Indigenous Initiatives

McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.

As the Faculty of Law continues to engage with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, we are committed to working toward giving Indigenous legal traditions and Indigenous voices their just place in the McGill program, at our Faculty and in the legal profession.

In this section, you will find information about programs and student support, admissions, scholarship and research, news and events, and career development that touch upon those calls.

McGill Law is committed to becoming one of Canada’s leading faculties in the study of Indigenous legal traditions.

Programs and student support

Being admitted

Indigenous applicants

McGill offers students the opportunity to study and complete research with a wide range of legal scholars in English and French. The Faculty is host to a vibrant Indigenous Law Students’ Association and the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism's Aboriginal Human Rights Initiatives. 

 McGill Law is committed to recruiting and supporting Indigenous students and we welcome dialogue with prospective. Indigenous peoples with ties to Turtle Island are strongly encouraged to apply for the BCL/JD program under the Faculty’s Optional Indigenous Application Category. 

Please refer to the Indigenous applicants’ page of our BCL/JD Admissions Guide for complete information about linguistic support, funding and more. 


The BCL/JD Program

McGill’s unique transsystemic approach and the importance of legal pluralism to the Faculty of Law create fertile ground for studying Indigenous legal traditions. These legal traditions have formed an integral part of many courses for several years. In line with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, we have increased the presence of Indigenous legal traditions in the list of mandatory and optional courses. 

A mandatory course in the first year of the BCL/JD program, Indigenous Legal Traditions introduces students to Indigenous law in Canada. It addresses connections between Indigenous ways of being and knowing and Indigenous law, including how those connections have been damaged in colonial contexts, and efforts to revitalize them. Topics include the worldviews and constitutional contexts of Indigenous legal traditions and the colonial contexts that have shaped the contemporary realities of Indigenous laws and Indigenous legal education. 

Indigenous legal traditions are also taught in Criminal Justice (LAWG 102), a one-year course in 1st year, and in Property Law course (LAWG 220), a one-year course in 2nd year. The Faculty’s Curriculum Committee is working on expanding the opportunities to study Indigenous legal traditions inside and outside of the classroom. 

In addition to incorporating Indigenous legal traditions in these courses, McGill also offers courses that focus on the impacts of Canadian state law and policies on Indigenous peoples, including Indigenous Peoples and the State (CMPL 500).

Visit the Student Affairs Office Courses page for the latest information on current courses.

Field study courses

Students can register in a field studies course and receive teachings on Indigenous law directly from the source, in an Indigenous community.  

In 2022, McGill Law partnered with the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba to offer as a pilot project a month-long Anishinaabe Law Field School. This course explores Anishinaabe law on its terms: with Anishinaabe community, on the land, guided by respected elders, engaging ceremony, and shaped by Anishinaabemowin. Classes are held at the Forks (Winnipeg, MB) and include regional travel. Students form part of a cohort with local Anishinaabeg where they will learn, eat, and travel together. The Field School is focused on community-centred learning using sharing circles. 

Field Course on Anishinaabe Law

Law students may also register in a summer interdisciplinary Indigenous Field Studies Course (IDFC 500) that includes spending one week in Kahnawake, Mohawk territory. This field course provides an opportunity for Social Work, Law, Medicine, Anthropology, and Education students to learn about Haudenosaunee cultures and worldviews, with particular emphasis on linkages to students' practice areas. Attention is given to effects of Canadian policies on contemporary Aboriginal society. 

Clinics and internships

Exchange programs / study away

Study at one of our exchange partner universities for a term in the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policies program at the University of Arizona, the Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments at Osgoode Hall Law School, the Indigenous Legal Studies Program at Peter A. Allard School of Law, or the Option in Aboriginal Law and Indigenous Legal Traditions at the University of Ottawa.

Students may also request permission to study for one term at a law faculty with which there is no established exchange program. In order to attend another university as a "study away" student, one must have sound academic and/or personal reasons for wanting to study at that institution.

Potential courses of interest for study away include:

Minor in Indigenous studies

While studying law, students may pursue a minor in Indigenous Studies at McGill. The Minor Concentration in Indigenous Studies provides students with a broad, interdisciplinary view of key issues in the historical, social and cultural dimensions of Indigenous life in Canada. Core courses offered within the program provide interdisciplinary treatments of Indigenous life. The Program focuses on the history of Indigenous populations in Canada, Aboriginal art and culture, the experience of Indigeneity and gender, and legacies of Indigenous resistance to the Canadian state.



Each year, some McGill Law students participate in the Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot. The Kawaskimhon Moot was first held at the University of Toronto in 1994, and welcomes students from nearly every law faculty across Canada each year. Kawaskimhon – a word of Cree origin roughly translated to “speaking with knowledge” – is a consensus-based, non-adversarial moot that incorporates Indigenous legal traditions alongside federal, provincial and international law. There are no winners or losers. Instead, mooters participate in roundtable negotiations on a particular topic in Indigenous law, representing their assigned party. The Moot takes place at a different Canadian University each year.


McGill Law students lead an active and vibrant Indigenous Law Association de Droit Autochtone (ILADA). ILADA publishes articles and hosts events at the Faculty with a goal of addressing issues, primarily through law, that are relevant to the relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island.

L.E.X. Outreach Program

The L.E.X. (Law-Éducation-Connexion) Outreach Program pairs small groups of law students with high school classrooms and youth groups to provide information on legal rights and issues as well as create pathways to post-secondary education and legal studies for youth facing systemic barriers. A long-time partner with Kahnawake Survival School in Kahnawake, Mohawk territory, the L.E.X. program is working to increase our reach to include more Indigenous youth. As a L.E.X. volunteer or Student Coordinator, you create ties to the community, inspire youth and develop mentorship skills, and share the valuable information you learn in your law classes.

Eagle Spirit Academy high performance camp

The Eagle Spirit Academy is a platform to support Indigenous youth in pursuing studies and careers in health and science at McGill University. The academy offers an annual Eagle Spirit Camp, hands-on workshops and learning opportunities, mentoring support and information for students, parents and educators.

The Eagle Spirit Camp is a 3-day health and science camp hosted at McGill University by the Faculty of Medicine, in partnership with the First Peoples' House of McGill. Our aim is to empower and encourage Indigenous youth to realize their full potential in the areas of education, career, health, leadership and personal development. Indigenous youth leaders (First Nation, Inuit, Metis, and Native American) between the ages of 13-17 years old are welcome to attend the annual camp.

Getting support

First Peoples’ House

McGill's First Peoples' House provides a sense of community and a voice for Indigenous students who have left their communities to study at McGill. A “home away from home,” First Peoples’ House offers a mentoring program, computer facilities, guest lectures, elder visits, academic counselling, and an ever-expanding resource centre, as well as housing.

McGill Indigenous Initiatives' Resource Hub

While tasked with the implementation of the 52 Calls to Action from the Final Report of the Provost Task Force, McGill's Indigenous Initiatives plays a much broader role. As the institutional steward of McGill’s vision for Indigeneity, Indigenous Initiatives plays a multi-layered role. In addition to its core role in supporting Indigenous student & faculty success, and research-based on reciprocity, the unit ensures that Indigeneity is embedded in all facets of university life such as teaching and learning, curricular developments, governance, student life, faculty recruitment and development, human resources, campus space and planning, and research and innovation. Its Resource Hub provides a variety of information sources.

Indigenous Student Alliance

The Indigenous Student Alliance provides integrative support for Indigenous peoples’ attending McGill University to connect and share their unique, authentic Indigenous ways of knowing with each other and with non-Indigenous peoples within the community. Their vision is to develop and maintain on-going networking and partnerships with University student groups and organizations through learning–teaching relationships that foster real and meaningful human development and community solidarity.

Student Health Service at McGill

Student Health Service provides McGill students with quality, comprehensive health care in a convenient campus location. Their services are specifically geared towards the unique health needs of students, and are delivered by caregivers sensitive to – and experienced with – their particular health concerns.

Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment

TheCentre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment (CINE), located on McGill University's Macdonald Campus in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, is an independent, multi-disciplinary research and education center created by Canada's Aboriginal leaders for participatory research and education to address their concerns about the integrity of their traditional food systems.

McGill’s Indigenous Health Interest Group

The Indigenous Health Interest Group aims to enhance the Indigenous health learning experience by understanding Indigenous world views and philosophies and by promoting student initiatives in Indigenous settings. The club strives to provide tools for students to practice medicine in a culturally safe way regarding Indigenous patients and communities.

Funding for Indigenous students

In addition the general student aid and scholarships offered to McGill students, Indigenous students may also be eligible for various other sources of financial aid.

The Faculty also supports student involvement in the Indigenous Bar Association, including financial support for Indigenous students to attend their annual conference.

Finding a career

Career Development

The Faculty of Law's Career Development Office (CDO) strives to connect Indigenous law students with meaningful work opportunities and to enable interested students to work with Indigenous communities and/or in the field of Aboriginal law.

Research and scholarship


Indigenous legal research

Bolstering the place of Indigenous legal research and teaching at the Faculty is one of our key priorities. As such, we are proud to have Professor Kirsten Anker, Professor Aaron Mills, an Indigenous scholar, and Professors Kerry Sloan and Joshua Nichols, two Métis scholars, among our faculty members.

Conferences and events

Our faculty members and students organize conferences and events pertaining to Indigenous questions and concerns. These can be found in our Events calendar, under the Indigenous Law tag.


Students can conduct research on Aboriginal Human Rights Initiatives through the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism; and get involved with the McGill Student Indigenous Studies Journal. Students can also work at Research Assistants for faculty members who have similar research interests.

Advanced studies

Graduate studies in law

McGill offers a Master of Laws in General Law, Comparative Law, Air and Space Law, Environment, and Bioethics. Alternatively, students may also choose to pursue a one-term Graduate Certificate in Comparative Law or Air and Space Law.

Finally, McGill offers a Doctor of Civil Law in Law, Comparative Law, or Air and Space Law. See our Graduate Studies Admission Guide and also find out more about Tuition and Financial Support.

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