Lakehead’s Ogimaawin Indigenous Education Council welcomes new members and names the new Chair

February 11, 2021 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.

Lakehead University’s Ogimaawin Indigenous Education Council (OIEC) has recently undergone a series of transformations following a thorough review of its bylaws, including revisions to its name, its mandate, and its membership.

Formerly known as the Ogimaawin Aboriginal Governance Council, the transition to Ogimaawin Indigenous Education Council came after its members believed that the new name aligned their group with similar Indigenous Education councils at other Ontario universities.

The OIEC continues its evolution as an important advisory body to Lakehead University. Its members include representatives from surrounding Indigenous community organizations and the OIEC has representatives on the University’s Board of Governors and Senate.

The OIEC meets several times a year together as a Council, and also with Lakehead’s President, to discuss and advise on issues related to Indigenous post-secondary education opportunities. The renewed focus elevates the opportunities for membership and input from Indigenous organizations and members at large. 

“The Council members constitute an invaluable resource to our University community, and we are very grateful for the positive impacts they have had, and will continue to have, on Lakehead’s success,” Dr. McPherson said. 

Lakehead University’s Ogimaawin Indigenous Education Council (OIEC) recently named Valerie Stortini as its new Chair.

“The OIEC is an engaged group of people from the University community, as well as the community at large,” said Stortini, who joined the Council in 2017 and is the Employment Counsellor for the Apatisiwin Program at the Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre.

“We meet regularly and contribute in many ways to advancing Indigenous content in Lakehead University’s curriculum.  I look forward to continuing in my role as Chair of the OIEC,” she added.

Dr. McPherson added, “I look forward to working with Valerie and the other members of the OIEC as we continue to strengthen engagement with Indigenous communities and work together to enhance experiences and outcomes for Indigenous students.”

Through its Strategic and Academic Plans, Lakehead University has committed to continuing to advance the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and Universities Canada’s Principles on Indigenous Education, recognizing that education is key to reconciliation and to the creation of a culture of understanding and appreciation throughout the University that will support a more equitable future for Indigenous people.

In alignment with the University’s Strategic and Academic Plans, the OIEC conveys the interests and concerns of Indigenous communities and serves as a channel of communication between Indigenous peoples and the University regarding issues that affect Indigenous post-secondary education.

The OIEC is currently undergoing a recruitment campaign to fill 10 vacancies on the Council. There are currently seven vacancies for members from Thunder Bay and Simcoe County organizations and three for at-large members.

Joining the OIEC is an opportunity to make long-lasting contributions to quality education and experiences at Lakehead University, ultimately benefitting students and the communities that Lakehead serves.

There is no deadline to apply. Nominations are accepted on an ongoing basis. Visit the recruitment section of the website for more information.

To learn more about the OIEC, visit


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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2020 World Universities Rankings for the second consecutive year, and 98th among 766 universities from around the world in THE's 2020 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit