November 23, 2019
(Toronto, Ont.) -- First Nations Technical Institute president, Suzanne Katsi’tsiarihshion Brant, was awarded a 2019 Bryden Alumni Award from York University last night.
Brant was selected as the recipient for the Tentanda Via category award for her demonstrated innovative, unconventional and daring leadership and success, which reflects the university’s motto, ‘The Way Must Be Tried.’
“When I entered York University I knew what I wanted to accomplish. I had a clear vision of creating courses from an Indigenous perspective,” said Brant. “Knowing there was a gap in Indigenous human health and environmental health, I created a new program called Indigenous community health approaches. The outcome was a 12-course advanced diploma program delivered by FNTI to Indigenous communities throughout Ontario, resulting in a new generation of Indigenous health workers. At that time, I had no idea that my education at York University would put me on the path to becoming the President of FNTI, a world-class Indigenous post-secondary education institute.”
Brant earned a master’s degree in environmental studies from York University and is a recognized traditional health educator and program developer. Suzanne graduated from the Institute of Integrated Medicine as an integrated medical clinician. As FNTI president, Brant is focused on ensuring that Indigenous knowledge is woven through all aspects of the Institute and is committed to the idea that ‘responsive education’ remains the hallmark of her vision.
The York University alumna is a current and founding board member of Honouring Indigenous Peoples (HIP). She is a past board member of Aboriginal Institutes Consortium (vice-chair), St. Lawrence College Board of Governors, Tyendinaga Head Start program, founding board member of CKWE Tyendinaga Radio, and Great Lakes United (International).
Brant has a strong commitment to Haudenosaunee language, culture, and traditions. She is an accomplished visual artist and photographer, having exhibited work at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ont. and Gallery 121 in Belleville, Ont. She is a seasoned gardener and grower, specializing in Haudenosaunee traditional food systems and medicinal plants. She celebrates her relationship with her four incredible children and two beautiful granddaughters.
FNTI serves 175 of 667 Indigenous communities across Canada and 102 of 129 in Ontario. The institute welcomes approximately 300 students annually, who range from 18 to 70+ years of age and come from First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities from Ontario and across Canada.
The awards ceremony took place on November 22 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto, Ont.
Left to right: Francesca Accinelli, Chair, York University Alumni Board; Rhonda Lenton, President and Vice-Chancellor, York University; Suzanne Brant, President, First Nations Technical Institute;
Bruno Jauernig, Vice-President of Business Marketing Planning and Strategic Initiatives, TD Insurance; and Dr. Dan Longboat, Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council.
The First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) is an Indigenous-owned and governed post-secondary institute founded in programming rooted in Indigegogy and Indigenous ways of knowing. FNTI is a registered charitable organization, accredited by the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC), and a member of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). FNTI has over 4,000 graduates with certificate, diploma and degree credentials issued in partnership with recognized Ontario colleges and universities and will begin the delivery of standalone Indigenous bachelor’s degrees in 2020 in accordance with the Indigenous Institute Act, 2017.
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