Jan 24, 2022  
University of Alberta Calendar 2020-2021 
University of Alberta Calendar 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The Faculty of Native Studies

Our Vision

To produce a better society by educating Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to be responsible citizens through excellent community engagement, teaching and research focused on the complexity of Indigenous issues and thought.

Our Mission

To produce graduates across the university who have respect for Indigenous knowledges, who are educated about Indigenous histories and contemporary issues, and who can work collaboratively with Indigenous communities and peoples.


The Faculty of Native Studies values:

  • Our autonomy as a Faculty within the academy
  • Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches
  • The relevance of Native perspectives and Indigenous knowledge
  • The contribution of Elders to teaching, research and sense of direction
  • Our interactions and connections with Native communities
  • The promotion of Indigenous languages
  • The scholarly standards of the academy for the creation and dissemination of knowledge

History of the Faculty

Establishing an academic unit focusing on Native Studies had been discussed within the University of Alberta since 1972, when such a unit was proposed in a University Senate Committee meeting by representatives of the Indian Association of Alberta.

In 1978, 20 recommendations were made to the University Senate by its task force regarding improved service to Native people and a more coherent involvement in Native Studies. In that year, the University of Alberta GFC established a Standing Committee on Native Studies consisting of University of Alberta faculty members and students and representatives of the Native community at large.

After several years of research, discussion, and consultation with interested individuals and groups from inside and outside the University, the Committee on Native Studies opted for an ambitious program of Native Studies.

The Committee on Native Studies proposed the establishment of a School of Native Studies that would be multidisciplinary in character, instead of a small department that would confine itself to Native history, language and culture. The School would offer a wide range of courses leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native Studies, as well as minor concentrations for students in other Faculties. Faculty members and students would engage in research with special attention to language and land use. Though not parochial in its outlook on Native Studies, the Faculty would pay particular attention to Native peoples of the Canadian West and North: Indian (now usually called First Nations), Inuit and Métis.

The establishment of a School of Native Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies was approved by GFC and the Board of Governors of the University in Spring 1984. In the same year, the Universities Coordinating Council also approved the School and the degree. In 1988, the GFC and the Government of Alberta approved a program of study leading to the Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies.

With the growth in student and faculty numbers and the expansion of teaching and research came the change from School to Faculty of Native Studies in June, 2006.