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Two exceptional community leaders receive honorary doctorates

Diane Redsky (Left) and Dr. Alex Wilson (Right. Photo credit: Alex Moodie) are being recognized with Honorary Doctor of Laws during UWinnipeg’s 120th Convocation.

Exceptional community leaders Diane Redsky and Dr. Alex Wilson will receive honorary degrees at The University of Winnipeg’s Spring Convocation ceremonies on Thursday, June 9 and Friday, June 10. 

“UWinnipeg is proud to recognize Diane Redsky and Dr. Alex Wilson for their lifelong dedication to advocating for social change,” said University of Winnipeg Chancellor Barb Gamey. “Their leadership has had a profound effect on the individuals they work with and is foundational in our work as a society to move towards reconciliation.” 

Diane Redsky – Honorary Doctor of Laws 

Diane Redsky will be recognized at UWinnipeg’s Spring Convocation ceremony taking place on Thursday, June 9 at 2:30 pm.

Redsky, a member of Shoal Lake First Nation 40, is a community leader whose dedication to supporting healthy families, and empowering women is instrumental in strengthening the health and well-being of Winnipeg’s Indigenous community.

Thanks to Redsky’s leadership – professionally and as a volunteer – there are innovative programs to support Indigenous women and children, safe havens for survivors, and recovery programs for people in need.

As executive director of the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Redsky plays a vital role in the delivery of community-based services and programs centred around the values of Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata, which means “We all work together to help one another” in Ojibway.

She is a well-spoken advocate for ending violence against women. Her commitment to creating safe spaces to support women and girls affected by sex trafficking has led her to gather data, lobby policy makers, and develop programming for survivors.

She led the National Task Force on Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada when it delivered a comprehensive strategy to end sex trafficking in Canada. She has partnered with the RCMP provincially and nationally, shared her expertise with federal and provincial governments, represented Canada at the United Nations, and provided instrumental guidance in the development of UWinnipeg’s course Sex Trafficking: Global to Local. Her work with the Joy Smith Foundation ensures every Canadian is safe from sex trade practices by educating the public and supporting front-line organizations that rescue and rehabilitate victims.

Redsky’s contributions to advancing human rights and improving the lives of Indigenous women and girls has been recognized with many awards including the YWCA Woman of Distinction, The Joy Smith Foundation Leadership Award, and the Order of Manitoba.

Dr. Alex Wilson – Honorary Doctor of Laws 

Dr. Alex Wilson will be recognized at UWinnipeg’s Spring Convocation ceremony taking place on Thursday, June 9 at 9:30 am.

Dr. Wilson is an acclaimed educator, scholar, and researcher whose commitment to building and sharing knowledge about land-based learning and two-spirit identity, history and teachings has influenced educational policy at regional, national, and international levels. 

Wilson is from and lives in the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. The first Canadian First Nations woman to receive a doctorate from Harvard, her experience as a teaching fellow in Harvard’s first interdisciplinary course on First Peoples and governance led to the formation of two courses that now serve as a foundation for training curriculum in communities throughout Canada and the United States.

A leader in land-based learning pedagogy and research methodology, Wilson co-developed and currently oversees the Indigenous land-based education graduate program at the University of Saskatchewan.

A champion of the rights of queer, trans, and two-spirit people, Wilson’s work addresses some of the most pressing issues facing Indigenous communities; chronically insufficient housing, record high suicide rates, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-spirit people.

She has published and presented extensively on issues of sexuality, gender, culture, community, and spirituality. Her efforts to revitalize Cree culture and her dedication to supporting LGBTQ2S+ people and First Nations people have earned her recognition from the Manitoba Legislature and Canadian Parliament.  

As an organizer of the Idle No More movement, which calls for honouring and fulfilling Indigenous sovereignty and the protection of the land, water, and sky, Wilson co-developed the revolutionary environmentally sustainable housing project “One House, Many Nations,” which dovetails with her work on housing conditions in Indigenous communities. 


In recognition of exceptional service, achievement, and distinction, The University of Winnipeg presents a variety of awards to deserving members of the University family and wider community twice annually at Convocation.  Find out more at 2022 Spring Convocation.

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