Student Information for Winter 2023 – IMPORTANT UPDATES

Senior Academic Management Team

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Senior Academic Management Team

The Senior Academic Management Team collaborates to ensure delivery of FNUniv’s academic plan in accordance with the budget, and through effective academic administration to achieve student outcomes.

Vice-President, Academic (Interim)

Dr. Jesse Archibald-Barber

Dr. Jesse Archibald-Barber is the Program Coordinator and a Professor of Indigenous Literatures in English at the First Nations University of Canada. He is originally from Regina, where he began his post-secondary studies at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC) before completing his BA in English Literature at the University of Victoria and his graduate degrees at the University of Toronto. Since 2007, he has taught English and Indigenous Literature at the First Nations University of Canada, where he has previously served as head of the Indigenous arts and culture programs. 

Jesse is the editor of kisiskâciwan: Indigenous Voices from Where the River Flows Swiftly, an anthology of Saskatchewan Indigenous writings, released in June 2018, among other selected publications throughout his academic career. Jesse was also a co-writer and producer of the Making Treaty 4 performance project. His forthcoming publication examines Cree Star stories, to be released early in 2023. 

Associate Dean, Academic 

Fidji Gendron, PhD., B.Sc.

Dr. Fidji Gendron is a Professor of Biology and she is interested in the traditional uses of native plants. She works in partnership with Elders and has developed booklets on plant medicines. These teaching tools help promote native plants recognition and highlight their importance in the Indigenous culture. She is also involved in a group that examines the bio-active chemical components in native plants.

Another area of interest is how to braid Indigenous and Western Science in her Biology courses. She organizes hands-on activities in her labs under the guidance of an Elder who shares protocol and stories with students.

Associate Dean, Community, Research & Graduate Programs

Bettina Schneider, PhD., M.S.

Dr. Bettina Schneider has recently been appointed as the Associate Dean, Community, Research & Graduate Programs with First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) and is also an Associate Professor in Indigenous Business. Dr. Schneider held the position of Associate Vice President, Academic, since 2017.

Dr. Schneider received her MS in community development and her PhD in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis. She has worked at FNUniv since 2007. Bettina has also worked as a consultant for the First Nations Development Institute, the First Nations Oweesta Corporation, and the Opportunity Finance Network. Her research has predominantly focused on Indigenous community and economic development strategies, Native and Aboriginal financial institutions, Indigenous-relevant business and financial literacy curriculum, and First Nations financial reporting and accountability relationships.

Program Coordinators

Indigenous Business & Public Administration – Jason Bird

Indigenous Communication & Fine Arts – Audrey Dreaver

Indigenous Education – Undergraduate Program – Dr. Angelina Weenie

Indigenous Education – Graduate Program – Dr. Kathleen O’Reilly    

Indigenous Health – Dr. Carrie LaVallie

Indigenous Languages – Andrea Custer

Indigenous Literatures in English – Dr. Jesse Archibald-Barber

Indigenous Social Work – Program Chair – Dr. Jason Albert

Indigenous Social Work – Graduate Program Coordinator – Dr. Jason Albert

Indigenous Studies  – Shane Keepness

Indigenous Knowledge & Science – Dr. Fidji Gendron

Academic Administrator

Sheila Acoose

Sheila Acoose has been part of the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) since 1998 with the Department of Indigenous Studies and later worked with Science, Business, Indigenous Languages, English and Indigenous Education.

Sheila graduated with a Diploma of Associate in Administration – May 2006.


Lianda Tanner

Lianda Tanner is the Registrar at the First Nations University of Canada. She is very proud to acknowledge her Cree and Saulteaux heritage from Cowessess First Nation located along the beautiful Qu’Appelle Valley with Crooked Lake and the Qu’Appelle River. Lianda achieved her Bachelor of Administration degree in Management from the University of Regina, in federation with the First Nations University of Canada and is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and Leadership at Royal Roads University.  Lianda’s career journey has kept her working with the First Nations University of Canada in the area of Student Success Services and Registrar since entering the workforce upon completing an Office Administration program.  Lianda finds her career at the First Nation University of Canada very fulfilling because she is working in an environment where First Nations and non-First Nations people are learning and experiencing First Nations culture and traditions through learning pedagogies and ceremonies.

Director, Student Success Services

Director, Indigenous Continuing Education Centre (ICEC)

Reila Bird

Reila Bird has added the Director of Indigenous Continuing Education Centre (ICEC) to her profile.

Reila is a member of George Gordon First Nation and was raised in Regina. She is a graduate of the Indian Teachers Education Program from the University of Saskatchewan and completed her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Regina.

Throughout her career, Reila has had numerous opportunities to grow and learn in education from urban and rural perspectives. She was a K-12 classroom teacher for the Regina Public School Division and Prairie Valley School Division. She also held the position of First Nations and Métis Education Coordinator with Prairie Valley School Division and a Sessional Instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. She is a council member of the Saskatchewan Provincial Education Council that provides oversight to the provincial education plan’s development, implementation, and governance from a strategic perspective. Reila is also Co-Secretary to the National Indigenous Accreditation Board of Directors.

Given Reila’s work experience in the education sector, she has profound knowledge and experience in K-12 education, strategic planning, program development, and establishing educational partnerships. Reila believes that education is a shared responsibility, and together, everyone can positively influence student achievement and student success.

Reila served as Senior Strategic Analyst for the past two years and as a Sessional Instructor at the First Nations University of Canada.

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