Aboriginal Studies Alumni
Since it’s inception in 1994, the Aboriginal Studies Program has exposed students to diverse knowledge systems that reflect multiple ways of knowing. This interdisciplinary education, dedicated to the re-conceptualization of knowledge, has allowed our graduates to go on to pursue careers and further university study across a wide range of fields. We are very proud of what our graduates have achieved. Here’s what a few of our Alumni are doing with their degrees.
Maria Hupfield is an artist living in Brooklyn, NY, and the recent recipient of the Artist Leadership Program at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. For Maria, Aboriginal Studies at U of T grounded her life experiences growing up in the rural great lakes region of Georgian Bay, within a field of study that examines the intersection of history, politics and culture. During her time in the ABS program, Maria learned about the Indigenous history of Canada, applying this knowledge to the investigation of present-day Canadian policy, which affects both Indigenous/non-Indigenous peoples. Maria exercised a type of scholarship in ABS that she considers to be both urgent and relevant with far-reaching effects for communities and environments, as well as on the daily lived experience of people worldwide. Maria has maintained relationships with friends she made during her time at U of T, many of whom she has seen go on to pursue careers across diverse fields. Maria’s lifelong commitment to integrated Indigenous knowledge and awareness continues to strengthen her as both an artist and an active member of her communities.
Maria’s most recent project, Land Slide: Possible Futures, was a large-scale public art exhibition featuring 35 different artists. The exhibition was held in the fall of 2013 at the Markham Museum and Historical Village. To learn more about Maria and her other projects, please visit her blog.
Andrew Snowball graduated from the Aboriginal Studies Program (ABS) in 2007. He went on to receive a Masters in Social Work, and is currently working on his Doctorate in Education here at U of T. Andrew also works as an Education Policy Analyst for the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres.
As a non-Aboriginal person in Canada, Andrew had little knowledge about Aboriginal worldviews, cultures and histories. Upon entering the Aboriginal Studies Program at U of T, Andrew was introduced to new ways of seeing the world. He learned to speak Anishinaabe and Haudenosuanee languages, participated in ceremony, and felt privileged to learn from Elders within the Toronto community. Foundational to Andrew’s education were a set of ethics and values that encouraged him to acknowledge and accept new responsibilities as a non-Indigenous person living in Canada.
Throughout his time at U of T, the Aboriginal Studies Program and First Nations House became a second home to Andrew. He felt welcomed and accepted by staff, faculty and fellow students. Andrew feels his education through the ABS program was a journey towards self-discovery. Through learning about the Indigenous peoples of the land he calls home, he can more clearly understand the values, ethics and worldviews that have been instilled by his own culture. This self-awareness has been transformational. Andrew states, “I was meant for ABS and ABS was meant for me; and I could have never known what the outcomes and benefits might have been”
Candace Maracle is Mohawk from the Bay of Quinte, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She completed her undergraduate degree in Aboriginal Studies from the University of Toronto and her masters degree in Journalism from Ryerson University. She has worked as a journalist for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s National News and CBC Radio and currently works as a documentary filmmaker.
While in graduate school, Candace was recognized for her substantial journalistic achievements by receiving both the CanWest Scholarship for Aboriginal Youth in Broadcast Journalism and the James H. Carter Memorial Scholarship. She credits the strong foundation of her undergraduate years at U of T for providing her with all the social, cultural and academic support she would need to feel balanced in the completion her degree and the confidence to pursue her dreams.
Candace’s first award-winning film, The Creator’s Game: The Quest for Gold and the Fight for Nationhood, premiered in 2011 at the imagineNATIVE Film Festival and has had numerous screenings since; receiving several accolades. Her documentary won Best Feature Film at the Grand River Film Festival 2012 and voted “Audience Favourite” at ReFrame International Film Festival 2012 and nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2011 American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. Candace believes in the power of radio, television, and documentary film, and has harnessed this power to enrich her community through the education of youth. The Creator’s Game has screened in several First Nations’ communities making it accessible for all those interested. The film has also been integrated into Ontario school curriculum as part of hotDOCS – Docs for Schools Program.
Candace would like to continue providing in depth coverage and analysis of important issues through her talents as a documentary filmmaker. She is currently working on her second documentary, which deals with Haudenosaunee treaties both historically and in a modern context.
For more information about The Creator’s Game: The Quest for Gold and the Fight for Nationhood visit the Creator’s Game Facebook Page