University of Victoria


Jeff CorntasselJeff Corntassel

Jeff Corntassel (Cherokee Nation), received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Arizona in 1998, and is currently Director in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria. Professor Corntassel's research and teaching interests include Indigenous political movements, community resurgence, and sustainable self-determination.

In 2008 Jeff was awarded the Faculty of Human and Social Development Award for Teaching Excellence. Jeff's first book, entitled Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood (2008, University of Oklahoma Press), examines how Indigenous nations in the U.S. have mobilized politically as they encounter new threats to their governance from state policymakers. Jeff's next book is a co-edited volume (with Professor Tom Holm) entitled The Power of Peoplehood: Regenerating Indigenous Nations (Forthcoming) which brings together native scholars from Canada and U.S to discuss contemporary strategies for revitalizing Indigenous communities. Other works in progress focus on notions of sustainable self-determination, practicing insurgent education, and a comparative critique of state apologies/truth and reconciliation efforts as they impact Indigenous nations in Canada, Australia, Guatemala and Peru. Jeff's research has been published in: Alternatives, American Indian Quarterly, Global Governance, Human Rights Quarterly, Nationalism and Ethnic Studies, and Social Science Journal.

Access Jeff's recent writings and an archive of downloadable PDF versions of Jeff's academic research papers, as well as future writings on his website:

Graduate Advisor

Gerald Taiaiake Alfred is a Full Professor in IGOV and in the Department of Political Science. He specializes in studies of traditional governance, the restoration of land-based cultural practices, and decolonization strategies.He has been awarded a Canada Research Chair, a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the field of education, and the Native American Journalists Association award for best column writing.

Educated at Concordia University in Québec and Cornell University in New York, Taiaiake's writing includes scholarly articles, essays in newspapers, magazines and journals, stories, book-length research reports for First Nations and Canadian governments, as well as three published scholarly books, Wasáse: Indigenous pathways of action and freedom (University of Toronto Press, 2005), named in 2010 as one of the most influential books in Native Studies by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Associatio; Peace, Power, Righteousness (Oxford University Press, 1999/2009); and Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors (Oxford University Press, 1995).

Taiaiake's current research involves studying the effects of environmental contamination on Indigenous cultural practices, with a special focus on the Mohawk community of Akwesasne. In the context of the United States' Natural Resources Damages Assessment process, he works as a consultant with a number of Indigenous communities to assess cultural injury due to industrial and nuclear contamination of the natural environment, and to design land-based cultural restoration plans. His previous research and consulting work centered on retraditionalization, structural reform, and leadership training for First Nations governments and organizations. He also spent many a number of years as a researcher, writer, negotiator and advisor for First Nations governments in land claims and self-government processes in his own nation and in British Columbia.

Taiaiake was born in Montréal in 1964 and was raised in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. Aside from his service in the US Marine Corps as an infantryman during the 1980s, he lived in Kahnawake until 1996. He now lives on Snaka Mountain in Wsanec Nation Territory on the Saanich peninsula with his wife and three sons, who are all Laksilyu Clan of the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

You can follow Taiaiake on Twitter: @Taiaiake. Access Taiaiake's academic papers here. Recent writings and videos of speaches and interviews as well as future writings and blogs are located on his website:


WaziyatawinHeidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark
Assistant Professor, Cross-listed

Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 2008. Her doctoral research focused on Anishinaabe treaty-making with the United States and Canada and serves as the foundation for her manuscript Stealing Fire, Scattering Ashes: Anishinaabe Treaty-Relations and U.S./Canada State-Formation (In progress, University of Minnesota Press, First Peoples Series).Her primary area of research and teaching is in the field of Indigenous Comparative Politics, Native Diplomacy & Treaty and Aboriginal Rights. She is the co-author of the third edition of American Indian Politics and the American Political System (2010) with Dr. David E. Wilkins.


James Tully
Distinguished Professor

James Hamilton Tully is a founding member of the IGOV program.  He is the Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Law, Indigenous Governance and Philosophy at the University of Victoria. After completing his BA at UBC and PhD at the University of Cambridge he taught in the departments of Philosophy and Political Science at McGill University 1977-96. He was Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at UVic 1996-01. In 2001-03 he was the inaugural Henry N.R. Jackman Distinguished Professor in Philosophical Studies at the University of Toronto in the departments of Philosophy and Political Science and the Faculty of Law. In 2003 he returned to UVic.

He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Emeritus Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation. In 2010 he was awarded the Killam Prize in the Humanities for his outstanding contribution to scholarship and Canadian public life. His two-volume work, Public Philosophy in a New Key (Cambridge University Press 2008), was awarded the C.B. Macpherson Prize by the Canadian Political Science Association for the best book in political theory written in English or French in Canada 2008-10. He is consulting editor of the journals Political Theory and Global Constitutionalism, co-editor of the Clarendon Works of John Locke and former co-editor of the Cambridge Ideas in Context Series. He has published 11 authored & edited volumes and 90 chapters and articles on political theory, the history of political thought, Canadian political and legal theory and Indigenous politics.

He currently teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level on contemporary political theory, the history of political thought, Canadian political and legal theory, and Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relationships.

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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