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Centre in Indigenous Governance a hub for supporting research in governance issues, delivering career-focused programs to young Aboriginals

Pamela Palmater

Pamela Palmater, a Mi'kmaq lawyer and professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, was announced as the interim chair for the newly launched Centre in Indigenous Governance.

Ryerson University has launched the Centre in Indigenous Governance to build capacity for Aboriginal governance, support research in governance issues and enhance educational opportunities for Aboriginal students, Carla Cassidy, dean of the university's Faculty of Arts has announced.

The new centre will build on Ryerson's strengths in Aboriginal education and its history of developing expertise in Aboriginal governance. Pamela Palmater, a Mi'kmaq lawyer and professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, will lead the centre as interim chair for the next five years.

"Ryerson has long been committed to strengthening Aboriginal communities," said Cassidy, who has been instrumental in creating the centre and a previously established program on First Nations administration and governance. "I am delighted that the Centre in Indigenous Governance, with professor Palmater at its helm, will continue to help open doors for Aboriginal students to a wide spectrum of career options."

The interim chair has been established with the help of a $500,000 gift from Hydro One Networks Inc.

"Hydro One is pleased to have established a strong and long-standing relationship with Ryerson," said Lee Anne Cameron, director, First Nations and Métis Relations, Hydro One. "We are especially proud to play a role in the establishment of the chair of Aboriginal governance because of our stated commitment to working with First Nations and Métis peoples in a spirit of cooperation and shared responsibility. This work becomes increasingly important as we move forward with First Nations and Métis peoples to achieve the goals of the Green Energy Act by harnessing the green energy potential of this province."

In addition to offering leaders from Aboriginal communities a variety of workshops, seminars and training programs to address governance concerns, the centre will foster collaborative research on governance issues such as citizenship, treaties or land claims. Internships and research assistance opportunities will also be created for Aboriginal students.

"This is a perfect match for me," says Palmater, whose roots are in the Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick. "This centre spoke to me because it's about building capacity for Aboriginal people and their communities. It's also about giving Aboriginal students a wide range of career choices so they can enrich their communities with new-found knowledge and experience."

Palmater's many priorities include teaching and developing curriculum relevant to Aboriginal governance, economic development and entrepreneurship, working with Aboriginal organizations across Canada to reach urban Aboriginal populations and high school students, supporting new research on indigenous governance issues and mentoring Aboriginal instructors. She will play an important role in encouraging young Aboriginal students to consider public service as a career, both within and outside of their communities.

Palmater will also oversee the successful First Nations public administration program, which provides a university credit program in public administration to Aboriginal administrators across Ontario through a partnership with the First Nations Technical Institute. 

In addition to the generous gift from Hydro One, the Centre in Indigenous Governance is also supported by generous donations from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and Vale Inco. 

"The Centre in Indigenous Governance would not be possible without the exceptional support of Hydro One, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and Vale Inco," said Adam B. Kahan, vice-president, university advancement. "Their leadership in Aboriginal education will continue to have an impact on communities across Canada for years to come."

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