Indigenous Initiatives Fund

The University of Manitoba created the Indigenous Initiatives Fund to support unit-based projects that further the University's goals and priorities associated with Indigenous achievement as stated in Taking Our Place, the U of M's Strategic Plan, 2015-2020. Faculties, schools, colleges, libraries and administrative units ('units') were invited to submit proposals to the fund in the fall of 2016. The following 22 projects were approved for funding and announced in January, 2017:

A Collaboratory Indigenous Curriculum and Teaching Practice in Western Canadian Universities
Dr. Lori Wilkinson and Dr. Amy De Jaeger, Faculty of Arts
Canadian research primarily focuses factors that explain Indigenous students' success or their failures in university. This type of research does little to inform processes for Indigenizing the university curriculum. This project will create a collaboratory of experts from across Western Canada to act as a resource and start a meaningful conversation and sharing of best practices in Indigenizing university curricula with the hope of establishing a more holistic and welcoming university for all students.

Starting the Discussion - Faculty Development and Indigenous Knowledges at the University of Manitoba
Ms. Colleen Webb and Dr. Amy De Jaeger, Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
Allowing Indigenous students to explore and affirm aspects of their identity while engaging with course material promotes a deeper understanding of course content and leads to academic success. Few resources are available to guide faculty interest in integrating Indigenous knowledges into teaching in a relevant way. The goal of this project is to develop a series of resources that will help faculty integrate Indigenous perspectives into their courses in a culturally sensitive and relevant way.

Indigenous Recruitment, Selection and Retention Strategy Designed to Increase the Representation of Indigenous Faculty and Staff at the University of Manitoba

Mr. Mark O'Riley, Ms. Valerie Williams and Ms. Darlene Smith, Human Resources
This project will analyze historical recruitment data in order to enhance the U of M's ability to attract, hire and retain Indigenous employees and to identify any potential barriers. Based on the data analysis and feedback, we will work towards a comprehensive recruitment, selection and retention strategy and create a framework for how we engage Indigenous communities, attract more Indigenous applicants and increase our hiring and retention rates. We will also develop an Indigenous Staff Mentorship Program.


Developing a Framework for Community-Based Indigenous Programs

Dr. Charlotte Enns and Dr. Melanie Janzen, Faculty of Education
The TRC has declared that education is the key to reconciliation. The Commissioners have called on us to better prepare Indigenous educators and educators working with Indigenous students. With the help of Indigenous communities and teachers, the Faculty of Education will meet this challenge by creating a framework to infuse all of our professional development and graduate programs with Indigenous perspectives and practices, enabling us to better serve educators and students alike.

Indigenous-Centred Business Planning Competition
Dr. Michael Benarroch, Asper School of Business
Case competitions are a regular experiential learning component for many business students. Universities host competitions with themes such as sustainability, innovation, globalization, finance, non-profit and other areas. No competitions emphasize Indigenous business issues, which are becoming increasingly important as the Indigenous population grows. In March 2018, the Asper School of Business, in partnership with Aboriginal Business Education Partners (ABEP), will host an Indigenous-focused business competition. This pilot project will expose Indigenous high school students and Asper faculty and students to Indigenous business issues.


A Collaborative Learning Network for First Nation Land Use Planning
Dr. Janice Barry, Faculty of Architecture
This project builds on over five years of service-learning partnerships between several Manitoba First Nations, City Planning faculty and students. Students involved in this work have prepared land use planning case studies and factsheets that could be used by other Indigenous groups. This work will now be curated into an online resource. Funding received from the Indigenous Initiative Fund will also expand the geographic scope of this collaborative learning network by supporting a partnership with a northern First Nation.

Indigenous Designer-in-Residence Program
Mr. Daniel S. McCafferty, School of Art
The School of Art will offer a six-month position for an Indigenous Designer in Residence. Our residency will emphasize a multi-layered exchange of culture, ideas, creative practices and knowledge on campus, in the Winnipeg arts community, and amongst Manitoba indigenous communities. The Designer in Residence will work and interact closely with students and faculty as she/he works in their capacity as an active and engaged interdisciplinary designer. The resident will produce a body of new creative work and research that extends our relationship to, and understanding of, design and visual communication.


The Road to Reconciliation: Indigenous Re-imaginings of Sport, Recreation, and Land-Based Learning
Dr. Doug Brown, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management
The TRC Report includes five Calls to Action that identify sport as a cultural practice that can potentially foster reconciliation.  A three-day event is planned to initiate a conversation with Community Elders, Indigenous and non-Indigenous sport leaders, policy makers, academics and students.  We aim to share knowledge and experiences about sport within the Residential School System and honour the resilience and strength of survivors.  We will examine the Calls to Action in relationship to existing sport policies and practices, sport organizations and community stakeholders.  Our aim is to develop recommendations that will link the TRC’s Calls to Action with policies and actions in the areas of sport, recreation and land-based education.


Proposal from the Section of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Health

Dr. Marcia Anderson DeCoteau and Ms. Debra Beach Ducharme, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
The Indigenous Initiatives Fund will build on the past and current initiatives to recruit and retain Indigenous health professional learners and to better equip all health care providers to respond to pimatisiwin for Indigenous peoples. Four identified priorities will assist in the development of policies/practices of a sustainable program for both Indigenous learners and other health professionals preparing to work in communities with high Indigenous populations. These priorities will be addressed thorough community engagement strategies planned for 2017-2018.  They are: Honoring Traditional Knowledge Systems and Practices; Developing Longitudinal Health-career Based Math and Science Curriculum; Community-informed re-examination of FHS Admissions Policies and Processes; and Urban Indigenous Health Research Pathways.

The Decolonizing Lens and Film Discussion Series
Jocelyn Thorpe, Faculty of Arts, and Kaila Johnston, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
The Decolonizing Lens is a monthly film and discussion series that features the work and words of Indigenous filmmakers living in Winnipeg and beyond. Each month, different filmmakers screen their work, once during the day on the Fort Garry campus and once in the evening downtown. Following the screenings, the filmmakers discuss with audiences the films and the filmmakers’ creation processes. All Decolonizing Lens events are free and open to everyone.

For more information, please see:

Nihtâmâmawâyâwin (“being together”) Nanda-gikendan ("seek to learn")

Dr. Eveline Milliken, Yvonne Pompana and Debra Diubaldo, Faculty of Social Work
In shaping, describing, and evaluating a model based on Indigenous frameworks, values and knowledges we will: 1) create a community-based holistic student selection process, which honours those who apply; 2) identify support strategies for applicants in our selection process that can be adapted and implemented in other settings; and 3) create an orientation process which helps those students admitted to university to build in strategies for success, support and balance throughout their university studies.

Indigenous Youth Initiative for Training in Water and Wastewater Management

Dr. Qiuyan Yuan, Faculty of Engineering
This initiative is a collaboration between the U of M and the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute to develop a pilot project that aims to inspire Indigenous youth from First Nations communities in Manitoba to take action in the pursuit of a career in the Water and Wastewater Industry. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to develop an Indigenous Water and Wastewater Training program that will address the critical need for Indigenous people to be trained to manage their water and wastewater systems.

Ceremonial Structures

Ms. Christine Cyr, Indigenous Student Centre
A Sweatlodge is a sacred and traditional ceremony that has been used for thousands of years to bring physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. It is a place for people to be reconnected to the earth and themselves. Teepees are used as teaching tools, as community-building activities (as in setting up the teepee), and as a gathering space for sacred fires and full moon ceremonies (among other activities). ISC will put up a new Sweatlodge and a new teepee at the Fort Garry campus and will offer ceremonies to students and the university community throughout the year.

College of Rehabilitation Sciences: Developing Meaningful Relations Between CoRS and Currently Underserved First Nations Communities in Manitoba - A Demonstration Project
Dr. Reg Urbanowski, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

The College of Rehabilitation Sciences DEMONSTRATION project creates relationships with First Nation communities in Manitoba where there is no presence of occupational, physical or respiratory therapy.  The project will:

  1. Develop faculty liaisons with each community;
  2. Develop experiential and online learning opportunities for Gr 6-12 students interested in learning more about the therapy programs offered at the College;
  3. Develop a clinical services model where appropriate;
  4. Develop fieldwork/ clinical placements.


Faculty of Science Workshop Series
Dr. David Herbert, Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science is hosting a series of events for faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the Indigenous community in Manitoba, built around two key foundational areas: (1) Community Building and (2) Resource Building.


Details of the events are available on the FoS website.

Indigenous Land-Based Learning Proposal
Ms. Leanne Shewchuk and Ms. Tamara Thomson, Office of Sustainability

In keeping with the University’s Sustainability Strategy 2016-2018, the Office of Sustainability will be undertaking a Vegetation and Biodiversity Assessment of campus lands in the Spring 2017. A key component of this study will be to incorporate Indigenous knowledge through consultations with community members, Elders, traditional knowledge holders and land-based expert(s). With the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into the assessment, pathways to further understanding of Indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditions with the broader University community will be identified.

A new course in Indigenous Peoples, Oral History, and the Law
Dr. Bryan Schwartz, Robson Hall Faculty of Law
The Faculty of law will establish a new course in Oral History, Indigenous People and the Law. Resources will be used to prepare course materials, build the library collection, and obtain expert assistance in researching course content and delivering it, including building relationships with members of Indigenous communities.


Development of AGRI 3030 Indigenous Issues in Food and Agriculture and Related Learning Tools/Course Modules


Dr. Jared Carlberg, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences
The dual objectives of the project are to (1) develop a new course focusing on Indigenous issues in Agriculture and Food, and (2) create a set of learning tools/course modules to help Indigenize the curriculum in Agricultural and Food Sciences. A majority of these tools/modules will be used in the new course, but there will be opportunities for synergies in developing materials for courses in our specific Agricultural and Food Sciences disciplines (Agribusiness, Human Nutritional Sciences, Agronomy, Animal Systems, Food Science, etc.).

Catholicism and Indigenous Communities: Dialogues, Languages and Reconciliations

Dr. Daniel MacLeod, St. Paul's College
The project “Catholicism and Indigenous Communities: Dialogues, Languages and Reconciliations” is formed in two parts. The first includes offering a course on interactions between Catholicism and Indigenous Peoples in the global community, as well as consultation by the course instructor regarding Indigenous content in Catholic Studies’ introductory course. The second part involves hosting two public lectures and housing an exhibition of Indigenous language texts and artifacts associated with early Jesuit missions in Canada, including grammars and dictionaries, from Archive of the Jesuits in Canada in Montreal.

Métis Inclusion

Ms. Christine Cyr, Indigenous Student Centre
The goal of this project is to increase the level of knowledge, connection, pride and success for Métis students and to increase awareness and understanding of the uniqueness and importance of Métis cultures for the entire U of M community. A part-time coordinator will be hired to work on the enhancement, creation, and delivery of activities and events that would focus on the support and celebration of Métis students.


Department of Psychiatry: Training for Naugaat - Learning from Naujaat

Dr. Polina Anang, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
This project will bring Mrs. Elizabeth Haqpi, a respected Naujaat Elder, who has over 30 years of experience working as Interpreter at the Naujaat Health Centre, to Winnipeg to receive training in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. In exchange, Mrs. Haqpi will teach learners and staff members at the Department of Psychiatry about Inuit way of life, personal narratives and resilience in a remote isolated community of Naujaat, Nunavut.

Campus Bike Kiosk and Indigenous Design

Ms. Rejeanne Dupuis, Campus Planning Office
The campus bike kiosk is a retrofitted shipping container facility at the Fort Garry campus. It will be a hub for bicycle repair, education, and social gathering, emphasizing sustainable and active transportation. So far, the project has progressed under the guidance of the University’s Indigenous Planning and Design Principles. The Indigenous Initiatives Fund will enable the Indigenous design of this project to continue through artistic and language elements, contributing to the Indigenization of the campus environment through unique cultural placemaking.




Proposals from faculty and staff are now being accepted for the 2017/18 Indigenous Achievement Initiatives Fund.

Guildlines can be found here.

The submission deadline is Monday, October 30, 2017.

pdf fillable form   Word fillable form