Office of Indigenous Affairs

Kelly Butler
Interim Director, Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation

Woman with short hair and glasses smiling indoors

Kelly was appointed Interim Director, Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation, effective May 9, 2022.  Working closely with the Vice President (Indigenous), Catharyn Andersen, a key focus of this position is to lead the implementation of the Strategic Framework for Indigenization.  Prior to taking on this role, Kelly worked in Indigenous Affairs at the Grenfell Campus from 2015-2021, and then moved to the St. John’s campus in February 2021 as Indigenous Education Specialist.

Her academic background is in comparative Indigenous studies, and her current research interests are focused on Indigenization, critical Indigenous studies, and the application of Indigenous lenses on Newfoundland and Labrador history.  She engages in open public dissemination of her work through film, craftwork, community gatherings, podcasts, and other community engagement platforms.  She is a writer and co-producer of the 2018 documentary, The Country, and co-creator/co-presenter of the Maw-lukutinej (Let’s Work Together) podcast series.  Most of her work is collaborative.

At Memorial, Kelly has engaged in extensive committee work, including serving two years as the chair of the Committee on Ethics in Research Impacting Indigenous Groups (CERIIG), to which she remains a member, and was a co-writer, along with two others, of Memorial’s Research Impacting Indigenous Groups (RIIG) policy.  She also sits on the Vice-President’s Advisory Committee on Indigenous Affairs (VPACIA) and was part of the VPACIA working group that undertook the extensive consultation processes that ultimately led to the Strategic Framework for Indigenization (SFI), 2021-2026. 

Kelly also holds an adjunct appointment to the School of Arts and Social Science at the Grenfell Campus and has taught regularly in primarily Indigenous topics and themes across several disciplines including Historical Studies, Humanities, Environmental Policy, Political Science, and Archaeology, and creating several courses, one of which was featured by the National Centre for Collaboration in Indigenous Education.  Previously, she taught in the History Department at the University of Saskatchewan.      

Although living in St. John’s, Kelly’s Mi’kmaw community is St. George’s, on the west coast of the island.  An active member of the Bay St. George Mi’kmaw community, Kelly spent four years as chair of the committee that plans and executes the powwow in Flat Bay each July.  She is currently still a member of the Bay St. George Mi’kmaq Cultural Revival Committee as well as the powwow committee.

Tel: 709-864-8195 | Email:

Ivan J White
Indigenous Education Specialist

A smiling brown haired man with beard and orange shirt

Hailing from the Mi'kmaw Community of Flat Bay, on the island's west coast, at heart Ivan J White is an emissary for his culture, heritage, and people. He continually practices Etuaptmumk (two-eyed seeing) as a connector of Mi’kmaw Community and various non-Indigenous organizations. Formally educated in the field of Marketing and practiced in the areas of Media and Communications, Ivan J has been exploring and communicating the intersections of Business, Arts, and Mi'kmaw Identity since his teenage years.

Ivan’s passion for, and dedication towards, his community has inspired him to document and create original, authentic Indigenous stories. Ivan has acted as creator, videographer, audio engineer, editor, performer, music composer, and producer of stories working with: Theatre Newfoundland & Labrador; Ravenhead Productions; Bay St. George Mi’kmaq Cultural Revival Committee; Stephenville Theatre Festival; Captive Expressions; Grenfell Office Of Indigenous Affairs; Western Health, Indigenous Culture and Media Innovations; Cranberry Productions; and the CBC.

Ivan J enjoys practicing art where his interests in storytelling take shape though writing, filmmaking, and song. He currently lives in Shallop Cove with his wife Crystal and their two lovely children; Isabella (13) and Ivan Jr. (10).


Joanne Harris
Indigenous Resource Development Coordinator

Picture of Joanne, a smiling woman wearing a knit hat, scarf, and sweater is outside by a river and trees

Joanne is Ktaqmkuk Mi’kmaw from St. John's, with Mi'kmaw, French, Scottish, and English ancestry, and roots in the Codroy Valley as well as Trinity Bay. Joanne completed her Bachelor of Arts at Memorial University with a major in Archaeology and a minor in Aboriginal Studies. She also holds a Master of Philosophy in Humanities from Memorial University, which explored the role of power and narrative in the erasure of the Mi’kmaq in Newfoundland. Joanne is a drum carrier, doting dog-parent, and avid crafter and gardener.

As the Indigenous Resource Development Coordinator, Joanne works to build the Indigenous webpage, and supports the work of the Office of Indigenous Affairs and the Indigenous Student Resource Centre.

Tel: 709-864-8053 | Email:

April White
Administrative Secretary

Picture of April, a smiling woman with glasses and a blonde braid and green sweater

April has worked with the Office of Indigenous Affairs since September 2018 and has been working at Memorial for 20 years in various administrative roles supporting students.

Tel: 709-864-6260 | Email: