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Claudette Michell

Marsha Hanen Award for Excellence in Creating Community Awareness


Claudette Michell

BA (Honours).

The UWinnipeg community mourns the loss of Claudette Michell, our colleague, alumna, and friend, who passed away on October 5, 2012.

Claudette Michell was the “go to” person for students in Winnipeg’s North End. They valued her encouragement and guidance in finding their way into a post-secondary educational setting. With her open door policy, Claudette built close and trusting relationships with each student. She removed obstacles, and in a quiet and unassuming way, was an important and dignified role model.

As Program Coordinator with The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies, located on Selkirk Avenue, Claudette was always ready to assist a student in need — whether that need was for tutoring, emotional support, affordable daycare or a quiet place to study.

From July 2010 to September 2012, she made approximately 50 visits to inner-city high schools and organizations to promote UWinnipeg and the available supports. She also met with more than 100 potential students who came to the North End site looking for information. To help assure student success, Claudette designed and delivered a one-week orientation program that significantly increases student readiness for university.

Claudette Michell earned her Bachelor of Arts with Honours degree in the areas of Aboriginal Governance and Conflict Resolution from UWinnipeg in 2009. She also obtained the Aboriginal Self Government Administration Diploma from Red River College and a Business Administration Diploma from Keewatin Community College in The Pas. She authored Circles of Healing and Transformation: Aboriginal Women and Adult Education, to be published in the Spring of 2013.

Claudette was involved as a participant with the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence through a research project titled pê-âcimohk: kiskino mâto tapanâsk - Digital Stories of the Intergenerational Effects on Professional First Nations Women Whose Mothers are Residential School Survivors. The results of this research project have been presented on numerous occasions, including at the Truth and Reconciliation Committee headed by Justice Murray Sinclair. In December of 2011, Claudette was presented with the Aboriginal Educator of the Month Award for her contribution to Aboriginal education, especially in Winnipeg’s inner city.

Claudette was a member of the Barren Lands Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba; she was a Sun Dancer, a mother of four, and grandmother of two.

Her passion and hands-on commitment to accessible education underlined her success in bridging UWinnipeg with the Aboriginal community. The University of Winnipeg is honoured to present the Marsha Hanen Award for Excellence in Creating Community Awareness to Claudette Michell, posthumously.