Our Programs

Elder-on-campus Program

Amy Desjarlais is the knowledge keeper at CASS. She holds weekly cultural teachings in a variety of topics, has monthly full moon ceremonies and has one-on-one sessions. Amy can also provide Reiki.

Aboriginal Sharing Circle (ASC)

The Aboriginal sharing circle is a peer mentor program, where students pair up with one another to have a support person. ASC puts together different outings which students can attend as a group. In the past there have been skating trips, Rinx, Screamers, attending other events within the community such as socials and imagineNATIVE. 

CASS hires one work-study to help coordinate this program.

The Aboriginal Sharing Circle (ASC) program aims to assist Aboriginal students attending York University throughout their transition from secondary to postsecondary education as well as to provide a sense of community inclusiveness and access to academic and community resources. The ASC program strives to address the multifaceted nature of Aboriginal communities the transition from a secondary institutional environment to post secondary environment can be difficult for some Aboriginal learners many students may experience cultural shock coming from a small isolated First Nations communities and entering a large urban centre for the first time.

This transition will be alleviated by:

  • Introducing students to the York Aboriginal community
  • Assisting students on peer-to-peer level providing guidance advice and moral support
  • Providing information on resources both on and off campus

Cultural Programing

An Important element in addressing the cultural needs of Aboriginal learners is to provide special events and cultural programming aimed at assisting them and learning more about their cultural heritage to support the revitalization of Aboriginal cultures and identities many students are exploring their Aboriginal roots for the first time and are keen on learning about their heritage identity or knowing who you are is vital and nurturing one's personal growth and maintaining a healthy outlook on life and creating an all important balance. 

CASS provides Indigenous York students a variety of culturally related workshops, such as; beading, moccasin making, hand drum making, ribbon skirt making and others. These workshops change from year to year.

Writing Instruction

Brenda Blondeau can provide CASS members assistance in all aspects of essay writing including assignment clarification, brainstorming of ideas, sentence structure and development of argument/ analysis.

Students can also sign up with the writing centre to have one-on-one appointments with Brenda. The writing centre website can be found through the following link One-on-one writing support

Events & Activities


CASS hosts an annual orientation for new incoming Indigenous students to York University. In this orientation students get to meet CASS staff, other new incoming Indigenous students, have a tour of the popular buildings students may need to access throughout their University studies, visit both the CASS space at York Lanes as well as our sister space Skennen’kó:wa Gamig. 

Welcome Social

This event happens in September to welcome both returning & new students, staff and faculty. This is a time for us to all meet, share some food and socialize with each other. 

Holiday Festive Feast

At the end of the Fall term CASS has a holiday festive feast. This event brings us all together before the holiday to celebrate the end of term with good company, food and games. 

Graduation Celebration

It has been what feels like a long journey but, you did it, you completed your undergraduate, Master, or your PhD degree, Congratulations. It's time to celebrate all that you have accomplished with your friends and family before you continue to the next part of your journey.