Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Ph.D. 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 and continues to develop pathways forward to reconciliation across Canada. Cynthia was inducted as a “Honourary Witness” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2014, and is the 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 where she remains a faculty member and is currently the Interim Director for the Indigenous Leadership Program. She is also Chair of the Teach for Canada non-profit which recruits teachers for remote First Nation schools in Ontario and Manitoba.
Cynthia 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. She sees endless merit in bringing people from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds together to engage in practical dialogue and applied research initiatives. She is deeply committed to public education and offers as many as 150 key notes, workshops, and training sessions annually to a variety of groups, organizations and institutions. She teaches on historic and contemporary Indigenous trauma and wisdom, treaties and right relations, active youth engagement, and Indigenizing education.
She is always interested in mentoring young people and co-founded a youth project out of the University of Toronto, the University of Saskatchewan and Lakehead University. More information on the Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) can be found at: www.canadianroots.ca.