Mary Courchene is a residential school survivor. Born and raised on the Sagkeeng First Nation and moved away in 1971 attaining degrees in Arts and Education from the University of Brandon and the University of Manitoba.Mary’s career journey is extensive, including teaching in elementary and high schools, working as a school counselor and later as a school administrator. She was also an Assistant Superintendent within the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC).
During her years as the first Principal of Children of The Earth High School (the first urban Aboriginal high school), she was active in serving the urban community on various boards such as the Aboriginal Advisory Committee to the Winnipeg Police Service, Board of Directors for the St. Amant Centre and the initial Chair of the Legacy Committee for the 1999 Pan Am Games. She also was a founding member of Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre (MFNERC).
Mary is a recognized visionary and leader who works tirelessly in advancing education and community endeavours. In 1992, Mary received a YMCA/YWCA Woman of the Year award and was the Aboriginal Community Educator of the Year in 2001.In 2000 Mary Courchene accepted the position of Dean of Aboriginal Education at Red River College which she held until retirement. The Aboriginal Circle of Educators recently awarded her with the Innovator Trailblazer Educators Award. As well, Mary has been nominated twice for the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. She is an honored grandmother of the Keep the Fires Burning, and was awarded with a sacred shawl with community recognition in 2008. Most recently, Mary received the Canadian Teachers’ Federation 2014 Outstanding Aboriginal Educator Award.
Mary’s legacy, speaks to the multitude of Aboriginal Education endeavours she has and continues to be involved in. As Elder in Residence for Seven Oaks School Division, Mary is available to serve as an overall advisor to all schools on Aboriginal Educational matters.
She has expertise in residential school curricula especially at the middle school and high school levels. Mary actively works in classrooms, school assemblies, provides professional development for schools and works closely with administrators, teachers and staff. Mary is involved in supporting many divisional events as an advisor and Elder in Residence. Mary’s gift is her ability to share her vast experience of over 40 years in the field of public education and working with numerous First Nations communities.
Mary can be reached at 204-807-6070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.