University of Victoria

Oral History Project

An Oral History of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples This research project began with funding from the UVic Learning and Teaching Centre in September 2008 and is led by a small team of IGOV faculty, staff and alumni. This oral history project will include interviewing Tseshaht First Nation attendees of the original World Council on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP), which held its inaugural meeting in Port Alberni, BC in 1975 and was a catalyst for the contemporary global Indigenous rights movement. Our overall goal is to discuss the legacy of the event (ie. what are the lessons learned, movements going beyond just a rights-based discourse) and to develop an oral history to be made accessible to Indigenous students, scholars and community members. Tseshaht youths will also be interviewed to better understand the impact that this historic event has had on future generations.


For Indigenous peoples oral histories are vital for reflecting our lived experiences, our responsibilities as individuals, and for re-establishing our governance roles within families, clans, and communities. Unfortunately, Indigenous oral histories seldom make their way into the university classroom as a central part of the curricula. This project proposes to change that by conducting an oral history of the WCIP utilizing Indigenous undergraduate and graduate researchers and then making the oral histories available (with permission from the individuals and communities involved) in a graduate research seminar: Indigenous Governance 550: Self-Determination & Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Elders, youth and other community participants will be invited to speak and participate in this class.


Additionally, youths and Elders visiting UVic will be encouraged to speak with media outlets on campus (UVic Ring etc.) to discuss the importance of their work. Their work will also be featured on the IGOV website in order to highlight the ongoing importance of oral histories. Overall, this project intends to create a space for honouring the Indigenous oral histories of the 1975 WCIP by gathering and reconnecting these histories with future generations of students seeking to regenerate their communities through language use, oral traditions, ceremonial life, and homeland ties.

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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