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Indigenous Student Support Centre

Students at the centre

Students and Staff at the Centre

Navigating through your University experience can be overwhelming at times. The ISSC is here to help you succeed by being available to provide that extra support you may need.

Who Do We Support:

On-campus and distance Indigenous students enrolled in HSD schools:

  • Nursing
  • Public Administration
  • Child and Youth Care
  • Social Work
  • Health Information Science
  • Public Health and Social Policy
  • Indigenous Governance

What We Can Do For You

  • Provide cultural, emotional, and academic support
  • Access to resources
  • Quiet study space with tea and snacks
  • Talking circles
  • Connection to elders
  • Events for Indigenous students to connect and unwind

For General inquiries please contact us by phone 250-721-6005, by email, or drop by the centre any time from Monday through Friday 8:30am-4:30 pm. We hope to hear from you soon! 

Indigenous Advisor

Our Indigenous Advisor Shauna Underwood is Coast Salish from the Tsawout First Nation in WSÁNEĆ and the Samish Tribe in Washington, with roots in the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho. As a recent graduate of HSD’s Child and Youth Care program, Shauna understands student needs and concerns. She is available for a wide variety of support including assisting with academic issues by acting as a liaison with HSD schools, connecting students with internal and external resources, as well as emotional and cultural support. Whether you are in need of academic support, need to debrief about a class, or simply feel like a cup of tea, Shauna is here for you.  

Connect with Shauna by email (, phone (250-472-5431), or drop by the Centre anytime. We are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday and are located in the HSD Building, Room B211.

Distance Students

Our services are available to you at a distance. We can support you in ways such as connecting you with elders and tutors.

Check out our welcome video:

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Shauna Underwood, Indigenous Advisor

Shauna Underwood

Hello, my name is Shauna Underwood.  I am Coast Salish from the Tsawout Band in Wsanec.  I am also a member of the Samish Tribe in Washington and have roots from the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho.  I have one daughter and three sons.  I am a traditional person who values my culture.  I practise my Coast Salish and Nez Perce culture every day and believe this has helped me succeed throughout my educational journey.

My educational journey that brought me to where I am today started with enrolling in the First Nation’s Family Support Worker Program at Camosun College.  I wanted to make a difference in the lives of Indigenous people.  During that program I realized that I wanted to continue my education and took the Community, Family, and Child Studies diploma program which brought me to into Child and Youth Care.  In 2013, I received my degree in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria which a specialization in child protection.

Currently, I am the Indigenous Advisor for the Faculty of Human and Social Development (HSD).  I provide academic advising and emotional support to the Indigenous students in HSD.  Often in my role I have advocated for students in need of assistance within the school there are attending.  I will be collaborating with the Office of Indigenous Affairs to improve support services to Indigenous students.  Navigating through the University can be overwhelming at times and I would like to help students succeed by being available to provide that extra support they may need.  My office is located at HSD Room B211, phone number is 250-472-5431.  I work Monday through Friday from 8:30-4:30.  My email address is Huychq’u.

Dr. Jeannine Carriere, Faculty Lead

Jeannine Carriere

Dr. Jeannine Carriere is currently the faculty lead for the ISSC. She is Metis originally from the Red River area of southern Manitoba. Jeannine has also lived and worked in Alberta for the last 25 years, focusing her career in Indigenous child and family services and teaching in the Access BSW program which focused on rural remote and Indigenous communities. Her current doctoral research focuses on the correlation between health and adoption for First Nation people. Her teaching experience is in areas such as Indigenous child and family services and other Indigenous content courses. Her research interests include Indigenous child and family practice and policy, Indigenous ways of knowing, mental health and decolonization for Indigenous people. Dr. Carriere is past director of Native Student Services at the University of Alberta. This experienced coupled with her research and interests in Indigenous education provide Jeannine with the knowledge required to oversee the ongoing development of the ISSC.

Alana Sayers, Administrative Assistant

Alana Sayers

I am from the Hupacasath and Kipohtakaw First Nations. I am starting my Masters in English literature in the fall of 2015 here at the University of Victoria. I am a writer and have research interests on how literature contributes to colonialism as well as functions as acts of indigenous resurgence. I am excited to be a part of the ISSC team and remain part of the Indigenous community here on campus! Come by and see us.


UVic is committed to having Indigenous educators in all faculties. There are faculty members at the university from many nations including the Coast Salish, Cherokee, Mohawk, Metis, Ojibway, Dakota, Haisla, Cree and Lil'wat.

Indigenous faculty members in the Faculty of Human and Social Development:

Taiake Alfred
Taiaiake Alfred is Mohawk from the community of Kahnawá:ke. Taiaiake is the Graduate Advisor in the Indigenous Governance program.

Cheryl Aro
Cheryl Aro is a Gitksan woman from the Gutginuxw House and the Fireweed Clan. She's a sessional instructor and Indigenous field education coordinator (part-time) in the School of Social Work.

Jeannine Carriere
Sohki Aski Esquao (Jeannine Carriere) is Metis, originally from the Red River area of southern Manitoba. She's an associate professor with the School of Social Work.

Jeff Corntassel
Jeff Corntassel is Tsalagi (Cherokee Nation). He's an associate professor and Director in the Indigenous Governance program.

Sandrina de Finney
Sandrina de Finney (Malisweet) is an assistant professor in the School of Child and Youth Care.

Kundoqk (Jacquie Green) is from the Haisla Nation and is the director of and associate professor with the School of Social Work.

Shanne McCaffrey is Cree/Metis with ancestry in the Batoche-Beardys Okamasis area of central Saskatchewan. She's a senior instructor in the School of Child and Youth Care.

Charlotte Reading
Charlotte Loppie is Metis from Nova Scotia. She's an associate professor in the School of Public Health and Social Policy and a researcher with UVic's Centre for Aboriginal Health Research.

Qwul'sih'yah' 'maht (Robina Thomas) is Lyackson of the Hul'qumi'num speaking people of Vancouver Island. Robina is the director of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement and associate professor in the School of Social Work.


Indigenous Counselling Office

Indigenous Counsellors:

Sylvie Cottell


Hello, my name is Sylvie Cottell. I am a Métis Registered Clinical Counsellor and have been a visitor on Coast and Straits Salish territory for my whole life. My role at UVic is to support Indigenous students to be successful in their studies by providing confidential individual and group counselling support. I work with students from a wide diversity of Indigenous backgrounds who are experiencing a variety of personal concerns.

Email her at to book an appointment or please call 250-721-8341

Office of Indigenous Affairs

The Office of Indigenous Affairs is here to support the success of Indigenous students attending UVic. Before, during and after your time at UVic, we're here to connect you with you with educational, financial, and cultural resources on campus and in local communities. We encourage you to explore services available to you, such as Indigenous counselling services and the Elders' Voices Program, as well as non-academic programs that may be of interest to you.

For more information contact Crystal Seibold by email or phone 250-853-3599

Native Students Union

The UVic Native Students Union is a student-run collective dedicated to supporting the Indigenous student community at the University of Victoria.The NSU has two rooms on campus. In the basement of the Student Union Building (room B023) is our main NSU room, where we have four computers and a printer, a kitchen stocked with snacks, couches for lounging, a mini-library, and lots of friendly faces. In the First Peoples House we also have a small office/student study space. The NSU also offers various events throughout the year, including movie nights, workshops, lectures and feasts.


"The social work program at UVic is so enlightened. Obviously a lot of hard work has gone on at UVic regarding Indigenous issues. They had the foresight to see the need to have this social work program, unique to Western Canada. They have instructors from all over the country, including other programs that influence social work. There’s a recognition of the value of Indigenous cultures being so varied and unique and diversified, a richness of the program." -- Delland (Del) Majore, Métis

Diploma in Child and Youth Care in Indigenous Communities (online)

Diploma in Child and Youth Care in Indigenous Communities (online)

This program is offered through the School of Child and Youth Care and combines community-based, culturally sensitive course work that focuses on the child and youth care needs of Indigenous communities. Please contact the School of Child and Youth Care for details.

Indigenous specialization (School of Social Work)

Indigenous specialization (School of Social Work)

Indigenous students completing a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree may choose this specialization to focus on preparing for leadership roles as helpers and healers in Indigenous communities and organizations. Students will develop frameworks that centralize Indigenous knowledge, peoples, nations and communities.

Indigenous child welfare specialization (School of Social Work)

Indigenous child welfare specialization (School of Social Work)

This specialization focuses on the well being of Indigenous children, families and communities.

Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance

Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance

The Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance (MAIG) provides students with a strong background in the values, perspectives, concepts and principles of Indigenous political cultures. As more communities reject the models of government imposed on them and return to their traditions, Indigenous leaders and state policy makers will benefit from an understanding of traditional thought and its application to contemporary concerns.

Master of Social Work - Indigenous specialization

Master of Social Work - Indigenous specialization

The School of Social Work has a new Master of Social Work (MSW) program with an Indigenous specialization. This specialized program is designed to meet all regular MSW degree program requirements while centering Indigenous culture, knowledge and understanding.

Nursing program (School of Nursing)

Nursing program (School of Nursing)

There is a growing need for Indigenous nurses in Canada and internationally. Nursing offers a variety of opportunities for continued learning and career development, and is flexible to many lifestyles. Nursing incorporates the traditional beliefs and values of caring for community members and healing.

& the

Community involvement

Community involvement

Indigenous programming and research within Human and Social Development is recognized for its relevance to Indigenous communities. All of our research and Indigenous community partnerships are informed by a deep respect for Indigenous knowledge and traditions.

Some examples of Indigenous community projects our faculty and students are involved with:

Practicum placements

Practicum placements

Some of our programs (nursing, social work, and child and youth care) include a mandatory practicum, which is a directed work experience in your field of study.

Practicum experience gives you the opportunity to put theory into practice. You'll get a sense of the real-world responsibilities you'll face after graduation, and find the perfect niche within your field.

Practica coordinators often link students with practice experience that relates to their academic degrees as well as their Indigenous heritage.

Co-operative education

Co-operative education

Students in the Schools of Public Administration and Health Information Science participate in an integrated co-op component.

Co-op offers many culturally relevant work opportunities, and co-op employers include Indigenous communities and organizations. Co-op often links students with work experience that relates to their academic degrees as well as their Indigenous heritage. Learn more about co-op for Indigenous students.


Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees

You can expect to spend around $15,245 on tuition, fees, supplies, and living expenses for a typical workload of 15 units of coursework over eight months. You'll need additional funds for travel, recreation, and clothing.

Check the registrar's site for a breakdown of these costs and information about tuition fees.

Awards and bursaries

Awards and bursaries

LE,NOṈET bursaries

LE,NOṈET bursaries

Bursaries of up to $2,000 are available to eligible undergraduate Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Metis) students. To apply, please call Student Awards and Financial Aid at 250-721-8423, email or visit their website

In addition to the general entrance and in-course scholarships, there are more than 40 different awards and bursaries for Indigenous students. Students who demonstrate reasonable academic standing and financial need can also apply for one many entrance bursaries and non-repayable awards. UVic's work study program offers on-campus part-time paid jobs to students in financial need.

Funding and sponsorships

Funding and sponsorships

If you're a sponsored Indigenous student, you should report the name and address of your sponsor to the Office of Indigenous Affairs. They'll provide the sponsor with appeal materials or course information on your behalf.

If you're fully funded by an Indigenous organization you're still eligible to apply for a student loan. BC residents can apply to the British Columbia Student Assistance Program. Applications are available in April-May of each year.

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