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Aboriginal Initiatives

Monica McKay in an orange shirt that reads "Every child matters"
Monica McKay, Director, Aboriginal Initiatives

Aboriginal Initiatives is one of the units that make up the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion (OVPECI). Led by Monica McKay, the unit provides assistance and support to the Aboriginal community at Ryerson, working to foster successful and meaningful academic experiences without barriers.

What we do

We build internal and external partnerships with Ryerson students, faculty, staff and the broader Aboriginal community in order to advance the priorities of the Aboriginal Education Council. These priorities include student success, teaching, learning, research, community engagement and capacity building. A relational model with an emphasis on listening, analysis, advising and collaboration is used as a foundation to achieve our goals.

Aboriginal Initiatives is represented on a number of committees and working groups to advance Aboriginal education. We offer advice, share experience and expertise to develop strategies, initiatives and programming whose priorities include access for the Canadian Indigenous student population at Ryerson, and fostering collaboration and partnerships with the wider Indigenous communities.

Students are at the heart of our work

Our team provides support for students through events and programming organized by Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services (RASS). The team also runs a number of services, including the Aboriginal Student Centre.

At the Aboriginal Student Services graduation, Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members gathered in a circle with drummers in the centre. The Eagle Staff stands nearby.

Culturally-supportive student support

RASS provides specialized services for students who identify as First Nations, Inuit, Metis, Canadian Indigenous students (or those who identify by nation or community) at Ryerson, all while developing a mutually productive relationship between Ryerson and the Aboriginal community. Visit the Aboriginal Student Services website to learn more.

Indigenous community members gather in the Aboriginal Student Centre

A safe space to convene 

The Aboriginal Student Centre, located in room KHW-372 in Kerr Hall West, is a safe space for students to convene. The space includes a computer room, study room, kitchen and area to socialize and gather. Before you drop in for the first time, please contact Sheila Saikkonen (Administrative Assistant, Aboriginal Student Services) at ssaikkon@ryerson.ca or 416-979-5000, ext. 7699 so she can get you acquainted with the space.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about programs and services for Aboriginal students, please contact Sheila Saikkonen (Administrative Assistant, Aboriginal Student Services) at ssaikkon@ryerson.ca or 416-979-5000, ext. 7699.

If you have any questions about Aboriginal Initiatives, please contact Cheryl Trudeau (Office of Aboriginal Initiatives Administrative Assistant and Aboriginal Education Council Coordinator) at cktrudeau@ryerson.ca or  416-979-5000, ext. 4636.