Chair on Truth and Reconciliation

Headshot of Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux

Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux

Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux served as Vice Provost for Indigenous Initiatives at Lakehead University for three years. Effective September 2016 she was appointed as the 1st Indigenous Chair for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada for Lakehead University. Cynthia was inducted as a “Honourary Witness” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2014, and is Chair of the Governing Circle for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

Cynthia was the inaugural Nexen Chair for Indigenous Leadership at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and remains a faculty member in the Indigenous Learning program. She is a board member for Capacity Canada which addresses the management needs of Canadian non-profit organizations and also sits on the boards of the Sharing Place Food Bank and Kitchen and the Centre for Arts and Culture in Orillia, Ontario. In April 2022, she was invited to join the National Killam Selection Committee for the National Killam Program and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).

Cynthia is responsible for the development and implementation of the President’s Council for the Truth and Reconciliation and the nine modules designed to engage the staff, faculty and administration of the Lakehead community. She continues to develop pathways forward to reconciliation across Canada offering over 100 key notes, workshops and presentations on Truth and Reconciliation to a broad diversity of people, organizations, schools, churches, and governments.

She is a member and resident of the Chippewa of Georgina Island First Nation in Ontario and has dedicated her life to building bridges of understanding between peoples. She sees endless merit in bringing people from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds together to engage in practical dialogue and applied research initiatives and is deeply committed to public education and active youth engagement from all cultures and backgrounds. 

In 2008, Cynthia co-founded a youth project out of the University of Toronto, the University of Saskatchewan and Lakehead University which is still going strong and supports youth led reconciliation events across Canada. Information on the Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) can be found at:

Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux
Chair on Truth & Reconciliation

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