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Cohort 2012

Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance


Vanessa SimoneVanessa Simone
Born and raised in the suburb of Mississauga, Ontario.

She graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from McMaster University.  Throughout her undergraduate career, Vanessa developed an interest in pursuing her post- graduate studies in a field that focused on Indigenous issues, and most importantly, focused on Indigenous rights.  The interdisciplinary field of Indigenous Governance at the University of Winnipeg best suited her research interests of advocating for Indigenous Human Rights.  Vanessa’s thesis focuses on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and how it can be enforced in Canada based on the opinions on Manitoba Chiefs.  Vanessa is thankful to the Indigenous Governance department for their support of her education through the Indigenous Governance Graduate Scholarship and the Indigenous Studies Graduate Assistantship program.

Research interest:
International Indigenous Rights, Indigenous Rights in Canada


Robert HamiltonRobert Hamilton
Member of Long Plain First Nation

Robert grew up in Toronto with his mother and sister. After finishing high school, he went to Laurentian University to study chemistry but finished his studies through the philosophy department.  Robert lived in Korea for 3 years teaching English at Yonsei University’s Korean Language Institute.   Soon he discovered that he knew more about other cultures than he did he own; he decided to see if there were any graduate programs that could teach him how to live the good life. Fortunately, for him, there was such a program at the University of Winnipeg called the Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance.

Robert is currently working on his thesis. His topic is on Canadian sovereignty, private property and the erasure of Anishinabe identity, meaning and worldview. Following the western mystical tradition, he believes the self is the other; the other is the self; both are the one; and the one is being. He argues that, unlike the Euro-Canadian system, which tends to locate the self exclusively within the human realm, the Anishinabe worldview, informed by the Midewiwin, is more inclusive and responsible because it locates the self within the land and animals, over which humans have no proper right to control, master or dominate. In Robert’s view, this means that the land and the animals all share the same spiritual substance; so that, if one is degraded, all are degraded. Consequently, the actualization of Anishinabe agency depends of recognizing the agency of the land and animals. This recognition requires respect, consent, compassion and the sharing of mutual responsibility towards one another. The loss of agency is the loss of identity. Canadian sovereignty and private property do not recognize the agency of the land and animals, which means that, in Robert’s opinion, both are premised on the loss of Anishinabe identity, meaning, and worldview.


Richard Stcenko

Richard was born and raised in Winnipeg; his father emigrated from a small town near Chernobyl and his mother’s parents from Odessa. He returned to University of Winnipeg in 2005 as a part-time student and eventually received a 4-year B.A. in Rhetoric; he enrolled in the Masters in Indigenous Governance in 2012.

Richard is interested in the discourses of self-determination, colonization, de-colonization, identity, and governance. In particular, he is examining the ‘how’ of governance, how governments control both the broad sweep and the minutia of our lives.