre Welcomes New Staff
Fanshawe's First Nations Centre is pleased to welcome three staff members
who have joined FNC supervisor Donna Smith-Sutherland
over the summer.
Melanie Akiwenzie-Lisk joins the College as Aboriginal Community Outreach & Transitions Advisor. Bev Antone-Collar, who has worked in the Centre since 2001, has moved into the new Aboriginal Student Success Advisor position. Belinda Sayeau, who has previously worked in other departments and studied in the Business program at Fanshawe, is the Centre's new Customer Service Representative.
Meet the staff of the First Nations Centre . . .
Good day! My name is Donna Smith-Sutherland and my Ojibway name is Gnaaji-Waawaasgoneh Kwe which translates to 'Pretty Flower Woman' and I am Kingfisher clan. I'm an Ojibway-Pottawatomi woman from the Kettle & Stony Point First Nation. I'm married and am the proud mother of two sons, three stepsons and grandmother to seven grandchildren.
I've been working as the Supervisor of the First Nations Centre at Fanshawe College since August 1998. I possess a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, a Bachelor's of Social Work degree and a Master's of Social Work degree. I thoroughly enjoy my work and believe that our Centre provides Aboriginal students with that "home away from home" environment within Fanshawe College. I'm very proud of the fact that our students do well academically and thrive with the support and resources they access within our Centre and Fanshawe College.
With the Aboriginal population growing I expect that we will continue to see the number of Aboriginal students attending Fanshawe College increasing as well. There are now additional staff, an Aboriginal Student Success Advisor, a full-time Customer Service Representative and an Aboriginal Community Outreach and Transitions Advisor within the Centre and I believe that we have a dynamite team working to assist students with the goal of academic success.
Our services and resources are based in the Aboriginal worldview, which is holistic in nature, and this is reflected in all our promotional materials. Please take a look at our video on the 'First Nations Centre' webpage.
If you have any questions, need assistance or would like additional information
please don't hesitate to contact the First Nations Centre located in Room A1047,
London Campus, or by telephone at 519-452-4430 ext. 4619.
Aboriginal Community Outreach & Transitions Advisor
Hello/Aanii... My name is Melanie Akiwenzie-Lisk. My Ojibwa name is Nashaawabee Kwe which means Falcon Woman. I am turtle clan and Ojibwa from Cape Croker Reserve (just north of Wiarton, Ontario). I have a strong base of cultural knowledge of my people that I have learned directly from my Mother and my Grandmother. I attend our traditional ceremonies and practise those ceremonies daily within my life. I am proud of my strong and rich culture.
In terms of my academic career, I am an alumnus of Fanshawe College. I graduated from the Social Service Worker program in 1994 and General Arts & Science program prior to that. When I came to Fanshawe in those early days I came directly from high school and leaving my family and community was challenging. Those challenges made me stronger and more determined to succeed. When I graduated from Fanshawe I chose to wear my traditional outfit to the graduation ceremony and there was an article done by the London Free Press about myself and my mother as we are both alumni. I feel that the understanding and expression of my culture was the stepping stone to further success stories within my life, both within my careers and further educational aspirations.
I continued on in my educational career years after leaving Fanshawe by attending Trent
University where I received my Honours BA. Following that, I continued to follow my
spirit which guided me to Queen's University where I completed my Bachelor's of Education
degree. I was encouraged to become a teacher by some youth that I worked with who
said "Mel, you should be a teacher, you are good at working with us," and for that I
will always acknowledge those youth who encouraged me to continue my education. I have
worked a number of years within many First Nation organizations and First Nation
communities. I look forward to meeting the staff of the College and getting to know
Fanshawe College again.
Aboriginal Student Success Advisor
Shekoli! My name is Bev Antone-Collar; my spirit name is Yakoyesh^ (Oneida translation: she is smiling). I am a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames First Nation and the new Student Success Advisor in the Fanshawe College First Nations Centre.
I first came to Fanshawe College directly from high school, as a student in the Culinary Management program. Upon graduation I worked in the field for a short time, when I quickly realized this was not the career path for me. This ignited a flame in me to want to help other students who are unsure of their post-secondary education.
Fortunately for me, in 2001 a position became available at the First Nations Centre at Fanshawe College as a Support Services Officer. It was here where I learned what my passion was... helping other Indigenous students achieve success. Donna Smith-Sutherland (FNC Supervisor) has been a wonderful mentor over the years and the passion she has for her work encouraged me to further education/career.
In the nine years I have been at Fanshawe, I have completed a General Arts and Science certificate (Fanshawe College) and a Bachelor of Arts degree (UWO) on a part time basis. The combination of my education and experience has helped prepare me for my new role as the Student Success Advisor. I look forward to the new challenges and experiences this role will provide me with and will allow me to grow personally and professionally.
Customer Service Representative
I'm a Northern girl - a member of the Shoal Lake #40 First Nation in northwestern Ontario, where my Mother was from, and Migisi Sagaigan, or Eagle Lake in English, on my Father's side.
As a baby, I was adopted by the Sayeau family. I grew up the youngest of four children in the mining/aviation community of Red Lake, Ontario, where my parents operated a few small businesses. They provided me with a stable home life, a loving supportive family, and instilled in me a strong sense of service and an entrepreneurial spirit.
After attending some post-secondary education in Thunder Bay, I returned to my family and worked in a restaurant in Red Lake called 'The Lakeview', which I managed from 1998 until 2003. At that time, I moved to Sioux Lookout with my partner, a commercial pilot and aircraft maintenance engineer, whose work led him to a maintenance facility in Sioux Lookout.
The excitement of aviation life called once again in 2005, when my partner found employment with Diamond Aircraft, a composite airplane manufacturer based in London, Ontario. Life would never be the same again!
I found temporary employment at Fanshawe College's Financial Services in November 2007, and I'm fond of saying how my life changed when I walked through those doors. There, I found a supportive and nurturing environment, and worked part-time for both Awards and Scholarships and Accounts Payable. Being in an academic environment and seeing the success of mature students made me consider returning to school, and in September 2008 I commenced studies in the Business program at Fanshawe College.
As an Indigenous student, I found support at 'The Gathering Place', as the First Nations Centre is called. There, I could make new friends, do schoolwork and use the computer lab. In addition, I was happy to contribute to student life by baking for the bake sales and as co-treasurer of the First Nations Student Association.
I continued working part-time in Accounts Payable for the majority of my two-year program where I gained invaluable experience about the College and found a welcoming place as part of the Accounts Payable and Purchasing team.
Currently, I'm busy learning my new role as Customer Service Representative in the First
Nations Centre. I have one daughter, Amanda, who will soon be 21 and, hopefully will be a
Fanshawe student in the future.
Fanshawe's First Nations Centre provides culturally supportive services and programs to
First Nations Status, Non-Status, Métis and Inuit students.
If you're an Indigenous student at Fanshawe, the FNC
would love to meet you. Drop by "The Gathering Place" in Room A1047, London Campus, or phone
519-452-4430 ext. 4619.
We encourage faculty and staff to refer their Indigenous students to the First Nations Centre too.
As well as providing counselling, referrals and student activities, the First Nations Centre is also a meeting place for First Nations Post Secondary Education Counsellors and their students.
Learn more at www.fanshawec.ca/firstnations.