Community Report

Beadwork medallion with a golden bear and the words "University of Alberta"

Together, we're reimagining relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and building a community through donor support.

Community engagement is an integral component of everything we do in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta--from research and teaching to service, engagement is at the heart of our collective work.

For Indigenous Studies, community engagement sits at the core of our purpose and is not approached as a “social responsibility.” For the Faculty of Native Studies, community engagement means actively involving all members of a group to collaboratively engage and build respectful research practices and projects that are community-led.

Our work always centres relationships based on reciprocity and mutual respect. Community takes multiple forms: from Indigenous nations and specific land bases to governance bodies, non-profit organizations, and groups based on shared conditions such as prison communities.

Thank you

to our 1500+ donors who support the Faculty of Native Studies

Our Impact

Online Course Development

The success of our Indigenous Canada MOOC during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of increasing Native Studies’ online presence to facilitate student learning. Thank you to our donors for assisting us to provide innovative, accessible and engaging content to continuing professional education audiences around the world!


total learners


active learners (all time)


learners joined after Dan Levy’s endorsement

Through the generous donations from a wide range of supporters this year, the Faculty of Native Studies has been pressing into online course development. In response to a growing demand for training on reconciliation in Canada, structural racism, Indigenous histories, cultures and societies, Native Studies will be offering two new micro-courses in Fall 2022:

Indigenous Peoples and Canada

Indigenous Peoples and Canada

A 6-module micro-course that looks at Indigenous historical and contemporary experiences in order to understand the legacy of settler colonialism and affirm Indigenous self-determination. This micro-course covers topics like worldview, resources and relations, governance and treaty, institutionalization, contemporary communities, resistance and resilience. The content will sharpen learners’ critical thinking skills to strengthen personal and professional ethics, and will deepen Indigenous/non-Indigenous collaboration through building literacy about Indigenous societies, enhancing intercultural awareness, and obtaining balanced facts about Canadian history and current realities.

Tackling Structural Racism

Tackling Structural Racism

Grounded in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action, this micro-course introduces key anti-racism concepts that are applied to various sectors (education, social services, and the policing and legal system). By using real world case studies and Indigenous led content to provide learners with Indigenous perspectives and experiences, this module points to successful efforts to tackle issues related to structural racism in Canada.

Virtual Community Engagement

In light of restrictions and the ever-changing pandemic, we moved many of our events, activities and engagements online in 2020 and 2021. By going virtual, we were able to connect with more people from across Canada, the United States, and the world. 

These events include (but are not limited to) the award-winning video “Let’s Powwow with the Faculty of Native Studies” during the 2020 Alumni Week(end), a number of language revitalization events with alumni, and online convocation receptions. Reconnecting with Indigenous Canada brought together Native Studies’ Dr. Paul Gareau, Dr. Tracy Bear from the McMaster Indigenous Research Institute, and Dan Levy to interact with course completers and celebrate a year on from the original video.

We continue strengthening existing relationships and building on new ones to reach our goal of Indigenous Studies arising from Indigenous communities and being fundamentally committed to them.

Reconnecting with Indigenous Canada Event

live attendees


nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up

Dr. Tasha Hubbard’s documentary on the death of Colten Boushie was released to critical acclaim in 2019. The film weaves together the stark history of colonialism on the Prairies, her own experiences with adoption, and a vision for a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands. 

Three years on, the film's impact continues. It is featured regularly in public education events across Canada at countless educational institutions, libraries, government agencies, and community spaces.

Related: U of A researcher and filmmaker chronicles Boushie family quest for legal reform

Indigenous Prison Arts & Education Program (IPAEP)

In 2021, a new initiative called the Indigenous Prison Arts and Education Project (IPAEP) launched in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. The IPAEP makes post-secondary education more accessible to incarcerated people, supports prisoner advocacy, and facilitates creative arts programming inside prisons. IPAEP is currently offering three established programs: 

Inspired Minds: All Nations Creative Writing

A creative writing program for men and women who are incarcerated in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Classes provide participants with the opportunity to learn about and practice different modes of storytelling, including oral tradition, poetry, short stories, autobiography, songs, and visual art. The program also aims to provide an important outlet for participants to express themselves and their experiences.

Bedtime Stories

A program with two offerings. Incarcerated fathers either record themselves reading an existing children’s book, which is then sent to their child with a backpack, stuffed animal, and a set of pajamas, or participate in a weekly creative writing class where they write their own story for their children. The story is then illustrated and delivered with a backpack, stuffed animal, and pyjamas.

Walls 2 Bridges

A program that creates educational partnerships between post secondary institutions and correctional systems, bringing together college or university students (campus-based students) with incarcerated men and women (non campus-based students) to study as peers.

In addition to these three programs, we also provide support for incarcerated women at Buffalo Sage Wellness House (a transition home) to attend university classes on campus. Through comprehensive support for people transitioning from prison into the larger society, we aim to address the multiple barriers to education and employment that incarcerated people face upon release.

Three students studying on North Campus in front of the Old Arts building

SING Canada

The Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics Canada (SING Canada) is an initiative associated with the Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society Research and Training Program (Indigenous STS) at the Faculty of Native Studies. Building on the success of SING US and SING Aotearoa, SING Canada is an annual one-week intensive workshop designed to build Indigenous capacity and scientific literacy by training undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral, and community fellows in the basic of genomics, bioinformatics, and Indigenous and decolonial bioethics.

Community Service Learning

The Faculty of Native Studies offers courses to students that incorporate Community Service Learning (CSL) opportunities with local Indigenous organizations. The Indigenous Governance Capstone enables students to increase the range of their knowledge and analysis of Indigenous governance and partnership. The CSL component of the courses provides students real world experience and a connection between the theory and the actual practice of governance. Through the annual offering of this capstone course over 1,600 hours of dedicated research time has been given to Indigenous community-identified projects.

Dr. Shalene Jobin is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Governance, and Director of the Indigenous Governance and Partnership program at the University of Alberta
Governance by Leah Dorian Indigenous Canada