Dolores Wawia, long-time
professor at Lakehead University, was recently appointed to the Order of
Ontario. Cited as “a leader, pioneer in Native education and storyteller who
has expanded educational opportunities for Aboriginal people,” Wawia spent 15
year at Lakehead.
She developed the
Native Teacher Education Program, followed by three years helping set up
McMaster University’s Indigenous Studies program. Wawia said she was the
first Aboriginal woman in northwestern Ontario to get a Bachelor of Arts degree
and the first to get a Masters of Education.
Wawia was born in Gull
Bay, the eldest of 12 children, and attended residential school at St. Joseph’s
Boarding School in Thunder Bay. At 21, she left an abusive relationship
and decided to finish high school. The citation reads, “Also known as ‘The Frog
Lady,’ she has championed Aboriginal teacher education and served as an
inspiration and role model for thousands of Aboriginal students.”