Contact Us


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

phone: 416-736-5571



Randy Pitawanakwat
Manager, 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 20 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 graduate from the Image Arts New Media Program at Ryerson University. Nancy is happy to be 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 as well she oversees the use of Skennen'kó:wa Gamig and CASS/Gamig card access program.


Breanna Berry

Indigenous Recruitment Officer 



Breanna is an Indigenous woman of Haudenosaunee (Mohawk) and Anishinaabe (Algonquin) heritage, from Tyendinaga and Pikwàkanagàn. As a graduate of an i.B.A. in Sociology and Gender & Women's Studies from the Glendon Campus, she has spent a lot of time on both of York's campuses studying, volunteering, and working. From which, Breanna has experience in liaising with Indigenous individuals from diverse nations and in community outreach. She is also a passionate advocate for the incorporation and amplification of Indigenous voices, perspectives, ways of being, and knowledges in post-secondary education. Breanna is here to help prospective and current Indigenous students find the educational pathway that best fits their interests and to support them in their academic endeavours.

Please feel free to reach out to her with any admissions, program, academic, funding, campus life or any related questions!

Ally Stoett (On Maternity leave - returning May 2021)
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 (On Maternity Leave - returning Sept. 2021)

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 the receptionist at CASS and has been a great mentor to many students over the years and looks forward to working with you. Lisa helps provide the day to day support to students and staff, she can help students access lockers within CASS. 



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 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.

Brenda Blondeau Writing Instruction Schedule Fall 2020 Winter 2021

CASS Writing Instruction Information F2020 W2021


Amy small image

Amy Desjarlais
Knowledge Keeper

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. Amy will be providing on-line virtual teachings and one-on-one sessions.

Booking form

CASS February 2021

March 2021

Apr 2021



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

Student Success Mentor: Faith Desmoulin

Learning Skills Peer: Caleb Wesley