Indigenous Studies
Indigenous Studies is dedicated to the scholarly study and research of the priorities and aspirations of Indigenous peoples in Canada and throughout the world.


Indigenous Studies is an undergraduate program dedicated to the re-conceptualizing of knowledge. In Indigenous Studies, students are exposed to literature and research from diverse knowledge systems that reflect multiple ways of knowing and they are encouraged to develop and hone their critical thinking skills. Learning is enhanced by the program’s inter-connectedness with Indigenous communities. Typically, students enrolled in Indigenous Studies come from a range of personal backgrounds, and educational programs. Similarly, graduates of the Program enter into a variety of fields including social work, law, education, and politics, as well as media, creative writing and fine art.

Indigenous Studies students begin their study with the course Introduction to Indigenous Studies: Foundations, History and Politics. This course is designed to introduce students to the ideas, methods and themes of the discipline of Indigenous Studies. This is a full-credit course that spans both the fall and winter semesters of an academic year. The first half of the course is dedicated to the development of the field of Indigenous Studies in Canada, while the second part of the course addresses “history and politics”, including an overview of the historical processes of diplomacy, alliances, and treaty-making. Throughout students’ academic careers in Indigenous Studies, they have opportunities to learn about Indigenous spiritual and healing traditions, intersections of Indigenous and Western science, Indigenous politics, the representation of Indigenous peoples in society and the mass media, the junction of language and culture, Indigenous arts, Indigenous legends and teachings, and Indigenous/non-Indigenous politics in Canada.

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HMB226: INFO SESSION RECORDING What are the intersections between biology and holistic health in an Indigenous framework? Understanding Indigenous cultures, perspectives, [Read More]

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Centre for Indigenous Studies, University of Toronto

The Medicine Wheel represents the worldview of Anishinaabe people. As a worldview it shows how all life is connected. It begins with the four cardinal directions: north, south, east and west, which articulate the relationship of humans to earth, sky, fire and water. Anishinaabe teaching, the seven grandfather teachings, the good life teachings, the spiritual belief system and the stories are all contained in the wheel. It also represents the medical paradigm of the Anishinaabe people in which illness is viewed as an imbalance within the body in its connection to the heart, spirit and mind. More than that, the Medicine Wheel is also a methodology, a way of arriving at an understanding of a being, phenomena, or an event as it constitutes a way of tracking a being’s journey, examining its connections with other beings, determining the influences of events/others/obstacles had on its journey and charting a way to restore balance or maintain balance as the case may be. In a sense, as both a worldview, a paradigm and an analytical methodology, the wheel becomes a sphere within which all spiritual and physical life can be understood in and of itself and in relation to all other beings. Lastly, it is a means by which many people can participate in understanding, studying, or discovering life, phenomena, ceremony or experience spirit-to-spirit connection. Lee Maracle Sto:Loh Nation INS Instructor
The medicine wheel represents a holistic, traditional knowledge approach to education, which is at the heart of the Aboriginal Studies Program. The seven circles represent the Seven Grandfathers teachings, Seven Generations, and also the Seven Stages of Life. The blue represents the sky realm where the Eagle travels in the four directions ensuring that Aboriginal ways of life and knowing are protected and strengthened. The Eagle exemplifies recognition for the work done by individuals, families, communities and nations with the gift of one of its feathers. To be gifted an Eagle Feather is considered the highest honour. It also represents humility and respect. The Aboriginal Studies Program at the University of Toronto is recognized for providing excellence in teaching and enabling student achievements, as well as acknowledging its responsibility to strengthen and maintain community partnerships through teaching, learning and research initiatives.

Debby Danard Wilson
Rainy River First Nations
Aboriginal Studies Alumnae and Visual Artist