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INVC Mural created by 2016 Summer Art Workshop participants led by facilitator Nancy King

Indigenous Student Services

Fostering community and enriching the learning experience

INVC Mural created by 2016 Summer Art Workshop participants led by facilitator Nancy King

The Indigenous Student Centre offers a welcoming learning environment with a wide range of specialized services to support academic, cultural, social and emotional well-being of Indigenous students at OCAD University. 

The Indigenous Student Centre is a culturally activated space where students can meet, study or relax between classes. We host weekly events, guest lectures, workshops, visiting artists, field trips and a number of extra curricular activities supporting Indigenous visual arts and culture. The centre includes a resource library and archive, computer workstations, lounge, workspace and amenities including a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and snacks.

Services include:

Indigenous Student Counsellor

The Indigenous Student Counsellor - Shawna Howe provides one-to-one counseling services and culturally safe programs to support Indigenous students. The counsellor brings an Indigenous approach to wellness counseling by supporting students holistic (mental, physical, emotional and spiritual) health and well-being, and facilitating weekly drumming circles, holistic wellness workshops and a visiting Elders program. These services are free, accessible, inclusive and non-judgmental.

Shawna Howe is a two-spirited, Anishinaabe and Mi’kmaq woman, with ancestors from Cape Croker and Shubenacadie First Nation. Shawna’s Spirit name is Red Cedar Tree Woman/Wolf Clan. Shawna is a painter, writer, beader, drummer and storyteller. She loves spending time on the land learning about traditional medicines and Indigenous art healing modalities. Shawna has spent several years volunteering in the Toronto Indigenous community and has worked in diverse roles supporting Indigenous students and Elders in post-secondary education. Shawna has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Ryerson University and a Masters of Indigenous Social work from Wilfrid Laurier University.

How to book an appointment:
If you would like to book a counseling appointment, or you have any questions, you can contact Shawna directly or stop by her office.
Phone: 416-967-6000, Ext. 2262 
Location: 113 McCaul Street, 4th floor, room 401c
Schedule: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Indigenous Mentor/Advisor

Indigenous Mentor/Advisor - David General assists students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, with one on one support. The Mentor/Advisor acts in the capacity of a role model specializing in the arts for those students seeking creative advice and career counseling. The Mentor/Advisor also acts as a community liaison who builds bridges across the OCAD University and Indigenous community. 

Involvement and application are mantras of David General, Six Nations Elected Chief, Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, hunter and fisher are but a few of experiences he offers as examples for building a well rounded and balanced practice. An accomplished artist, Dave General has a wide scope of knowledge and experience ranging from Indigenous history, culture, art, politics and current events to the effectiveness of materials and presentations for specific projects.

Available or to book an appointment contact:
David General
Office: 416-977-6000, Ext. 2265 or
Schedule: Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Student Success Coordinator

Student Success Coordinator - Connor Pion is responsible for planning and facilitating a range of services and programs designed to facilitate the academic and professional success of Indigenous students at OCAD U. He helps to run weekly programming in the centre and works closely with other Indigenous Student Centre staff, faculty, OCAD U support services and external agencies to assist students in navigating a wide range of services and resources both within OCAD U and across the GTA.

ᐚᒋᔦ ᑵ ᑲᓇᕒ ᓂᐣᑎᔑᓂᐦᑳᐢ᙮ ᑳᐏᐣ ᒪᐦᔑ ᓂᐣᑭᑫᓂᒫᐦᓰᐣ ᓂᐣᑑᑌᒼ᙮ ᓂᑕᐢᑭᓇᐣ ᓂᐣᑑᐣᒋ᙮ ᑫᐯᐠ ᐁᔑᓂᑳᑌᐠ ᓅᐣᑯᒼ᙮ ᓂᒫᒫ ᑲᔦ ᓃᐣ ᓂᐣᑖᐱᑕᐏᓯᒥᐣ᙮ ᓂᒫᒫ ᑫᐯᐠ ᐆᐣᒌ᙮ ᓂᐣᑌᑌ  ᐆᑳᒪᑮᐣᐠ ᐆᐣᒌ᙮ ᒥᑭᓇᑰᑲᒥᐣᐠ ᓂᐣᑮᑭᐦᓄᐦᐊᒫᑯᓯᔭᐣ᙮ ᐸᐣᑮ ᓂᐣᑕᓂᔑᓂᓃᒧᐏᐣ᙮ ᐊᓬᐁᐠᐢ ᒥᑲᐄᔾ ᓂᐣᑭᐦᑭᓄᐦᐊᒫᑫᓂᓂ᙮ ᑭᐦᒋ ᒦᑫᐨ ᐊᓬᐁᐠᐢ ᑲᔦ ᑭᓇᓈᐦᑯᒥᑯᓈᐚ ᔔᒥᓯᓈᓇᐠ ᑲᔦ ᓅᐦᑯᒥᓯᓈᓇᐠ᙮ Connor Pion (pronouns: he/him/they/them) is a two-spirit/non-binary non-status mixed (Cree/Atikamekw/métis/euro-settler) member of Tkarón:to’s urban Indigenous community but raised in and around Ioniatarakwà:ronte (it has a bulge in the lake/river) aka Chambly, Quebec. In his spare time Connor enjoys making low-tech digital collage art exploring language, legends, and mixed, urban, and two-spirit identities and futurisms.

Connor Pion

416-977-6000, Ext. 3353

Manager, Indigenous Student Centre

Manager, Indigenous Student Centre - Melissa General offers overall management, guidance, communication, services and administrative support for the Indigenous Student Centre.

Melissa General is from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design and completed a Masters of Fine Arts degree at York University. Working in photography, installation and video, concepts involving memory, history, land and her Indigenous identity have been a focus in her practice. Her work has been exhibited at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, Art Gallery of Peterborough, Gallery 101, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography and has been included in the 2016 Contemporary Native Art Biennial in Montreal.

Contact information: 
Melissa General
416-977-6000, Ext. 2261

Indigenous Student Recruiter

OCAD U's Indigenous Student Recruiter has a specific focus on the needs of Indigenous students who are looking to pursue an art or design education and who can sometimes come from very remote communities. The Indigenous Student Recruiter will visit Indigenous students in high schools, at university fairs, and in communities across Canada, with a specific focus on Indigenous students in Ontario and Quebec.

Ongoing Events

#Stoodis Study Group & Quiet Workspace

 #Stoodis Study Group provides a weekly opportunity for students to get some work done. From 2-4pm come for some extra help from one of the Writing and Learning Centre's Peer Tutors! All afternoon, the centre will remain a quiet drop-in workspace for independent/quiet group study.

Mondays from  1 to 5 p.m., WLC Peer Tutor from 2 to 4 p.m.
Indigenous Student Centre
Room 410, Level 4, 113 McCaul

Artist Mentorship & Advising with Dave

From 10-12pm join Mentor/Advisor Dave General for some Artist Mentorship & Advising! Come grab a tea or coffee and develop your projects and practice, and learn about Inidgenous student exhibition opportunities in the centre.

Tuesdays from 10 to 12 p.m.
Indigenous Student Centre
Room 410, Level 4, 113 McCaul

Dish With One Spoon Cooking Club

Come socialize and learn/share a few skills in the kitchen while we prepare for the lunch held every Wednesday.

Tuesdays from 1 to 3 p.m.
Indigenous Student Centre
Room 410, Level 4, 113 McCaul

Dish With One Spoon Lunch

Come socialize over a delicious lunch held every Wednesday.

Wednesdays from 12 to 2 p.m.
Indigenous Student Centre
Room 410, Level 4, 113 McCaul


ShapeShifters is a drop-in craft circle where we share ideas, skills, and get creative. ShapeShifters provides a wide variety of materials and resources for students to work with often featuring guest artists or students to faciltiate workshops and share skills.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Thursday of every Month from 1 to 3 p.m.
Indigenous Student Centre
Room 410, Level 4, 113 McCaul Street.

ShapeShifters: Two-Spirit Edition

On the last Thursday of every month, we host a Two-Spirit Circle for BIPOC students who identify with or as being part of the 2STLGBTQIA spectrum.

Last Thursday of every Month from 1 to 3 p.m.
Indigenous Student Centre
Room 410, Level 4, 113 McCaul Street.