Jarita Greyeyes is an accomplished scholar and has worked tirelessly to support others’ learning journeys. She is nēhiyaw of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, both located in Treaty Six territory. Greyeyes moved to Winnipeg to attend the University of Winnipeg, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in 2006. Before moving to California to pursue a PhD in Race, Inequality, and Language in Education with a full scholarship at Stanford University, she worked as manager of the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre and Community Learning (2013) and as acting associate vice president of Indigenous Affairs at The University of Winnipeg.
As director of Community Learning and Engagement at the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre (2016), she built bridges to families in the inner city through the centre’s weekly Pow Wow Club, Sacred Seven Hoop Dancing and after-school homework and computer clubs. Greyeyes helped those living near UWinnipeg to connect with each other and participate in meaningful learning opportunities.
Under her leadership, the centre provided innovative programming to community members each year, culminating in thousands of visits including after-school youth programs focusing on culturally appropriate activities and Indigenous language programs in Cree and Ojibwe. Indigenous and core community members viewing these programs as a celebration of First Nations, Métis and Inuit accomplishments and contributions and a chance to transfer knowledge between generations.
Greyeye’s programs and skilled facilitation supported others as they progressed along their learning journeys. She helped create the first land-based Anishinaabemowin course, which saw students learn an Indigenous language on the land from both academics and traditional knowledge-keepers.
During her time as acting associate vice president of Indigenous Affairs, Greyeyes championed the ongoing efforts towards reconciliation and indigenization at the University of Winnipeg. Here, she collaborated with and advised other members of the executive to develop and implement initiatives that supported Indigenous education and culture.
Greyeyes mentors at the Stanford Native American Cultural Center and is a member of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Indigenous Circle. She has received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship and she is a 2019 Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar. She received the inaugural University of Winnipeg’s Weweni Future Scholar Award and was also the first Rawlco Aboriginal Saskatchewan Legislative Intern.
Photo credit Alan Greyeyes