Candace Brunette-Debassige

Photo of Candace Brunette-Debassige

Dr. Candace Brunette-Debassige is a Mushkego Cree iskwew of Petabeck First Nation (Treaty 9) with Cree and French lineage. She is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education and Teaching Fellow at Western University. Her research and teaching focus on Indigenous Peoples’ collective movements in Euro-Western colonial educational contexts. She is the author of Tricky Grounds, a 2023 book focusing on Indigenous women’s leadership experiences in advancing reconciliation and Indigenization movements in Canadian universities. Her doctoral dissertation was awarded the 2021 George L. Geis dissertation of the year award by the Canadian Society for Studies in Higher Education. She is also the proud recipient of a 2019 Peace Award for Truth and Reconciliation from Atlôhsa Family Services. Beyond her passion for research and teaching, Candace has extensive leadership experience driving institutional policy change at the K-12 and postsecondary levels. She has served as Acting Vice Provost /Associate Vice President (Indigenous Initiative), Special Advisor to the Provost (Indigenous), and Director of Indigenous Services at Western.


Research Interests

  • Indigenizing and decolonizing education
  • Indigenous leadership, Indigenous women in leadership
  • Indigenous critical policy studies
  • Indigenous student affairs
  • Indigenous storytelling; arts-informed research
  • Indigenous research; Indigenous and decolonial research methodologies


  • PhD, Western University, 2021
  • Certificate in University College Administration, University of Manitoba, 2018
  • MA, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 2010
  • BA (Hons), Indigenous Studies/Equity Studies, University of Toronto, 2008



  • Teaching Fellow, Indigenous Learning Bundles, Western University,  2021-24
  • Peace Reconciliation Award, Association Commonwealth Universities,  2021
  • Graduate Excellence in Teaching Award, Faculty of Education, UWO, 2019                                 
  • Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT), Centre for Teaching and Learning, UWO, 2018  

Community Honours

  • Peace Award in Humility for Truth & Reconciliation, Altôhsa, 2019                                                 
  • Award of Distinction, Thames Valley District School Board, 2010                                                 

Student Scholarships & Honours

  • International Leadership Association, Emerging Scholar Award, 2022                                          
  • George L. Geis Doctoral Research Award (CSSHE), 2022

Current Teaching

  • Aboriginal Education: Toward a Decolonizing Pedagogy, B.Ed. program
  • Becoming Educational Leaders, M.P.Ed. program



Brunette-Debassige, C. (In Press). Tricky Ground: Indigenous Women Administrators’ Experiences in Canadian Universities. Regina, Saskatchewan: University of Regina Press.  

Book Chapters

Brunette-Debassige, C., & Viczko, M. (2022). Critical perspectives for educational leadership and policy in higher education. Palgrave Handbook on Critical Policy and Leadership.    

Brunette, C. (2018). From Subjugation to Embodied Self-in-Relation: An Indigenous Pedagogy for Decolonization. In Sheila Batacharya, & Renita Wong, (Eds.), Sharing breath: Embodied learning and decolonization. (pp. 199-288) Edmonton, Alberta: Athabasca University Press. 

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Brunette-Debassige, C. (2023). Indigenous Refusals in Educational Leadership Practices in Canadian Universities. AlterNative Journal 19(2)  

Brunette-Debassige, C., Wakeham, P., Smithers-Graeme, C., Haque, A., & Chitty, S.M. (2022). Mapping approaches to decolonizing and indigenizing the curriculum at Canadian universities: Critical Reflections on current practices, challenges and possibilities. International Indigenous Policy Journal. Spring issue.

Brunette-Debassige, C., & Wakeham, P. (2021). Reimagining the Four Rs of Indigenous education for literary studies: Learning from and with Indigenous stories in the classroom. Studies in American Indian Literature (SAIL) 32(3) p.13-40.

Peach, L., Richmond, C., & Brunette-Debassige, C. (2020). “You can't just take a piece of land from the university and build a garden on it": Exploring Indigenizing space and place in a settler Canadian university context. Geoforum. Fall issue.

Debassige, B. & Brunette-Debassige, C. (2018). Indigenizing work as “willful work”: Toward Indigenous transgressive leadership in Canadian universities. Critical and Pedagogy Inquiry Journal Special Issue 10(2).

Hammond, R., Sadler, K., Johnson, M., Brunette, C., Gula, L., Chartrand, D., & Tithecott, G., (2017). Indigenous student matriculation into medical school: Policy and progress. International Indigenous Policy Journal. 8(1). Retrieved from:


Candace Brunette-Debassige supervises doctoral and masters students in the area of Indigenous education with a focus on Indigenous, decolonial and narrative inquiry methodologies.

Courses taught

  • Becoming Educational Leaders (Faculty of Education) MPEd program
  • Toward a Decolonizing Pedagogy (Faculty of Education) BEd program
  • Indigenous Women and Orality (Huron College) Undergrad program

Curriculum development

  • Indigenous Learning Bundles: Community of Practice -lead coordinator & co-facilitator –2022- 2023

The Indigenous Learning Bundles project’s Community of Practice worked in collaboration with Office of Indigenous Initiatives to bring a group of instructors from Western and Affiliate Colleges together on regular basis to discuss and share on the topics of including Indigenous Knowledges and perspectives in university teaching and learning.

  • Indigenous Teaching & Learning Series- lead developer of modules 1 and 2/ co-developer of the series – July 2021 - 2023

This unique online education series offered in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. Supports university instructors in increasing their understanding of the colonial roots of the academy, the movement to transform universities to be more inclusive of Indigenous peoples and inspire them to move toward decolonizing their pedagogies.

  • Maatookiiying gaa-miinigoowiziying (Sharing Our Gifts): Indigenous Learning Bundles – lead coordinator –2021 to 2024
This Indigenous-led curriculum initiative aims to collaboratively work with community and Indigenous scholars to advance the respectful inclusion of Indigenous ways of knowing in the university classroom.