U of T news
  • Follow U of T News

Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo joins U of T's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo has been named the first William A. Macdonald, Q.C Distinguished Fellow in Indigenous Education at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).

As a distinguished fellow, Atleo will support OISE’s new Indigenous education initiative, a comprehensive five-year program to explore the educational needs and aspirations of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world. (Read more about the initiative.)

"This new initiative is an important demonstration of the role universities can and must play as places of discussion, partnership and innovation in support of Indigenous education and Indigenous people," said Atleo.

Atleo will play a lead role in forging new partnerships among Indigenous peoples in Canada, government agencies, non-government organizations and the private sector, said OISE Dean Julia O’Sullivan. His appointment is supported by a $5-million gift from an anonymous donor – the largest donation ever made to a Canadian faculty of education for Indigenous education research. 

"I applaud the University of Toronto and OISE's dean, Julia O'Sullivan, for stepping into this leadership role and am honoured to be joining the excellence in Indigenous education already established through the scholarship of Dr. Suzanne Stewart, Dr. Jean-Paul Restoule and others at OISE," said Atleo.

"This initiative will bring enhanced focus to the learning needs, including our languages and cultures, of Indigenous children here and around the globe, to fully nurture and support their success." 

Atleo will also join the department of social justice education and the department of leadership, higher and adult education as an adjunct professor. 

A Hereditary Chief from the Ahousaht First Nation, Atleo was elected as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in July 2009 and was re-elected in 2012. Previously, he served two terms as Regional Chief of the BC AFN. Chief Atleo graduated in 2003 with a master’s of education in adult learning and global change from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. His accolades include 12 honorary degrees from universities in Canada and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his advocacy work on behalf of First Nations. Atleo also serves as the chancellor of Vancouver Island University.

"I am delighted to have Shawn Atleo joining OISE as a Distinguished Fellow and Adjunct Professor,” O’Sullivan said. “An inspirational leader, Chief Atleo will be an invaluable support to OISE students and faculty and to our Indigenous Education Initiative, which will position OISE as the global leader in indigenous education research.”