Anita Olsen Harper, National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence
A member of the Lac Seul First Nation in Northwestern ON, Anita Olsen Harper was born and raised on the traditional territories of the Anishinaawpe people. Elementary education consisted of correspondence courses from the Province; this was foundational to Anita’s stance that a student-centred self-directed approach to learning is essential for the success of Indigenous learners. In many different ways, Anita addresses the omission in formal education of teaching fundamental developmental processes that are necessary for cultivating individual responsibility in significant life areas.
Anita was elected as a school board trustee for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) in the 2014 election where she concentrated on improving the academic achievement of Indigenous students in the District. She is currently a member of the Indigenous Health Advisory Committee (IHAC) for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). In this capacity, she works at addressing the health disparities among Indigenous populations in the country. She is also a director of Families Canada where she represents Indigenous peoples’ health and well-being.
Anita, through the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence (NACAFV), is the lead researcher of several special projects for women who access on-reserve crisis shelters because of domestic violence. She is also currently contracted by the RCMP as a lead advisor of its national reconciliation team.
Anita continues to work at enhancing the standing and status of Indigenous peoples in all aspects of life in Canada. She has a B.Ed in Adult Education (U. of Alberta), an MA in Canadian Studies (Carleton U.) and a PhD in Education from the University of Ottawa (2011).