University of Victoria

Doctoral Research

Doctoral Student Research

Pitawanakwat, Brock (Nishnaabe) Whitefish River First Nation                                                                        Anishinaabemodaa Pane Oodanang - A Qualitative Study of Anishinaabe Language Revitalization as Self-Determination in Manitoba and Ontario                                                                                                  Anishinaabeg (including Odawa, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, Saulteaux, and Chippewa) are striving to maintain and revitalize Anishinaabemowin (the Anishinaabe language) throughout their territories. This dissertation explores Anishinaabemowin revitalization to find out its participants' motivations, methods, and mobilization strategies in order to better understand how Indigenous language revitalization movements contribute to decolonization and self-determination. Interviews with Anishinaabe language activists, scholars, and teachers inform this investigation of their motivations and pedagogies for revitalizing Anishinaabemowin. A variety of language revitalization initiatives were explored including those outside the parameters of mainstream adult educational institutions, particularly evening and weekend courses, and language or culture camps. This investigation addresses the following questions: Why have Anishinaabeg attempted to maintain and revitalize Anishinaabemowin? What methods have they employed? Finally, how does this emerging language revitalization movement intersect with other efforts to decolonize their communities, restore traditional Anishinaabe governance, and secure self-determination? The study concludes that Anishinaabemowin revitalization and Anishinaabe aspirations for self-determination are interconnected and mutually-supporting goals whose realization require social movements supported by effective community-based leadership.

Regan, Paulette, Euro-Canadian ( Vancouver )
A Transformative Framework for Decolonizing Canada: A Non-Indigenous Approach
Paulette uses multidisciplinary critical theory and pedagogy to set out a transformative framework for decolonizing Indigenous-Settler relations, exploring the role of colonial myth and history in intercultural conflict resolution. Drawing on her own experience to link theory and practice, she focuses on the collective responsibility of non-indigenous people in decolonization. Paulette critiques the limitations of conservative, western-based conflict resolution models that fail to take history or Indigenous knowledge systems into account when dealing with conflicts that are rooted in legacies of colonialism that extend to present day injustices and racism. She argues that we must (re)make space for Indigenous political philosophies, law and peacemaking practices in restitution and reconciliation processes. Her study explores the use of history dialogues and public acts of truth-telling, apology, and memorialization in decolonizing and transforming Indigenous-Settler relations on a pathway to peaceful co-existence.

Paulette's first book, Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada, was published by UBC Press (2011).


Qwul'sih'yah'maht (Robina Thomas), Coast Salish (Lyackson, Valdese Island , BC )
Protecting the Sacred Cycle: Xwulmuxw Slhunlheni and Leadership

Xwulmuxw Slhunlheni (Indigenous Women) have, since time immemorial, played critical leadership roles in Indigenous communities. However, with the imposition of racist/sexist colonial policies, indigenous women's roles were systematically displaced. As a result of these policies, which formalized colonial governance systems, the vital informal leadership roles the Xwulmuxw Slhunlheni play rarely get recognized. This dissertation strives to honour (or stand up) the women in our communities who continue to embrace their important roles as givers of life and carriers of culture. Through storytelling as a methodology, new ways of Indigenous women's leadership are revealed. I interviewed thirteen women from various Hul'qumi'num communities on Vancouver Island and the Mainland, asking them to share their thoughts on leadership. What emerged from the interviews was the importance of living our cultural and traditional teachings. This central theme emphasized the importance of keeping the past, present and future connected. Every one of the women discussed the importance of our teachings and the necessity to bring those forward for the future generations. What emerged was a model that I have coined Sacred Cycle, a model that focuses on living our values. More importantly, the Sacred Cycle can be used as a valuable tool to resolve governance problems and as a tool of decolonization.


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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