Experts: Indigenous initiatives at McGill University

Elders sit on the floor of the Knowledge Sharing Centre at the CHARS building, Ikaluktutiak. Credit: Alex Fradkin
Image by Alex Fradkin.
Published: 23 June 2021

In June, we commemorate National Indigenous History Month 2021 to recognize the history, heritage and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada.

Here are some experts from McGill that can provide comment on initiatives that are transforming relationships with Indigenous communities across the country. These initiatives grow out of a series of 52 Calls to Action that McGill established as part of its own efforts towards recognition and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Gault Nature Reserve partners with the Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki

Sharing a common interest in the protection of the natural and cultural resources of the Gault Nature Reserve, McGill University and the Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki announced a partnership agreement welcoming the Nation’s members to the site to practice their cultural activities.

Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

This is another step along the path to honouring the past and reconciling the future. A long road remains ahead of us, but we are committed to engaging and collaborating with Indigenous partners to identify, explore and advance plans that benefit our whole society by embedding Indigenous traditions in the life and activities of the University.

Ashukin program

Ashukin is a Naskapi word meaning “bridge”. The program connects McGill Nursing students with Quebec Indigenous populations in urban, rural and remote communities.

Françoise Filion, Assistant Professor, Ingram School of Nursing and Co-Chair, Global & Indigenous Health Nursing

We are creating a real, tangible connection between two communities, learning from and helping each other. The program provides students with the opportunity to work with Indigenous populations in both Southern and Northern Quebec, in urban, rural and remote communities.”


Rooted is a multi-media publication on Indigenous law at McGill run by the Indigenous Law Association.

Larissa Parker and Sarah Nixon, Co-Executive Editors, Rooted

"Rooted represents a conscious attempt to create space for Indigenous legalities, knowledge, and perspectives. Our contributors – academics, activists, artists, and leaders – offer insight into Indigenous legal orders and ways of being and knowing beyond the dominant liberal paradigm.”

Inuit traditional knowledge in the contemporary world

A roundtable organized by Professor Marianne Stenbaek explores historical and contemporary Inuit cultural practices, with more than a dozen diverse presenters and panelists sharing their knowledge, research and experiences.

Marianne Stenbaek, Full Professor of Cultural Studies, Department of English

I have a passion for the Arctic and its peoples which inspire me and inform all my work. Relationships are pivotal to this type of work, so I’m incredibly thankful to have so many wonderful collaborators from different walks of life on board.

McGill students and Kahnawà:ke team up to improve literacy

To contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools were temporarily closed, interrupting the education of children everywhere. In Quebec, elementary schools in Kahnawà:ke and students from McGill University teamed up once again to strengthen reading skills so no student is left behind.

Sophie Vaillancourt, Assistant Professor (Professional) and Coordinator of Clinical Education, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders

“The collaboration between the Kahnawà:ke Education Centre and the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders has been incredibly valuable to the learning of our graduate students. We want to thank the Kanien’kehá:ka for their continuous support and their ongoing openness to share their knowledge with our students.”

McGill Engineering youth outreach initiative

A project led by Richard Chromik, Faye Siluk, and Robert Pozeg of the Faculty of Engineering’s E-IDEA initiative makes learning science more inclusive for Indigenous youth, with the help of the NSERC PromoScience grants program.

Richard Chromik, Full Professor and Chair, Department of Mining and Materials Engineering

“Our program understands that it is important for science educators to be able to recognize and integrate students’ experiences, helping them to self-identify as innovative makers and creators. This project, collaborating with Branches, will allow us to strengthen our Youth Action and Outreach initiative, which partners with local schools and communities to help diverse populations gain better access to higher education and civic engagement.”

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