It’s one thing to be an expert on your own culture but it’s something else altogether to have a university degree in Native or Aboriginal studies. In Quebec, unfortunately, the only available program is the Certificat en études autochtones at Université Laval in Quebec City (in French). What’s more, the studies are not specific to Canada’s First Nations but examine all the indigenous peoples of the Americas, north and south. This is not to say that the certificate isn’t worth pursuing, but it’s not like various programs available in other provinces. For more info on the Université Laval program go to: www.ant.ulaval.ca
Should you want to study Canada’s aboriginal people in a university setting in English here, there are courses available at Montreal’s Concordia University. The only snag is that the courses are merely electives that you can take to complement any variety of degree you are already doing and the courses will not lead to any variety of certificate nor is the program available as a minor. For more information on Concordia’s Native Studies cluster go to: artsandscience.concordia.ca/inte/elective_groups.cfm ?
D= 12If you are looking to pursue a degree in Native studies that feature Cree culture or language, there are but a few institutions in the entire country that offer such types of classes. The closest is the Native Studies Program at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.
The program available at Laurentian offers leads to a three-year general Baccalaureate and a four-year specialized B.A. This program is designed to promote understanding of diversity within Canada’s Native peoples and their traditions, explore the history of Native peoples and closely examine the many issues that Canada’s First Nations people presently face. Ultimately their goal is to reflect Canada’s Native peoples with a focus on the Cree and Ojibwe First Nations. Should you visit their website you may also recognize the name of Dr. Emily J. Faries. She was featured last November in the Nation and is also largely responsible for the present history textbook being used by the Cree School Board. According to their website, most of the Native Studies courses are also available through distance education. For more information on this program go to: www.usudbury.com/EN/Departments/Native_Studies/ Native_Studies.html
The University of Saskatchewan offers a Native studies B.A. with honours. The program has existed since 1982 and its aim is to graduate students who are capable of effectively researching in and for Aboriginal communities. They use a three-tier approach consisting of local, national and global perspectives in the study of Aboriginal societies. There are a number of courses that deal with Cree culture and language. For more information go to: www.usask.ca/Nativestudies/Next up, the University of Alberta has its own faculty of Native studies and the university offers not only a B.A. in Native studies and an honours program but also offers two other very interesting five-year programs. The combined degrees are the Bachelors of Education five-year Combined Degree Program and the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Conservation Sciences/Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies Combined degree. Cree language is a focus in the program along with a great deal of history and political issues facing Canada’s aboriginal peoples. For more information visit: www.ualberta.ca/NATIVESTUDIES/Of course, if you want to study Canada’s First Nations intensively or obtain a B.A. in Cree Language, there is one institution in Canada that offers it all: the First Nations University of Canada in Saskatchewan. There is no other university in Canada that offers such a comprehensive focus on Canada’s First Nations people. It not only offers an Indigenous Studies program leading to a B.A. but also a multitude of other disciplines. At First Nations University you can study anything from a Cree language honours program to a First Nations Masters Degree in Business Administration to a Certificate in Indian Health Studies. There’s much more besides. This one institution provides the corner stone on specialized programs with First Nations people in mind. For more information:www.firstnationsuniversity. caldefault. aspx?
page=5 The University of Lethbridge in Alberta offers a Native American Studies program that features a BA major and a Special Case Masters. On their website they boast that, “All of the classes in Native American Studies are taught from the Native perspective,” which makes them one of the most sought-after programs in Canada. There are courses available in Cree and the program is not specific to Canada’s First
Nations people but also to those in the United States. For more information go to: www. uleth. ca/fas/nas
Other universities in Canada also offer various types of Native studies:
Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia offers a unique Mi’kmaq Studies program featuring both a major and minor in Mi’kmaq Studies and various other programs with a focus on the Mi’kmaq people. mrc. uccb. ns. calcourses.html
The University of Northern British Columbia also offers a First Nations Studies program with both B.A. and M.A. programs and certificates in both Aboriginal Health Sciences and First Nations Language. www.unbc.ca/firstnations/The University of Toronto has offered a Native Studies Program from which students can graduate with a B.A. specialist, major and minor. Their focus is on the languages, cultures, histories, creativity and wellbeing of the indigenous peoples in Canada and globally: www.utoronto.ca/abs/Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, offers a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. program in Native Studies along with programs in Native Management and Economic Development, and Indigenous Environmental Studies. www.trentu.ca/academic/Nativestudies/McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, offers an Indigenous Studies program in which students can graduate with a three-year Combined B.A. in Indigenous Studies degree in conjunction with another subject or obtain a B.A., M.A. or Ph.D. www.mcmaster.ca/indigenous/default.htm
Lastly, the University of Victoria offers various interesting programs, including a Certificate in the Administration of Indigenous Governments, an M.A. program in the same field and various other programs.