June 2014 — Institute established with $10M gift

Dr. Michael and Amira Dan donate $10 million to support the creation of an institute dedicated to the health of Indigenous people, based at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

The University of Toronto announces the donation in recognition and celebration of National Aboriginal Day.

January 2015 — Dr. Jeffrey Reading named Interim Director

Professor Jeffrey Reading becomes the first Interim Director of the new institute.

Professor Reading is a member of Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation in Prince Edward County and was the Scientific Director of the Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research from 2000 to 2008.

March 2015 — The University of Toronto’s Governing Council approves the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health name

The University of Toronto’s Governing Council approves a name for the institute: Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health (WBIIH).

Waakebiness is the name given to Michael Dan by Kalvin Ottertail, a spiritual leader of the Lac La Croix First Nation in Northwestern Ontario; in the Anishinaabemowin language it means Radiant Thunderbird from the South.

Dr. Peter Bryce was Chief Medical Officer with the Canadian Departments of the Interior and Indian affairs in the early 20th century. He documented and publicized the devastating effects of the residential school system on the health of Indigenous children.

March 2015 — The Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health naming ceremony and feast

The University of Toronto and Drs. Michael and Amira Dan host a naming ceremony and feast for the WBIIH.

More than 150 people attend the event, including Indigenous Elders; First Nations, Métis and Inuit representatives; members of the U of T community; the Bryce family; and provincial and federal politicians.

April 2015 — Dr. Earl Nowgesic named Interim Associate Director

Professor Earl Nowgesic becomes the first Interim Associate Director for the WBIIH. Professor Nowgesic is Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) from the Gull Bay First Nation near Thunder Bay, Ontario. He has over 20 years of experience in Canada’s health sector as a nurse, researcher and administrative leader.

September 2015 — First Community Advisory Council meeting

The WBIIH creates a Community Advisory Council, which includes Indigenous Elders, scholars and other community leaders and representatives from across Canada.

The council meets for the first time on September 16, 2015, chaired by Margo Greenwood, an Indigenous scholar of Cree ancestry who is a Professor at the University of Northern British Columbia.

November 2015 — Jeffrey Reading concludes Interim Director term

Professor Jeffrey Reading concludes his term as the first Interim Director of the WBIIH, but will act as an advisor to the institute. Professor Earl Nowgesic becomes the Acting Interim Executive Director and Professor Anita Benoit takes the role of Interim Associate Director. Read more.

November 2015 — Dr. Earl Nowgesic named Interim Director

Professor Earl Nowgesic becomes the Acting Interim Executive Director. Read more.

January 2016 — Dr. Anita Benoit named Interim Associate Director

Professor Anita Benoit is the Interim Associate Director of the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health as of January 1, 2016. Read more.

December 2016 — Dr. Suzanne Stewart named Director

Dr. Suzanne L. Stewart is the first permanent Director of the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health as of January 1, 2017, following a search conducted by representative committee of Indigenous and DLSPH leaders. Read more.

January 2017 — U of T Truth and Reconciliation Steering Committee releases final report

University of Toronto’s Truth and Reconciliation Steering Committee releases its final report, calling on the University to take action in six key areas.  Read more.