Mount Allison introduces Indigenous Studies minor, certificate programs
SACKVILLE, NB/ MI’KMA’KI — Mount Allison University has recently introduced a new degree minor, as well as certificate options, in Indigenous Studies. The new programs will be available to all students in Fall 2022.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report calls for people across Canada to further their Indigenous education and we are pleased to share this development at Mount Allison,” says Dr. Jeff Hennessy, University Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research. “Learning Indigenous studies is an important step in education and reconciliation for everyone and will serve students well in any career path and in life. I thank the faculty leaders and Indigenous community partners who have guided this process and look forward to seeing continued growth in Indigenous Studies at Mount Allison.”
The new degree minor and certificates, open to students in any program, include courses based in experiential-learning, bringing community teachings to students as part of their degree. Students will be required to complete courses in Mi’kmaw language and/or culture as part of their degree and be able to take courses about Indigenous culture, history, politics, law, and community. Current certificate options include Studies of Indigenous History and Mi’kmaq Studies.
Dr. Karl Hele, Mount Allison professor in Indigenous and Canadian studies, has helped lead the program development. Hele, a member of the Garden River First Nation of the Anishinaabeg in Ontario, joined Mount Allison in 2018. His research areas include Indigenous history, law, and politics.
“Over the course of developing the new programs, we heard from students across campus who wanted to further their education in this area,” says Hele. “The new program offerings in Indigenous Studies are a start in responding to students’ needs and interests and are grounded in Mi’kma’ki teachings.”
Mount Allison is also working to expand academic offerings in Indigenous studies — with plans to develop degree major and honours options as well as additional certificates. In 2021 the University announced the addition of two Mi’kmaq scholars — Sacha Dewolfe and Marsha Vicaire — as tenure track professors.
“The courses around Indigenous studies really speak to the interdisciplinary nature of academic programming at Mount Allison,” says Dr. Andrea Beverley, Canadian Studies program head and acting director of the University’s Centre for Canadian Studies. “With courses such as drumming, health and well-being, and beading, there are lots of opportunities to connect with community members and colleagues across campus in areas such as Music, Health Studies, and Fine Arts.”
In recent years, Mount Allison University has worked to increase its commitments to truth and reconciliation, including in its academic offerings, with courses in Indigenous history and culture. The University has partnered with local Indigenous communities on these initiatives and learns from their guidance through Mount Allison’s Indigenous Advisory Circle and Office of Indigenous Affairs. In 2020, the University entered a new partnership agreement with the Three Nations Education Group Inc. and the university research group, Research Partnerships for Education and Community Engagement (R-PEACE). The Memorandum of Understanding seeks to create a space for partners to plan, develop, and implement strategies to better support education and community-based projects for Indigenous youth from kindergarten to post-secondary across the province.
Community programming and supports for Indigenous students have also been established including the opening of Mawita’mkw, an Indigenous gathering space, a Sacred Sweat Lodge, tipi, and Indigenous Gardens on campus. The Mi’kmaw flag flies permanently on campus as do Red Dress memorials for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Additional information about the Indigenous Studies program at Mount Allison can be found at: https://mta.ca/academics/programs-and-degrees/indigenous-studies
We would like to acknowledge that we are located within the territory of Mi’kma’ki, the unceded, ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq. Our relationship and our privilege to live on this territory was agreed upon in the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1752. Because of this treaty relationship it is to be acknowledged that we are all Treaty people and have a responsibility to respect this territory.