Current Graduate Students

Leonzo Barreno

PhD Candidate
MA University of Regina (2011)
BAHons SIFC (1997)

Leonzo Barreno is a Mayan from Guatemala. He came to Saskatchewan in 1989. He holds a BA Honors in Indigenous Studies (SIFC) and a MA in Justice Studies (University of Regina).  Currently, he is pursuing his Doctorate in Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

Leonzo was the SIFC’s Coordinator of International Indigenous Programs where more than 100 Indigenous leaders from 20 countries received university training. The program was also offered for two years in Costa Rica and one year in Chiapas, Mexico.

With the advice of Aboriginal Elders, he developed the concept, goal and activities of Aboriginal Youth Programs.  In 2000, Leonzo was appointed the SIFC’s Director of the Indigenous Center for International Development (ICID) where he managed the Indigenous program in partnership with the University of Chiapas, Mexico.  Academic teams created a Masters in Indigenous Education and an undergraduate Degree in Management and Indigenous Self Development in Mexico. Leonzo taught the Course "International Indigenous Issues” for seven years.

He has served as the “Global Television Chair” and Adjunct Professor for the School of Journalism, University of Regina where he now teaches Rights and Responsibilities of the Journalist and Indigenous Peoples and the Press.  He links the School’s students with Aboriginal and community groups, and shares his knowledge with other faculties and colleges of the University of Regina.

Leonzo has given presentations about Indigenous development and Indigenous higher education in several universities and forums in Chile, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and Mexico and to the Inter American Development Bank in Washington. He is the author of Indigenous Higher Education in Latin America (2003) used as a working document by the UNESCO-Latin America gathering of international experts in Guatemala in April 2002.  In January 2003, Mr. Barreno testified before the Senate of Canada Standing Committee on Aboriginal People, about the issues affecting Aboriginal youth as the Committee aimed to develop a national "Action Plan for Change.” 

Leonzo’ main academic interests are Critical Studies, Justice Studies, Indigenous Peoples, Genocide Studies and post-colonial movements.

Danielle Bird

MA Student 
BA University of Saskatchewan (2016)

Danielle Bird is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta and has familial ties to the Mistawasis Nehiyawak in West Central Saskatchewan. She graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Minor in Indigenous Studies (with Great Distinction). Danielle is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts program and her research will focus on the high rates of "institutionalized" and "criminalized" Indigenous women in the Prairie Provinces.

Blake Charles

Blake Charles

PhD Student
MNGD University of Saskatchewan (2015)
PGD University of Saskatchewan (1995)
BED University of Saskatchewan (1988)

Blake was raised in the Hamlet of Stanley Mission and area. His early education was provided by life in the bush in his early years, travelling by dog team in the winter and by canoe in the summer. Later he attended school in Stanley Mission. After graduating from high school, Blake received a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan and became a teacher. He pursued post-graduate education and now holds a Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters of Northern Governance and Development. Blake began his career in Education in 1988 and has served as a classroom teacher, principal, director, sessional lecturer, and as the Executive Director of the Lac La Ronge First Nation. Blake is currently General Manager of the Northern Lights Community Development Corporation in Prince Albert.

Blake's personal pursuits have exposed him to much of Northern life. He still maintains a connection to the subsistence lifestyle near Waddy Lake.

Blake's first language is Cree.

Roberta Desnomie

MA Student 
BA Smith College (2006) 

Roberta is muskego/anishinaabe on her mother's side (her maternal kokum was affiliated with the Opaskwayak Cree Nation) and Plains Cree on her father's side (Pihpikisis Cree Nation). She was born in Snow Lake, Manitoba. Since then she has lived in 4 provinces, 1 territory, 8 states and the District of Columbia. Roberta dropped out of high school in Grade 8 following an all-too familiar path for Aboriginal youth in Canada. She eventually received her GED in 1992 and joined the Canadian Armed Forces until 1995, serving as a Gunner with the 18th Air Defence Regiment in Lethbridge, Alberta. After a run-in with law enforcement and the judicial system and being sentenced to a term of four months at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, Roberta was struck by the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the prison system. This experience shaped the direction of her future academic career and aspirations. In 1999, she applied to and was accepted at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM where she earned her AA degree in Creative Writing and Studio Art ('02). In 2003 she entered her undergrad alma mater, Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts where she double-majored in Sociology and Anthropology and minored in International Relations ('06). She served as a Congressional Intern in Washington, DC for two consecutive summers ('05 and '06) at the Department of Interior with the Office of Management and Budget and the Bureau of Indian Affairs--Tribal Relations. This internship helped to clarify her goals and impressed upon her the critical importance of tribal organization coming from within indigenous communities, not without. After working in the non-profit and public schools sector for several years, she came back to Canada in the Fall of 2010 to study under Professor Patricia Monture at the Department of Sociology. After Professor Monture's passing, Roberta transferred from the Department of Sociology to Native Studies, where she is currently in the final stages of her MA program under Dr. Robert Innes. Roberta has plans to earn a JD and eventually to do PhD work with the intention of using this background to advocate for the full realization of indigenous self-determination.

Michelle Hogan

PhD Candidate
MA Saskatchewan (2008)
BA First Nations University of Canada (2005)

Michelle Hogan is a member of the Batchewana First Nation in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and the single parent of seven children. She has earned an Associate of Science Degree in Computer Science from Camosun College in Victoria, BC. in 2002 and a BA (Honours) in Indigenous Studies from the University of Regina in 2005. She has earned a Master of Arts in Native Studies from the University of Saskatchewan in 2008. Her MA thesis was titled: "They're Tough, These Women!": The Everyday Resistance of Aboriginal Women to Dehumanization by Government Agencies. Michelle is presently a PhD student in Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research will be on The Role of Tradition in Aboriginal Health and Wellness. Her research interests include Aboriginal women, cultural constructions of Aboriginality and the potential use of natural sciences in Native Studies.

Swapna Padmanabha

PhD Student
BA University of Saskatchewan (2012)

Swapna returned to her educational pursuits after a 27 year hiatus and recently graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a four year BA in psychology (Great Distinction). Swapna is particularly interested in working in the area of psychological well-being within marginalized communities. For her thesis project she will be examining contemporizing traditional Aboriginal stories as a method of promoting education for Aboriginal men. She is currently examining the construct of Indigenous male identity in the first phase of her thesis project.

Candice Pete

Candice Pete

PhD Student
MPA University of Saskatchewan (2013)
BCOMM University of Saskatchewan (1999)
CIBA University of Saskatchewan (1997)

Candice Pete is from the Little Pine First Nation, Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatchewan. She is a proud mother of 2 and grandmother to 2 precious little girls. Candice graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Certificate in Indigenous Business Administration, a Bachelors of Commerce and a Masters in Public Administration. She values lifelong learning and has decided that continued education is important to her.

Candice started her career with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. During her time with the federal government, she gained experience in human resources, economic development, financial and audit management and federal treasury board policies specific to First Nations funding arrangements. Her expertise in these areas led her to the University of Saskatchewan where she joined the management team as the Coordinator of Aboriginal Programs, College of Agriculture and Bioresources, for over 10 years. During her time with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, 200 students successfully graduated with a certificate specializing in lands and resource management.  Candice endeavors to ensure that the program meets the needs of Indigenous communities by continually striving to incorporate Indigenous worldviews into curriculum. 

Candice also took some time to pursue a new learning opportunity and joined the executive team with the Government of Saskatchewan as the Executive Director, Northern Engagement Branch, Ministry of Government Relations. She enjoyed the new challenge, and believes that living life should be full of new learning opportunities. Her passion for working for and with Indigenous communities has brought her back to the University of Saskatchewan. She will continue to dedicate her time towards building capacity in the area of lands and resource management for Indigenous communities.

Krystl Raven

PhD Student
MA University of Saskatchewan (2017)

BA (Hons) University of Saskatchewan (2015)

Krystl Raven is a settler society scholar born and raised in Saskatchewan. Returning to school after operating her own business in Saskatoon, Krystl obtained her Bachelor of Arts (honours) and Masters in History at the University of Saskatchewan. Her Master's thesis "Beyond the Battle: Gabriel Dumont and Metis leadership 1837-1885" lays the foundation for her proposed PhD project which will continue to use Gabriel Dumont as a lens into Metis society in Saskatchewan after the North-West Resistance of 1885.

Brock Roe

MA Student
LLB University of Alberta (2009)
BAHons University of Alberta (2009)

Brock was born and raised in Treaty 8 territory in Fort St. John, British Columbia, and is a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation.

Brock received his Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies (Hons) from the Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, and his Bachelor of laws from the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta.

Brock worked as a research assistant in various capacities at the Faculties of Native Studies and Law at the University of Alberta, including reviewing and entering various archival records (Métis scrip records, census records, cartographic materials) into databases for Professor Frank J. Tough and the Métis Archival Project (formerly the Métis Aboriginal Title Research Initiative), as well as reviewing archival records for Professors Val Napoleon (University of Victoria) and Catherine Bell.

Brock is interested in critically understanding issues that involve governance, economic development, indigenous peoples and their lands and resources.

Anna Schneider

PhD Student 
MA Philipps-Universität Marburg (2016)
BA Philipps-Universität Marburg (2013)


Anna is an international Doctoral student from Siegen, Germany. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Anglophone Studies at the University of Marburg in 2013 and graduated with a Master of Arts in North American Studies in 2016. During her master's program, Anna visited the University of Saskatchewan in the fall of 2014 as part of an exchange program between the University of Marburg and the U of S. She was given the opportunity to take Theoretical Issues in Native Studies, aiming to receive a first insight into the discipline of Indigenous Studies, which is largely missing from German and generally European university curricula. Her thesis contextualized histories of genocide in Germany and North America and how these histories have informed different discourses of guilt, identity, and reconciliation in present-day perpetrator societies, especially after WWII. Her doctoral research will tie in with these findings and explore more about German-European, as well as North American discourses of Indigenous colonial history and genocide.

Jacqueline Smith

MA Student
BA Dalhousie University (2016)

Jacqueline is from Opaskwayak Cree Nation and The Pas, Manitoba located in Treaty 5 territory. After completing the first year of her undergrad at the University College of the North in The Pas, she transferred to Dalhousie University in the fall of 2012. In 2016 she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in French and History, with a minor in Canadian Studies. Her undergraduate degree provided her with the opportunity to study in different geographic contexts including France, Northern Ireland, and Nunavut. During her undergrad, she also held many executive positions in societies including President of the Dalhousie Canadian Studies Society, Co-President of the Dalhousie Native Student Association, and Vice-President of the Northern Ireland Dialogue for Peace Society. She is now completing her Master of Arts degree in the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research interests include residential schools and the intergenerational effects of residential schools. In her thesis project, she hopes to look at the connection between residential schools in Manitoba and the province’s high rate of Indigenous children in foster care.

Mylan Tootoosis

PhD Student 
MA University of Victoria (2013)
BA Institute of American Indian Arts (2011)

Mylan Tootoosis is Nêhiyawpwat (Plains Cree-Nakota) from Poundmaker Indian Reserve located within Treaty Six Territory. He is currently a Doctoral Student in the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. He completed his Masters of Arts in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria in British Columbia in 2013 and obtained his Bachelors of Arts in Indigenous Liberal Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His work concentrates on the Political Ecology of Contemporary Indigenous Prairie Livelihood and Decolonization.


Dana Lee Young-Wolfe

M.A. Student
B.A. Simon Fraser University (2012)

Dana Lee Young-Wolfe is from Muskowekwan First Nation in southern Saskatchewan. She grew up active in her culture and was instilled with a sense of community integrity and human rights. As a result, her undergraduate and graduate studies are focused on Indigenous governmental relations and the structural foundations of International law. At the University of Saskatchewan, Dana Lee hopes to explore the legal exception that allows human rights in Canada to be separated along ethnic lines, with specific attention to the Child Welfare System.