Aboriginal affairs advisor appointed

Mar 19th, 2015

Jennifer Batten

Aboriginal affairs advisor appointed


Catharyn Andersen

Catharyn Andersen has been appointed special advisor to the president on Aboriginal affairs. The appointment is effective March 18 for a five-year term. 

Ms. Andersen comes to the position with significant experience working with the Nunatsiavut Government. She previously served in the roles of director and Inuktitut Language Program co-ordinator with the Torngâsok Cultural Centre in Nain, Labrador.
In these roles, Ms. Andersen managed and developed the cultural arm of the Nunatsiavut Government, built support for and delivered cultural and heritage initiatives, advised the Nunatsiavut executive council on language, cultural and heritage issues, led the development and implementation of the Labrador Inuttitut Language Strategy and managed language programming for Northern Labrador.

The Torngâsok Cultural Centre is a hub of cultural activity in Nunatsiavut, bringing communities and generations together. It exists to protect and present the rich culture of the Labrador Inuit, and to develop programs to engage Inuit, Kablunângajuit and non-Inuit in the history of Labrador Inuit culture, language, values and traditions.

“The special advisor on Aboriginal affairs role is vital to the continued advancement of Aboriginal initiatives at Memorial University,” said President Kachanoski. “Ms. Andersen’s extensive relevant experience and commitment to the development and preservation of language, culture and heritage in Aboriginal communities make her an important asset to the university community and I’m pleased to welcome her on board.”

The position was previously held by Dr. Maura Hanrahan, who is currently assistant professor and chair of the humanities program at Grenfell Campus. Prior to Ms. Andersen’s arrival Dr. Evan Simpson served in the role in the interim.

“On behalf of the Memorial community I thank Dr. Simpson for his contributions to the development of Aboriginal initiatives at Memorial University and for serving in this important role during the transition between permanent advisors,” Dr. Kachanoski said.

Ms. Andersen has been involved with a variety of committees and groups relevant to Aboriginal issues. She is a member of the Labrador Inuttitut Training Program Committee and former chair of the Nunainguk Historical Society. Ms. Andersen has also been harbour operations officer with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

She holds a bachelor of arts in linguistics, a master of arts in linguistics and a master of business administration from Memorial University, as well as an international baccalaureate diploma from Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Victoria, B.C.

In her role, Ms. Andersen will work to advance all Aboriginal initiatives at Memorial University, leading and co-ordinating internal multi-campus activities related to Aboriginal research and education; managing the Aboriginal Affairs Office and developing its strategic plan; taking an interest in the recruitment  and success of Aboriginal students; developing and strengthening partnerships with Aboriginal communities; and representing Memorial University with Aboriginal communities and stakeholders, as well as with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.




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