Alumni Corner: Mike Akiwenzie

Mike Akiwenzie at the 2012 NITEP Student Gathering

Mike Akiwenzie at the 2013 NITEP Student Gathering

Boozhoo. My name is Mike Akiwenzie; I am from the Anishinaabek Nation, a member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nations. I am a proud graduate of NITEP. After completing a Bachelor degree in Education in 1991, I began teaching at Grandview/¿uuqinak’uuh Elementary School in Vancouver. As a resource teacher I taught Cognitive Education Enrichment and a reading recovery program to Grades 4 to 7.

In 1992, I moved to the Richmond School District into a teacher consultant position. As the new District First Nations Resource Teacher, I created, developed and taught lessons and units on First Nations science, math, and traditions to Grades 1 to 12. As a member of the Learning Services Department I support the academic, social, and emotional well being of Aboriginal students.

In 2009, I completed a Master Degree in Counselling Psychology and since then I have been a Secondary Counsellor and presently, I am an Elementary School Counsellor in the Richmond School District. It is through my personal and professional experiences that I know the
importance of maintaining a positive cultural identity. As Indigenous people we have witnessed many kinds of floods that have attempted to wash our communities away. However, as in our traditional flood story, Waynaboozhoo (transformer/cultural hero), armed with traditional wisdom, knowledge and skills faced the unknown future with hope and endless possibilities. As an educator and counsellor I am still hungry for knowledge and ways to increase my capacity. Like our traditional super hero Waynaboozhoo, I am learning to be a healer and transformer adapting to every situation.

Mike Akiwenzie