University of Victoria


Adam Joseph Barker
Settler Canadian from Haudenosaunee territory (Hamilton, ON)

Honours B.A.Sc., Minor in Indigenous Studies, McMaster (1999)

Research: Dynamics of Settler colonialism; Understanding the ways in which Settler societies are informed by a colonial past and maintain a neo-colonial society in the present is crucial to confronting overarching imperial ambitions.

Currently: I'm working on a PhD in Human Geography, Department of Geography, University of Leicester. My focus is on the potential for alliance building between indigenous peoples and anarchistic social movements in settler states.

IGOV provided an environment that was simultaneously critical and supportive. Whether in class, as part of IGOV activities, or socially with other IGOV students, I was constantly challenged to engage with my own assumptions, cultural frameworks, and hidden biases. Because this happened in a supportive atmosphere, it was much easier to critically examine the role of colonialism in my own history and reality. The end result is that my educational experience became an extension of my personal development, and the degree that I earned became much more than a simple academic credential; it is a statement that I can be proud of about my personal principles and values. IGOV also demanded a very high level of scholarship, which forced me to improve my academic skills to a much greater degree than I had thought possible.

Read Adam's most recent journal publication in The American Indian Quarterly: "The Contemporary Reality of Canadian Imperialism: Settler Colonialism and the Hybrid Colonial State"


Marilyn Jensen, Yadultin
Dakka Tlingit and Tagish KwáanCarcross/Tagish First NationCarcross, Yukon Territory      
BA: Anthropology, University of Alaska

Current Employment: Marilyn was delighted to return to her community to work as the Senior Government Official for the Carcross/Tagish First Nation in which the ultimate vision is to provide pathways to foster healing within their citizens and reclaim strongly their traditional values as a major assertion of self-determination.

Marilyn Anne Jensen, Yadultin, is of Dakka Tlingit and Tagish Kwáan Ancestry from the Dak'laweidi Clan (killer whale) which falls under the eagle moiety. Her family has made the beautiful area of the southern lakes in the Yukon Territory their home for numerous generations. She is a citizen of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, daughter of Philip and Doris (Guná) McLean, granddaughter of Peter (Xóonk'i Éesh) and Agnes Johns (Daaxkéix), and the great-granddaughter of Tagish (Kaajinéek') and Maria Johns (Ła.oos Tláa) and Charlie and Clara (Saatleindu.oo) (nee Scotty) Johnson. Most importantly, Marilyn is the mother of Megan, who is also named Guná after her grandmother, and married to David, Shaa'daax.

Besides her family, the biggest love of her life is working towards cultural revitalization within her community through participating in dance, singing, drumming and all aspects of her culture. Marilyn has been dancing and singing the traditional Inland Tlingit and Tagish songs since she was two years old when her mother began a dance group so that she, her sister and other Indigenous children would have the opportunity to learn their culture through song and dance. Her mother enlisted the guidance and direction from the elders of her family and other elders from the Yukon and coastal Alaska. This provided Marilyn with a strong identity and passion for celebrating in cultural activities and a desire to accurately interpret Inland Tlingit and Tagish stories, history, worldviews and ways through writing, dance, song and in any initiative she undertakes.

Spending time in the Indigenous Governance program at UVic cemented her beliefs in returning to the spiritual foundations and values of the Inland Tlingit and Tagish people as the central grounding of contemporary Indigenous governance and she plans to eventually continue on to a Ph.D. Since she returned to her community, Marilyn has begun with a new group of committed young people who have formed the dance group known as, The Dakka Kwáan Dancers, their purpose and desire is to reawaken and revitalize their culture.


Kirsten Mikkelsen (Miskwa Niibi Ikwe) Kirsten Mikkelsen (Miskwa Niibi Ikwe)
Anishinaabe, Animkee Waa-Zhing (N.W. Angle #33), Manidoo Baawitigong (Manitou Rapids), Denmark, and Finland.

Bachelor of Social Work with an Indigenous Specialization, UVic

Research/Community Governance Project: Lifting Children’s Spirit Society commissioned Kirsten to create the documentaries “Akicita Fighting To Live Again” and “Indigenous Renewal Time for Life Again” in order to inspire people to recognize and confront the hidden histories and ongoing acts of violence undertaken against Indigenous communities.

Current Employment: Sessional Instructor with the School of Social Work at UVic.


Lyana PatrickLyana Patrick
Carrier Nation/Stellat’en First Nation

B.A., Creative Writing (Co-op)/History, UVic

Research: Indigenous storytelling as a methodology; decolonizing filmmaking strategies with the goal of social and political regeneration.

Currently pursuing a Ph.D in the School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia.

Reserach focus:Indigenous planning, addictions and mental health with a focus on a continuum of care model, and filmmaking as a catalyst for public policy dialogue and opportunity for mutual learning.


All of my experiences in the IGOV program have contributed to where I’m at now. Perhaps the most important was the urgent need for me to return home and work with my own communities to initiate change and works towards decolonizing our institutions. I came away from the IGOV program with the language I needed to articulate Indigenous concerns. At the same time, it raised within me the urgency of learning our own languages and histories to realize a future that is informed by Indigenous philosophies.

I was working for the provincial government when I first applied to the IGOV program. I was increasingly uncomfortable with my role in government, and felt that every time I went into an Indigenous community (I worked for the Treaty Negotiations Office) that I was on the wrong side of the table. I wanted to study with other Indigenous people who felt similarly discomforted by it all and I was really drawn to the interdisciplinary approach of IGOV. There were students from across Canada that came with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. This turned out to be a learning experience that went well beyond anything I’ve ever had in an academic environment and I feel fortunate to have been a part of IGOV.


Devi Dee MucinaDevi Dee Mucina
Maseko Ngoni in Lizulu, Malawi. Born and raised in Zimbabwe.

B.A., Child and Youth Care, UVic.

Research: How the personal memories of Maseko Ngoni can be used to create resurgence and regeneration for Indigenous Bantu governance.

Currently: Ph.D. Candidate, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, Department of Sociology and Equity Studies. Research Focus: How Indigenous Ubuntu families that have been fractured and divided by colonial governance, spirituality and false boundaries can (re)-member through their storytelling.

IGOV gave me the support and confidence to do research that matters to my people without selling out. The program also taught me how to critically engage with all colonial structures while strengthening our Indigenous ways. Having been through the IGOV program I am more connected to my family and community and my activism is motivated by Indigenous ways. I was drawn to the IGOV program because it is the first program that I have encountered that is for Indigenous ways by Indigenous peoples.


Brock PitawanakwatBrock Pitawanakwat
Whitefish River First Nation (Nishnaabe)/Regina, SK

B.A., History, University of Regina

MA (IGOV) Research: Exploration of political marketing in Indigenous/State conflicts in Mexico

Ph.D. Dissertation: Anishinaabemodaa Pane Oodenang - A Qualitaative Study of Anishinaabe Language Revitalization as Self-Determination in Manitoba and Ontario

Current Work: Assistant Professor, Aboriginal Governance Program, University of Winnipeg.

I was drawn to the program because I wanted to pursue a graduate program that was rooted in Indigenous perspectives. This program encourages students to focus their graduate research on issues that have community-relevance. My work involves challenging harmful stereotypes about Indigenous peoples that persist in Canada. My ultimate goal is to contribute to Indigenous language revitalization efforts.


Lyanne Quirt
Settler Canadian from Ottawa
Hon. B. Arts. Sci, minor in math, McMaster University

Research: Universities as sites of colonization, and their potential as sites of decolonization, using UVic as a case study.

Currently: Enrolled in the midwifery program at the University of British Columbia (class of 2012). I came to IGOV because I felt it was my responsibility, as a settler, to develop an honest understanding of Canada's history. As a settler in IGOV, I realized quickly that I needed to move beyond an academic analysis of Indigenous-settler relationships, by developing an understanding of the implications of my life as a settler-Canadian. IGOV was challenging, and at times overwhelming, but the experience has changed my perspective and enabled me to begin working toward being an effective ally.


Shobha Kumari SharmaShobha Kumari Sharma
Prince George, BC, Ancestry in North India

B.A., History (focus on impact of colonization on Indigenous Peoples globally), UBC

Research/Community Governance Project: An examination of global economics as a form of imperialism and the re-definition of education in order to work towards reviving Indigenous Governance structures in Ladakh, India.

Current Employment: South Asia Program Coordinator, Free the Children/Leaders Today

Read about Shobha's work with Free the Children, featured in Parents Canada (April 2012), here.



Lindsay Sowdluapik-Lloyd                                                                                                                                          Inuit from Iqualuit, Nunavut 
B.A. Sociology, Queens University (2009)

Reasearch Interest: Impacts of colonization on forms of Inuit Governance; contemporary participation in Inuit in territorial politics; and researching strategies that will allow for the reintroduction of traditional knowledge and language into Indigenous communities.

Current employment: Instructor & Coordinator, University Studies Diploma, Nunavut Arctic College

Bringing university courses with critical Inuit content to our territory is an important way to allow Inuit to access the educational opportunities they want while being able to participate in our communities simultaneously. My experience in IGOV reinforced the need for Indigenous poeple and communities to discuss what and how they can achieve their goals in a practical and truly indigenous way. Most importantly, IGOV encouraged me to go back to my home territory to work with our people, on our land, to create the life we want.


Kari Toovey
B.A., Native American Studies, University of Lethbridge (2000).

Research: (LL.B./MAIG Concurrent program)The futility of using the Canadian legal system as a way to protect and/or regain Indigenous rights and title.

Current Employment: Policy Analyst with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

I was drawn to IGOV as a way of balancing my values with the legal education I was pursuing at the same time. IGOV gave me a forum to question the legal system in and also provided me with an opportunity to balance academia with community work. The importance of that balance has followed me in all of my work since.

Our Programs

Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance (MAIG)

The Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance (MAIG) is an interdisciplinary program focused on traditional structures and ways of governance and encompassing the values, perspectives, concepts, and principles of Indigenous political cultures. Through teaching and research that respects both western and Indigenous traditions, methods, and forms of knowledge, students are provided with a strong foundation of basic and applied scholarly research with an emphasis on the nature and context of Indigenous governance and Indigenous-State relations in Canada and internationally.

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PhD Degree by Special Arrangement

The Faculty of Graduate Studies along with the Indigenous Governance Program (IGOV) offers the selected opportunities for students to pursue a PhD degree by Special Arrangement. The Special Arrangement degree program is available for Indigenous Governance students, as the program does not currently offer a regular Ph.D. degree program. For more information about this program.

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IGOV is a part of the Faculty of Human and Social Development (HSD).

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To learn more about research in HSD, please click here.

Drum Story