Indigenous Student Advising & Counselling

“What we’re trying to do is connect students with their culture, their teachings and their history to support them in attaining their academic goals, but also along with that, supporting them spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.” - Bob Crawford, Indigenous counsellor

We know that in order to succeed academically, students need the support of family, friends and the community. Our counsellors and Knowledge & Wisdom Keeper can help you on your journey, whether it be academic, personal, emotional or spiritual guidance that you need.

Each student is treated as a beautiful individual who has unique talents, challenges and needs. Everyone who walks through our door is important and valued.

“We are there for the’s always for the student. The student comes first.” Pauline Shirt, Knowledge & Wisdom Keeper

“What is important is making students comfortable in this environment. Some bring cultural knowledge and practice, while others come to learn about it. We consider individual student needs and help them succeed.” Lori Budge, Coordinator of Indigenous initiatives & counselling

Student Success

Pauline Shirt, Knowledge & Wisdom Keeper, shares a story of one student who overcame personal challenges to go on to become a successful business owner, thanks to the help he received:

“What he [the student] said to me was that ‘I really feel good around here,’ and he cited Ed Sackaney [former Knowledge & Wisdom Keeper] saying he was ‘his best friend’ and that ‘he encouraged me because there were so many times when I wanted to quit but,’ he said ‘he helped me.’ Today, this student is doing extremely well.”

“I took a year off after I graduated high school and I was a little nervous about getting back to school but my program is really fun and Bob and Ed really helped me out with any extra services I needed.” Douglas Tynes, First year George Brown College student, Fashion Management program

Please contact Jolene May at to learn more or book a time with our counsellor.

Traditional Counselling with Knowledge & Wisdom Keeper

Traditional counselling is also available for students. Our Knowledge & Wisdom Keeper provides counselling using a holistic approach based on the Medicine Wheel teachings, traditional medicines, ceremonies and language.

Pauline Shirt, Knowledge & Wisdom Keeper

Pauline Shirt was born and raised in Saddle Lake Reserve, Alberta. She is greatly recognized for her commitment to the Toronto Indigenous community and for her dedication as a teacher and lecturer since the late sixties. A member of the Three Fires Society and the Buffalo Dance Society, Pauline Shirt is also a founder of the First Nations School and the Red Willow. Today, Pauline serves as a mentor to many Indigenous youth and young families as an experienced and trusted Grandmother. She also works in all levels of government conducting opening prayers and attending meetings; making sure the Indigenous community is positively recognized as she offers a voice for her people.

Please contact Jolene May at to learn more or book a time with our Knowledge & Wisdom Keeper.