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Sheila Cote-Meek, Senior Leadership

Sheila Cote-Meek, Senior Leadership

"My trajectory in life and work is definitely rooted in who I am as an Indigenous person. Everything I do centers around a number of life experiences, the way I look at inequities and the impact they have on people, and even the research I undertake with respect to education, health and colonization.

Probably the most significant moments in my life are those times I spent with my grandfather. He always instilled in me the value of an getting an education but to never lose sight of who I was as Anishinaabe. I think what I remember most is his emphasis on maintaining my identity. My personal identity is rooted to the land and people of the Teme-Augama Anishinaabe in northeastern Ontario and that identity is where I get my strength and inspiration to facilitate change for the betterment of all peoples and in particular, Indigenous peoples.

I, like most Indigenous peoples, face a number of challenges in life. We live in an inequitable and exclusionary society that can have a huge impact on people as they are growing up. These obstacles can become insurmountable at times. I was grateful that I had a supportive and encouraging family that helped me along the way. Being able to express some of the more challenging experiences especially around confronting racism has also helped me press forward in my own work around EDI.

I simply cannot stand by without trying to address inequities. I would rather be an instrument of change. This is a very intentional decision and one that I nurture each and every day in my personal and work life.

My ongoing commitment to making this world a better place has led me to be an advocate for change. I am inspired by young children and people including my own grandchildren. I see in them a great capacity to build a better world. When I see them look at situations, like the residential school and ask critical questions, I see hope. That inspires me to do better!

I am also inspired by what I see as some of the positive changes in educational systems. Deep systemic changes are needed in educational institutions to create equity. I look at educational institutions as places where we have an opportunity to bring about changes that are needed in broader society.

I really believe that this country is at a defining moment with respect to addressing racism. We not only have an opportunity to bring about change but I believe a responsibility to creating a better world. Areas committed to equity and inclusion are important to organizations in assisting with this change but the responsibility is everyone’s."

Sheila Cote-Meek
Vice-President Equity, People and Culture


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