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The Indigenous Studies Department at McMaster University

She:kon, Sge:no, Aanii, Welcome

Indigenous Studies focuses upon the intellectual and cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples in the areas of history, language, medicine, health and wellness, creative arts, literature, economy, activism, community and political dynamics, peace building, spirituality, and traditional ecological knowledge.

Since its inception in 1992, the Indigenous Studies Program (ISP) at McMaster has taken a very unique and inclusive approach to teaching Indigenous knowledge which involves professors, elders, and traditional knowledge carriers. This community driven approach encourages students from various cultural backgrounds to learn about the history and lives of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples from an Indigenous perspective.

Focus of Study

Our Indigenous Studies Program brings the richness and depth of Indigenous knowledge and cultures to the classroom. The program, designed for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, allows students to explore the intellectual traditions of many Indigenous peoples, with an emphasis on the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe of southern Ontario. Students will increase their understanding, awareness, and respect for Indigenous knowledge, spirituality, and social/political experience.

Students will not only expand their awareness and understanding of Indigenous cultures through interdisciplinary research and study, they will also engage with innovative approaches to learning and scholarship through experiential educational opportunities as a means to develop professional skills to work with Indigenous communities, both reserve and urban.

Applying to the Indigenous Studies Program

All Social Sciences students start in the Level 1 program. You will apply for the Indigenous Studies Program at the end of your first year.

  • Honours Indigenous Studies B.A.
    Completion of any Level 1 program, with a Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 (C) and an average of 5.0 (C) in INDIG ST 1A03 and 1AA3.

  • Combined Honours B.A. in Indigenous Studies & Another Subject
    Completion of any Level 1 program, with a Grade Point Average of at least 5.0 (C) and an average of 5.0 (C) in INDIG ST 1A03 and 1AA3. and satisfaction of admission requirements for the Honours B.A Academic plan in the other subject.

  • Minor in Indigenous Studies
    At least 6 courses (12 units) of the 18 units required for the Minor must be Indigenous Studies or Indigenous language courses.

For more information about the Indigenous Studies Program, check out the undergraduate calendar and visit the Indigenous Studies website.

Honours Indigenous Studies Degree Details

Indigenous Spaces

McMaster University’s Indigenous Studies Program is housed in L.R. Wilson Hall Liberal Arts Building, McMaster’s new home for the Social Sciences and Humanities. The Indigenous Studies area includes ceremonial space, a teaching garden, kitchen facilities for instruction in Indigenous cooking, a student library with hundreds of titles in the areas of Indigenous Knowledge, research and language, and a student lounge.

McMaster University has also opened a new outdoor space for classes, ceremonies, performances and other activities, designed to affirm the importance of Indigenous knowledge to the university community.

Build Your Skills

Unique Learning Opportunities

  • The program is designed for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.
  • We believe that in order to deliver the most knowledge-rich courses possible, elders and traditional knowledge carriers from local indigenous communities must be incorporated into both academic programming and service delivery for students.
  • Students have the opportunity to experience such workshops as:
    • Planting and gardening
    • Canoeing through water systems located near the campus
    • Medicine walks that explore Indigenous plants of the area and their usages
  • Students have the opportunity to connect with visiting First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples at events such as the Elders Gathering, and the Indigenous Women’s Symposium..
  • We support all First Nation, Metis and Inuit students as they strive to realize their educational goals.
  • Indigenous Services provides a number of supports, including an Indigenous Student Counselor, a Recruitment and Retention Officer, a Program Manager, a student lounge, computer lab, and resource library.

The broad aims of the program are:

  • Utilize and draw from the theoretical foundations of Indigenous Studies within the University and beyond, including: Indigenous forms of governance, problem solving, approaches to wellness, conflict resolution, and sustainable relationships to the natural world.
  • Critically read, think, research and write.
  • Understand and articulate the historical narratives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples from an Indigenous perspective.
  • Integrate Western theories with Indigenous approaches to knowledge and articulate how and why the systems merge, overlap and dissect.
  • Identify research initiatives and develop educational resources with, and for, First Nation, Métis, and Inuit communities.
  • Develop meaningful and innovative ways to enhance Indigenous knowledge within the University, the community, and in a variety of settings in order to ensure its continued survival in the future.

Our graduates have been successful at finding interesting and rewarding careers in a range of fields in both the public and private sectors

Examples of career paths include:

  • Education/Outreach
  • Law
  • Advocacy/Social Services
  • Policy/Governance
  • Business
  • Community Development
  • Medicine/Health Care
  • Graduate studies
  • International Development/Affairs
  • Communications
  • Humanitarian Efforts
  • Administration/Management

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