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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 counseling, advising and educating on Indigenous concerns, empowering and capacity building and advocating for change in terms of broader societal relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous 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 Indigenous 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.  She sits on several councils and committees.

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

She sat as the Elder for Ryerson University, Ryerson’s Aboriginal Education Council, and the Truth and Reconciliation directive and as a Traditional counselor at Ryerson’s Aboriginal Student Services for 10 years. "Her presence on this council was essential to its ability to work as a cohesive, respectful body responsible for the infusion of Indigenous curriculum, worldviews 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 Indigenous 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 people and 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 humorous, passionate and commanding speaker.



HONORARY DOCTORATE, Ryerson University

DALIA LAMA 10/30/07

MY WONDERFUL FAMILY

Christmas 2008

First Pow Wow 1st Birthday

Proud Mommy Tammy Zacharie's first day

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