Tricky Administrative Spaces: Indigenous Women Administrators’ Experiences in Canadian Universities

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Topic: Tricky Administrative Spaces: Indigenous Women Administrators’ Experiences in Canadian Universities

Date: Tuesday, September 19th, 10:30am – 12pm

Location: Gallery Space at the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

Co-sponsored with the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies


Abstract: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada (TRC, 2015) has been an undeniably powerful force in raising Indigenous educational needs and voices in university change processes over the last eight years. At the same time, the Indigenizing policy movement has been accompanied by a number of challenges for Indigenous people who see the performative nature and rhetoric around reconciliation discourses in the academy. Amidst increasing debate about the challenges, new senior administrative offices and positions have been instituted in many Canadian universities. These new leadership roles are frequently occupied by Indigenous women who, despite their increasing numbers, often find themselves working in tricky academic administrative contexts, dominated by white male settler structures and norms. This talk aims to explore some of the deeper and ongoing structural and ideological issues that limit institutional-Indigenization work in Canadian universities with a particular focus on the lived experiences of Indigenous women administrators striving to advance Indigenous educational sovereignty.


Candace Brunette-Debassige is a Mushkego-ininew iskwew and member of Albany First Nation with both Cree and French lineage. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor and Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Education at Western University. Brunette-Debassige was the recipient of the George L. Geis Dissertation Award by the Canadian Society for the Studies in Higher Education (CSSHE) in 2021 and the Outstanding Scholarship for Emerging Scholar by the International Leadership Association (ILS) in 2022. Beyond her scholarship, Brunette-Debassige brings over twenty years of experience working in Indigenous education at K-12 and postsecondary levels. At Western, she has served as Acting Vice Provost /Assistant Vice President (Indigenous Initiatives), Special Advisor to the Provost (Indigenous), and Director of Indigenous Student Services. Brunette-Debassige’s teaching and research centers on the liberatory needs of Indigenous Peoples in Euro-Western colonial educational settings in Canada.

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