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Community Collaboratives

ISP has been building community relationships since its inception in 1992.

The advantage of having Indigenous instructors, many from the local area, has allowed students to access a more multi-faceted education.

Students have the opportunity to experience:

  • Workshops on corn harvesting and its many usages.
  • Rafting and portaging through the many water systems located near the campus.
  • Medicine walks that explore indigenous plants to the area and their usages.
  • And many more unique learning experiences.

Access to Community Knowledge

Indigenous Studies believes that in order to deliver the most knowledge-rich courses possible, knowledge keepers and elders from local indigenous communities must be incorporated into both academic programming and service delivery for students. We are proud of these relationships and have been privileged to host people who are willing to share their knowledge, stories, and songs with all of our students.

The latest initiative ISP has undertaken with Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) is an accredited Ogwehoweh Language Diploma. Students can now opt for postsecondary education in the language and finish their diploma at SNP or continue to complete a degree at McMaster University.

Community Support

As a Cayuga Chief and educator at Six Nations, Harvey Longboat's vision was to have a local community postsecondary institution focused on language and culture backed by the university but not interfering with local education. This is our crowning achievement in his honour, along with a $15,000 scholarship in his name. The Harvey E. Longboat Graduate Scholarship for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Students was established in 2009, recognizing and acknowledging his remarkable contributions to the McMaster community. Recipients of the award include:  Sandra Muse Isaacs (2010/2011), Jennifer Adese and Laurel Curley (2011/2012). 

For more information about the scholarship or how to apply, please contact the School of Graduate Studies.

McMaster University's Indigenous Studies Program and the President's Committee on Indigenous Issues have a long history of responding to community needs. Six Nations educational leaders were concerned about the number of Aboriginal students in medical school. This led to a decade of meetings that resulted in ISP building pathways for students to pursue health sciences or medical school.    The Indigenous Students Health Sciences (ISHS) Office has been established to assist students in completing health sciences programs as well as advancing changes to curriculum in Health Sciences. As you can see, we are continuing to grow both at the community level and here at McMaster University.



Celebrating Community Achievements

Building research capacity and institutional development within the local community of Six Nations has been essential in maintaining ISP's distinctive place of learning.

Our many research grants including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health (IAPH) and the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) has built nationwide capacities in Indigenous research. For example, the Indigenous Knowledge Centre, located in Six Nations has been established in partnership between McMaster and SNP to house sacred texts, artefacts, etc. and engages local community members and McMaster alumni in working with these items. This Centre also provides space and time for the Six Nations Knowledge Guardians to translate historical documents concerning ceremonies, songs, etc. from Iroquoian languages to English.

Nationwide Reach

The Indigenous Health Research Development Program (IHRDP) is also in partnership with McMaster and housed locally in Six Nations at SNP. This program assists Aboriginal students in conducting health research. IHRDP also funds community-driven projects focusing on health. The Aboriginal Health Research Network Secretariat (AHRNetS) works towards maintaining and coordinating various Aboriginal health and environment projects across Canada. These programs and centers utilize the knowledge and skills of local Haudenosaunee residents, other Indigenous knowledge keepers, McMaster students, and Alumni.

These projects continue to have nationwide reach and have steadily been building uniquely defined networks. At Indigenous Studies, we try to incorporate students in all of these facets of research. It is our belief and practice to provide students with the opportunity to access indigenous forms of learning and knowledge during their time at McMaster.

Student Groups

McMaster Indigenous Student Community Alliance (MISCA)

The McMaster First Nations Students Association has recently changed the name of the group to "McMaster Indigenous Student Community Alliance" in order to become more inclusive of the Indigenous population at McMaster University.  The original MFNSA group was established in 1989 with the goal or raising awareness about Indigenous cultural, social and political issues.

Read more about MISCA on the OPRIG website.

Previous MFNSA events include:

  • Cultural workshops featuring Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe teachings including:
    • Beading
    • Moccasin making
    • Traditional cooking
  • Powwows and Iroquoian socials
  • Indigenous film nights and lecture series
  • Political and social activism for Indigenous issues

Read more about MISCA on their facebook page

McMaster Indigenous Graduate Students (MIGS)

The McMaster Indigenous Graduate Students (MIGS) was initially formed to support Indigenous graduate students who are attending McMaster University and to create opportunities for scholarly dialogue and collaboration regarding their research interests and shared common experiences related to graduate-level education.

Contact McMaster Indigenous Graduate Students

Rising Up Conference

The Rising Up Conference invites graduate students to discuss and explore perspectives on resurgence, reconciliation and reclamation in Indigenous Studies whether academically, artistically, or through activism. The conference theme "Indigenous Protectors Empowering Nations Through Research" builds upon this legacy of mobilizing Indigenous Peoples globally for research grounded in Indigenous Knowledge that empowers our diverse nations. We welcome papers from all disciplines. The conference will be held March 9-12, 2017 at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON.

Abstract Submission deadline: January 20, 2017

Abstract Submission Form

McMaster University Indigenous Education Council

The Indigenous Education Council will include representatives from the University’s senior administration to ensure a direct link to the governing bodies.

McMaster University is committed to building relationships and enhancing its engagement with local First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, supporting and encouraging Indigenous students, staff and faculty members, promoting Indigenous education and the study of Indigenous knowledge and culture, and ensuring the participation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis representatives in the University’s decision - making process.

Learn more about the McMaster University Indigenous Education Council

Annual Powwow

Cultural Gathering

Each year in the Fall the McMaster Indigenous Student Community Alliance holds it's annual Welcoming Powwow on campus outside the John Hodgins Engineering building.

Learn more about the MISCA Cultural Gathering