WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg today announced establishment of a $10,000 fund in honour of Dr. Tobasonakwut Kinew, an esteemed member of the UWinnipeg community in his multiple roles as elder and instructor in the Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance and Master’s in Development Practice with a focus on Indigenous Development, and recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from UWinnipeg in 2011.
The Dr. Tobasonakwut Kinew Fund for the promotion of Indigenous Culture, History and Language is possible because of a personal $5,000 donation by Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg and his wife Ms. Denise Ommanney, and a personal $5,000 donation by Tobasonakwut’s son Wab Kinew, UWinnipeg’s Director of Indigenous Inclusion. Additional donations to the fund are gratefully accepted by The University of Winnipeg Foundation.
“This fund will allow UWinnipeg to continue strengthening Indigenous programming for both the university and our surrounding neighbourhood, with more offerings like the popular Ojibwe class at our Wii Chiiwaaknak Learning Centre as well as specialized seminars and research projects,” said Axworthy. “Through his long and varied career, Tobasonakwut has instilled respect for all Indigenous peoples and their unique ways of thinking and perceiving the world. We are investing in this llife’s work.”
Born on a trapline in Lake of the Woods, Tobasonakwut Kinew is a pipe carrier, a high degree member of the Anishinaabe Mite’iwin, and a Sundancer of many years of both the Anishinaabe and Lakota traditions. In October 2012, Tobasonakwut and Dr. Phil Fontaine honoured Axworthy – Waapshki Pinaysee Inini – White Thunderbird Man, at a sacred pipe ceremony on campus.
“My father is a tireless advocate for reconciliation, believing that non-Indigenous people should embrace the Indigenous community, but also that Indigenous people must share the wisdom and beauty of our culture for the benefit of all,” said Wab Kinew. “I’m happy this fund will make sure that vision lives on.”
A residential school survivor, Tobasonakwut rose to be a Chief and of the Ojibways of Onigaming, a founding member of both the National Indian Brotherhood and the Assembly of First Nations, Grand Chief of Treaty #3 and the Regional Chiefs of all Chiefs of Ontario First Nations in the mid 1980s.He is a tireless advocate for higher education and is a founding member of the Native American Academy of Science and founding member of UWinnipeg’s Indigenous Advisory Council.
“Dr. Kinew lives his life sharing the Anishinaabe teachings with others, to change the world for the betterment of all peoples,” said Dr. Phil Fontaine, former national chief, Assembly of First Nations and member of UWinnipeg’s Indigenous Advisory Circle.
Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
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