UWinnipeg names first Director of Indigenous Inclusion
October 4, 2012
Photo Wab Kinew
WINNIPEG, MB - The University of Winnipeg today announced that well-known broadcaster, record producer, hip hop artist and a graduate of UWinnipeg's Collegiate, Wab Kinew, is returning to campus as the University's first Director of Indigenous Inclusion.
In his new position, Kinew will gather expertise on developing, recruiting and retaining Indigenous talent as well as strategies for working with Indigenous communities. A specific focus will be placed on nurturing Aboriginal entrepreneurship and business training. With his Economics background, Kinew has a strong interest in economic development and will design and offer a community program steeped in Aboriginal culture and aimed at youth under the age of 25 interested in learning the fundamentals of running a business. It will be a free, 12 week program, open to anyone in the community (including non-Aboriginal students) operating out of UWinnipeg's Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre on Ellice Avenue. In addition to the youth entrepreneur program, Kinew will establish programs that connect Aboriginal people of all ages with the economy and labour force.
Like Wii Chiiwaakanak, funding for the Director's position and programming comes from robust private fundraising and does not impact the University's operating budget.
“Wab Kinew is a dynamic role-model to Manitoba's next generation of talented Aboriginal youth, and a gifted teacher who connects in an authentic way with young people,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “We are honoured Wab can help expand our expertise in Indigenous inclusion by developing workshops, courses, multi-media tools and most importantly, a welcoming place where inner city youth can thrive.”
Last spring, Wab Kinew and his father, UWinnipeg Elder and instructor Tobasonakwut Kinew began to offer very popular, free Let's Speak Ojibwe To Our Kids classes for parents and children to learn together with Elders speaking Anishinaabemowin (the Ojibwe language) at The Wii Chiiwaaknak Learning Centre.
"In one generation in my family we've gone from the residential school era where education was a tool of oppression, to the modern era where it is a tool of self-empowerment," said Kinew."I am very excited to help The University of Winnipeg provide a quality education that also reflects who we are as Indigenous people."
Wab Kinew is a one-of-a-kind musical talent, and exemplifies the spirit of his ancestors. Kinew is a hip-hop artist and former CBC radio producer/host/reporter who rose to national prominence for writing, producing and hosting the groundbreaking series 8th Fire. He has earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics (University of Manitoba), and training in the traditional medicine ways of his Anishinaabe people. Kinew has won numerous awards and accolades including:
2012 “1 of 9 Aboriginal Movers and Shakers You Should Know” - PostMedia News;
2011 Gemini Nomination: Best News Information Segment;
2009 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award: Best Rap/Hip-Hop CD
The Wii Chiiwaaknak Learning Centre opened in 2005 and is located on the main floor of the Helen Betty Osborne building at 511 Ellice Avenue. Wii Chiiwaaknak provides the community with free and open access to the RBC Community Learning Commons computers, community meeting spaces, after school homework clubs, cultural programs, services to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal inner-city children, youth, adults, seniors and their families, as well as the campus community.
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Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg