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Joanne (Okimawininew) Dallaire LLD


Wachiya - 'Being OK with not being OK is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves.'


Joanne is proudly Cree, her ancestry is Omushkego from Attawapiskat and Mattice Ontario and Hull Quebec, calling Toronto home.



Joanne has dedicated her career to counselling, advising and educating on Aboriginal concerns, empowering and capacity building and advocating for change in terms of broader societal relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Her over 30-year social service career has contributed to transforming the lives of individuals, and the culture of agencies and the recognition and respect for Aboriginal people, concerns and contributions within mainstream society.

Joanne facilitates and consults in the not for profit sector and Toronto District School Board, around hiring practices, staff training, group facilitation and policy and procedures development.

Joanne received an Honorary Doctor of Laws in the Community Service Faculty at Ryerson University June 2011 in recognition of her life’s work, the Minaake Award for Leadership in 2015, the 2015 Herbert H Carnegie Amazing Aces award for Courage, the City of Toronto Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards – Aboriginal Affairs Award 2015.

She currently sits as the Elder for Ryerson University, Ryerson’s Aboriginal Education Council, and the Truth and Reconciliation directive and as a Traditional counsellor at Ryerson’s Aboriginal Student Services and continues in her business, Healing Works providing service to the GTA.

"Her presence on this council is essential to its ability to work as a cohesive, respectful body responsible for the infusion of Aboriginal curriculum, world views and overall presence in Ryerson University as a whole. It is in no way an exaggeration to say the progress that is envisioned for Ryerson University in terms of the mandate of the Aboriginal Education Council would not be possible without the support, guidance and active engagement of Joanne."

Joanne's approaches to working with individuals as well as small and large groups are not only comprehensive but creative, effective and unique.  Her work has transformed lives and improved relations between the Aboriginal community and the non-Aboriginal community.  She openly shares her own life's journey through all forms of abuse, intergenerational trauma from Residential School and finding her profound sense of self.

Joanne is sought out as a passionate and commanding speaker.



Here are some very important people, daughter Tammy, grandson Zacharie and a few special occasions and of course the four-legged family member, Samson.

Grade 1, 2013, proud of the necklace he chose.

First day of J.K. Sept. 2011

My beautiful daughter.

Honorary Doctorate of Laws June 2011

Celebrating with my Kookum.

July 2010         Christmas 2008

First Pow Wow   1st Birthday

Dalai Lama 10/30/07

Proud Mommy Tammy  The first day

Samson is the name, A.K.A. the 'Prince'.