Contact Us


Centre for Aboriginal Student Services
246 York Lanes
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON
M3J 1P3

phone:    416-736-5571
fax:          416-736-5903



Randy Pitawanakwat
Coordinator, Aboriginal Student Services


Randy, an Anishinabe with the Anishinabek Nation, is from the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve located on Manitoulin Island. He draws on his Political Science and Native Studies background, as well as over 13 years of experience in Aboriginal student services at the post secondary level. Randy was appointed York University’s first Aboriginal Counsellor in October of 2002. Currently, as Coordinator of Aboriginal Student Services, Randy oversees University support services to the Aboriginal student population and provides help, guidance and advice to the Aboriginal community at York.



Nancy Johnson
Cultural Programs Assistant


Nancy is Ojibwe from Nipissing First Nation, Ontario.  She is a recent graduate from the Image Arts New Media Program at Ryerson University.  Nancy is excited to be a part of the Centre for Aboriginal Student Services as having had access to a culturally supportive environment has been integral to her academic success. She acknowledges and advocates that an educational journey should be inclusive of traditional values and teachings; which CASS strives to provide to the Aboriginal community at York. She coordinates the Cultural Programs through the year.


Ally Stoett
Recruitment Officer Aboriginal Community

Ally Stoett is Anishinaabe-kwe from Beausoleil First Nation, Chimnissing, and was raised in Guelph. She has experience working in recruitment with Indigenous communities and within social service organizations, working with youth. Ally’s Student- focused approach ensures they find the best fit for their educational journey at York University.

Lisa Maracle

Lisa is Mohawk and Ojibway, and she has many years of experience at York University as she graduated from her undergrad in Multicultural and Indigenous Studies. Lisa has experience as a student who has had an active role on Campus with the Aboriginal Student Association at York University as Treasure and she also held a work/study position with the Centre for Aboriginal Student Service as the Special Events & Activities Coordinator. Lisa is now the receptionist at CASS, and has been a great mentor to many students over the years and looks forward to working with you.



Brenda Blondeau
Writing and Guidance Instructor

Brenda is an excellent academic scholar, mentor and friend. She is Métis from Saskatchewan. Brenda works in York University's Writing Department in the Faculty of LA & PS, as well as the School of Women's Studies. She has taught in York University School of Women's Studies Bridging Program for Women since 2004. She enjoys working with mature and transitional students, and has personal and professional experience with the many structural barriers faced by Aboriginal and non-aboriginal students.   Brenda is available for drop-in sessions in the Resource Centre on Mondays from 12pm-3pm to assist students in all aspects of essay writing including: assignment clarification, brainstorming of ideas, sentence structure and development of argument/analysis. She also provides general guidance and academic support. She is available for one to one appointments in the Writing Department located at Ross S329.

** You can also sign up to access her services within the Writing Department at Ross S329, telephone number (416) 736-5134.


Elders on Campus

Every term we have Elders on campus available weekly for one-on-one and group sessions including workshops and other teachings.

Amy small image

Amy Desjarlais
Waabaakaakakzhe zhaashkeezhgokwe (White Raven Woman with Turquoise Eyes) Ojibway/Potowotomi from Wasauksing First Nation.

In 2003, Amy founded, EarthTALKER, a magazine focused on women and families. In 2008, Amy was one of two recipients of the FNTI/Ryerson University Practicum Award for Theory of Interconnectedness – An Indigenous perspective on political decision making. Amy has an MA in Culture & History; Her thesis, Emptying the Cup: Healing Fragmented Identity, explores an Anishinawbekwe (female) perspective on historical trauma and culturally appropriate consultation and is published by the Centre for World Indigenous Studies’ Fourth World Journal. Amy recently published her first non-fiction full length book, Starblanket – A mother’s gift to her son. When she is not writing, Amy facilitates cultural workshops and drum circles. Amy is also a hand drummer and singer.


Every term we hire Work Study Students to support our programming and provide them a leadership opportunity. The current position is held by:

Amy Hull: Indigenous Student Success & Transition Assistant