Indigenous Curricula at McGill


McGill is working to increase the presence of Indigenous
perspectives and methodologies in the classroom.

Visit   the Research Resources page here for recommended academic resources and Indigenous research methodologies.

Watch   the videos below, about the OFNIE Students on Ice Expedition and the Indigenous Field Studies Course.

Enroll   in the classes below if you're a student at McGill.

Faculty of Arts

Anthropology

Art History

Canadian Studies

English

Gender, Feminist, Sexuality, and Social Justice Studies

History

Indigenous Studies

The Indigenous Studies Program at McGill University was established in 2014 in response to years of research, reflection, and activism on the part of students at McGill and the Indigenous communities on campus. Currently a minor program within the Faculty of Arts, the Indigenous Studies Program is administered by the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC). Indigenous studies more than courses with Indigenous content — it’s about engagement with Indigenous knowledge, with its distinct methodology, norms, and expectations within the academy.

In its relatively short existence, the minor program has been an essential site of Indigenous community engagement and outreach. By organizing and sponsoring public events, community outreach projects and bringing visitors to McGill through the annual Indigenous Knowledge Holder Series, the Program serves as a linchpin for Indigenous initiatives and community building on campus.

Interdisciplinary Field Course

Students in the School of Social Work, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Medicine, and Department of Anthropology can take the IDFC 500 Indigenous Field Studies Course. During this four-week course - including a week spent in the Kahnawake community - students are introduced to Indigenous customs, values and lifestyles through workshop activities with Elders and with the support of McGill University professors. Using a holistic approach and interdisciplinary group work, students are introduced to the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual dimensions of Indigenous cultures. Learning in the Kahnawake community is complemented by on-campus activities.

Linguistics

Political Science

Social Work

Sociology

Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Faculty of Education

The Office of First Nations and Inuit Education (OFNIE) works in partnership with First Nations and Inuit education authorities throughout Quebec – such as Kativik Ilisarniliriniq (KI), the Cree School Board, the Kahnawake and Kanehsatake Education Centres, and the Central Quebec School Board on behalf of the Naskapis of Kawawachikamach – to deliver community-based teacher education programs and professional development.

Integrated Studies in Education - OFNIE

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

The Indigenous Health Professions Program in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences is leading a number of initiatives to teach Indigenous curriculum to students in the health professions. Multiple departments, including Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing, are engaged in these initiatives. Learn more here

Family Medicine

  • FMED 506 Indigenous Perspectives: Decolonizing Health Approaches
    • This graduate foundation course explores Indigenous-grounded health promotion in primary health care, with the goal to foster more meaningful patient and community engagement in research and practice. This course will explore the nature of Indigenous Peoples' ways of understanding the world and cultural ways of knowing and doing, with focus on health and wellness. It will review the Canadian history of colonization and assimilation, and the outcomes and impacts through the lens of Indigenous Peoples. The course will review the powershift as Indigenous Peoples, scholars and communities participate, share and control the health and wellness clinical and research agenda. The course will be taught by Alex McComber in the Fall 2021 semester. 
  • FMED 527 Inuit Health in the Canadian Context
    • The course will explore the histories, perspectives and contemporary realities of Inuit health in the four regions of Inuit Nunangat (the Inuit homeland) with a particular focus on the Nunavik region of northern Quebec. The Inuit of Nunavik are the second-largest Inuit community in Canada, with a population of 11,000 living in 14 communities. Nunavik is part of the McGill Réseau universitaire intégré de santé et services sociaux. That gives McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences a unique rationale, and opportunity, to offer, under the sponsorship of Family Medicine, a course on Inuit health in the Canadian context. The course will be taught by Richard Budgell in the Winter 2021 semester. 

School of Continuing Studies

The School of Continuing Studies offers a variety of certificate programs aimed at Indigenous students, and students who want to work in Indigenous communities. Their programs include in-community options, and cover topics such as education and business management. These programs were created in partnership with our Indigenous partners and through grants aimed at advancing Indigenous education.

Learn more on the Programs page. 

Read more about the Certificate in Indigenous Business Management, and the Public Administration and Governance programs: 

PDF icon Indigenous Business Management Brochure

PDF icon Public Administration and Governance Brochue

Certificate in Indigenous Business Management

Certificate in Health and Social Services Management

  • Note: Only offered in partnership with Health Organizations as a tailored program)
  • Learn more here

Certificate in Public Administration and Governance

Diploma in Health and Social Services Management

  • Note: Only offered in partnership with Health Organizations as a tailored program
  • Learn more here

Diploma in Public Administration and Governance

 

Indigenous Curricula Highlights

Faculty of Law

The Faculty of Law now has a mandatory first-year class in Indigenous Legal Traditions. Learn more about the law faculty's initiatives here

Indigenous Health Professions Program

In response to the relevant 2015 Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Indigenous Health Professions Program (IHPP) aims to enhance Indigenous health education that supports all learners and educators to provide culturally-safe care in their practice and relations with Indigenous peoples, with a focus on the needs identified by Indigenous Peoples.

The current role of IHPP in curriculum development is to provide consultation and mentoring to each of the schools as their Indigenous health curricula evolve, create opportunities for faculty development in line with the principles of community engagement, and advocate for equitable processes for both Indigenous students and educators.

Office of First Nations and Inuit Education

The Office of First Nations and Inuit Education (OFNIE) has taken significant measures towards Indigenizing course content and delivery. Programs in Listuguj, Eeyou Istchee, and Nunavik are all taught or co-taught by local knowledge holders who share and bring into the classroom local teaching and learning practices and relevant cultural knowledge that serve as the basis of instruction.

In developing the B.Ed FNI – Listuguj, OFNIE worked alongside the local educational directorate in modifying course requirements as well as tailoring and selecting courses before the Bachelor's program commenced in the community. Listuguj students have completed courses in Indigenous physical education and Mi'gmaq cultural skills. For the Nunavik programs, ahead of course delivery, McGill instructors travel to the north and complete 3 days of intensive co-planning alongside their Inuk co-instructor.

In all of OFNIE's programs, instruction and curriculum is indigenized through close consultation with local partners and typically includes guests talks by elders, opening and closing prayers and intentions, check-ins, and multiple forms of expressing and relaying knowledge.

School of Continuing Studies

The School of Continuing Studies offers cultural awareness training workshops to teaching staff. For example, all course lecturers who are responsible for courses with Inuit communities and partners attend a 2-day cultural training workshop to understand Inuit culture and Northern life in Nunavik through our partner, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services. This training is offered at Ullivik (Northern Quebec Module) and helps build curricula and materials which are tailored to Inuit students. Continuing Studies instructors are also practitioners who work in the fields in which they teach. This allows them to share their industry expertise and real-life experiences in the classroom. Course lecturers in the School of Continuing Studies encourage cultural practices throughout course delivery, and many have experience delivering courses in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities throughout Quebec.

School of Social Work

In the School of Social Work, as part of the curriculum development portfolio of Indigenous Access McGill which received initial funding grant from Health Canada, Social Work faculty created Indigenous Field Studies. This course was created to provide an opportunity for students to learn about Indigenous cultures and worldviews, with a particular emphasis on Iroquoian teachings and their connection to the students' areas of practice.

During this 4-week intensive course (including one week in Kahnawá:ke, Mohawk Territory), students are introduced to Indigenous customs, values and ways of life through daily activities / workshops led by a Kahnawá:ke Elder and community facilitators representing students’ areas of practice. During the last 8 years we have run the course, it has evolved into a space of reconciliation, where Indigenous and non Indigenous students are engaged in a holistic approach to learning about Indigenous cultures. The course contains experiential physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual components, with the intent that students will be immersed in cultural activities throughout the course.

The School of Social Work has also included as mandatory in its Bachelor of Social Work a First People’s Issues course. The School recognizes that such a course is part of critical and essential preparation for effective future professional practice. McGill is the first Bachelor of Social Work program in Quebec to have a required course focused on First Peoples. Instruction for this course, moreover, is restricted to Indigenous faculty (SSW standing faculty and sessional lecturers) underscoring the growing Indigenous expertise the School of Social Work possess.

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