Indigenous governance programs

Harvesting traditional food in Hawaii
Future IGOV students on exchange program in the Kalihi Valley on O'ahu.

The Indigenous Governance program is not available for the 2019/20 school year. Applicants seeking entrance to the program are invited to contact an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Graduate Studies about alternative academic programming.

Indigenous Governance programming is recognized worldwide for its relevance to Indigenous communities. Research and course content are informed by a deep respect for Indigenous knowledge and traditions as well as a thorough understanding of the current political realities of Indigenous communities.

Indigenous Governance follows an approach to learning that is characterized by personal dedication to Indigenous values and a commitment to community. IGOV supports the use of innovative teaching methods and aims to provide a sound and challenging educational experience. Our faculty, staff and students are held to very high standards of academic performance and ethical conduct, and our program of study integrates critical and intellectually challenging coursework, an Indigenous ethical framework for conducting research, and requires the establishment of long-term and mutually productive working relationships with Indigenous communities.

IGOV grew out of the Certificate in the Administration of Aboriginal Governments (AAG) program, which was founded in 1988 as part of the Faculty of Human and Social Development’s (HSD) School of Public Administration. The AAG curriculum was developed in partnership with communities throughout British Columbia, including Lake Babine, Ahousaht, Gitsegukla, Westbank, Haida Nation, Mount Currie, Hazelton, Shuswap, Stó:lō Nation, Songhees, Musqueam, Burrard, Cowichan, and Chemainus. IGOV was created in 1999 and was designed to focus on four key principles: 

  1. An Indigenous learning environment based on a foundation of Indigenous world views, knowledge and scholarship;
  2. Educating and training students (Indigenous and non-indigenous alike) to be transformational leaders, with a commitment to personal decolonization;
  3. Working with Indigenous communities and organizations to assist and contribute to the development of governance capacity; and,
  4. Supporting the struggle of Indigenous nations to restore their land bases and ensure respect for their inherent and treaty rights. 

IGOV’s critical and place-based pedagogies emphasize the regeneration of Indigenous forms of leadership that will assist in the resurgence of Indigenous communities. Resurgence entails reconnecting with sacred teachings that come from the land, culture and community in order to restore the health and well-being of Indigenous communities.

Indigenous Governance offers a Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance (MAIG), a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) by Special Arrangement a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Nationhood and a number of Undergraduate courses focussing on Indigenous Governance. Our programming is recognized worldwide for its accountability and relevance to Indigenous communities and our students come from Indigenous and non-indigenous communities alike. IGOV graduates are employed in academic professions, professional research and policy analysis positions, and as leaders in community and government organizations.

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. The MAIG is designed so it can be completed in one calendar year.

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. The PhD Program is available for qualified students through a Special Arrangement that students negotiate with Indigenous Governance and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.  

Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Nationhood (IN)

The IN graduate certificate is designed to allow students to explore the emerging field of Indigenous Nationhood.  It can be completed concurrently with the MAIG and PhD.

Undergraduate Courses

Indigenous Governance offers a limited number of Undergraduate courses each year.  Topics focus on a number of topics ranging from Indigenous Research Methods to Indigenous Resurgence.