Deanna Matthews
Vice President of Policy and Research

An Anishinaabekwe mixed settler, Deanna is a member of Sachigo Lake First Nation in northern Ontario and grew up exploring the Rockies from Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton, AB).

Her passion for equitable education and social policy stems from her work running Mikinakoos (Little Turtle) Children’s Fund in coordination with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority. Mikinakoos is a First Nations charity aimed at improving child well-being by providing basic needs in remote communities. Prior to joining Gakino’amaage: Teach For Canada, Deanna worked as a Policy Analyst in the Privy Council Office, providing briefings for the Prime Minister and senior government officials on key Indigenous priorities and has also worked within Health Canada’s Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program.

Often having her feet ‘in two different canoes’ – one eager to advance Indigenous policy in Canada, and another striving to center Indigenous methodologies and experiences in research and practice – Deanna brings an interdisciplinary perspective to her work.

Deanna received her Bachelor of Education with distinction from Western University, and is concurrently a SSHRC Doctoral Scholar studying First Nations education governance. She is also undertaking a Master of Public Health in Indigenous Health at the University of Toronto. Deanna is a 2022-23 Action Canada Fellow.