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') are invited to submit proposals to the fund.

2017-18 funds

Bridging the Gap between Knowledge and Practice - Supporting UM Faculty in the Journey to Integrate Indigenous Knowledge/Methods into Teaching

Dr. Amy De Jaeger - Team Lead, Research, Evaluation and Innovation and Ms. Colleen Webb, Team Lead, Educational Development and Consultation, The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

The primary goal of this project is to empower faculty/instructors to utilize resources for integrating Indigenous perspectives into teaching and learning in ways that are respectful for all students. A Community of Practice approach will be used to foster support from, and between, Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty within the University of Manitoba. This new initiative will expand upon the existing supports offered by The Centre and promote sustained uptake of existing resources.


Supporting the medical learners through faculty development: An innovative teaching module focusing on the delivery of culturally safe, anti-racist healthcare provision in rural/remote First Nations communities

Dr. Barry Lavallee, Director, Ongomiizwin - Education, Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and Dr. Adrienne Morrow, Department of Community Health Sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

The primary objective of this project is to develop a teaching module that is built upon the principles of decolonizing anti-racist pedagogy that will prepare family medicine physician preceptors in rural/remote training sites to support medical learners in their delivery of culturally safe care when working with Indigenous patients. The eight-week training module will be developed in the Norway House training site, with the full engagement of the Norway House Cree Nation community at all stages of the curriculum development, delivery and evaluation. It is anticipated that the development and evaluation of the training module will serve as a foundation for the training of physician preceptors in other rural/remote sites and other medical specialties across Manitoba. Ultimately, the implementation of this faculty development training will provide a more comprehensive learing support system for medical students as they learn to work safely and effectively with Indigenous patients and communities.


Gaa wii ji'i diyaang: Building Capacity as we walk together, helping each other towards Indigenous Achievement at the University of Manitoba

Dr. Derek Kornelson, Assistant Professor, Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Ms. Brenda Lafreniere, Access and Aboriginal Focus Programs and Dr. Joannie Halas, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management

Gaa wii ji'i diyaang is comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty, staff and students working together and advocating for Indigenous Achievement at the University of Manitoba. With financial support from the Indigenous Initiatives Fund, Gaa wii ji'i diyaang council will develop and coordinate a two part education workshop and membership drive that will be used to expand the council's membership over the coming years. The workshops focus on "truth" (Indigenous people's history, colonization) and "reconciliation," leading to concrete action.


Indigenous Summer Student Internship Program

Ms. Darlene Smith, Director, Human Resources Client Services

The Indigenous Summer Student Internship Program was developed to help increase awareness of the wide range of meaningful employment opportunites at the University of Manitoba for our Indigenous university students and to position the U of M as a great place to work, where Indigenous students can build a career after graduation. The program provides meaningful, career specific, summer employment for our Indigenous students and also provides opportunities for connecting with the broader universirty Indigenous community.


A Purposeful Pause: Creating a Culture of Change that Promotes Indigenous Knowledge, Education and Scholarship Achievement at the College of Pharmacy

Dr. Dana Turcotte, Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy, Ms. Sarah Olson, College of Pharmacy & the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

The College of Pharmacy is embarking on a journey to pause and reflect on current Indigenous curricular content and environmental barriers in order to facilitate change towards the advancement of Indigenous achievement. The project will evaluate faculty, staff and students in the College of Pharmacy regarding the understanding, beliefs and attitudes towards Indigenous peoples through a baseline analysis of Indigenous knowledge and cultural competency. Additionally, a comprehensive review will be conducted regarding research, curriculum and course development requirements. We hope to guide future programming, curricular changes, faculty development and resource utilization integral to the advancement of Indigenous knowledge, education and scholarship within the College of Pharmacy as we move forward with further development and implementation of the PharmD program.


Indigenous Sport and Recreation Engagement Plan

Ms. Heather McRae, Community Scholar, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management and Mr. Mike Sirant, Bison Men's Hockey Coach

Over the past year, members of FKRM's Indigenous Achievement and Community Engagement (IACE) working group identified strategic priorities within Bison Sports and Active Living programming to support the long-term development of Indigenous coaches and athletes and enhance the delivery of culturally affirming and barrier-free health and wellness programming for Indigenous students, staff and community members. Over the next year, FKRM will hire an Engagement Team to conduct community consultations, pilot outreach activities and create a five-year Indigenous Sport and Wellness Strategy (ISWS).

Anticipated benefits of the ISWS include: building community capacity of Indigenous coaches and sport leaders to enhance the success of Indigenous sport teams in their community and at local and national events; supporting the ongoing efforts of local Indigenous sport organizations to increase the number of Indigenous coaches and officials in Manitoba, enhancing the academic and athletic success of Indigenous Bison athletes via a culturally affirming recruitment, retention and mentorship strategy; creating culturally affirming sport spaces, coaching and leadership practices that enhance sport experiences for all coaches and athletes; and ensuring all Indigenous students, staff and community members have equitable access to Active Living and Bison Sports programming or events either by removing barriers to existing services or providing alternate, cost-effective health and wellness service or programs.


Indigenous Business Law Resource Data Base and Fostering Links Between Robson Hall and Indigenous Business and Private Enterprise

Dr. Jared Carlberg, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences

This initiative will help improve the co-operative and experiential education opportunities available to Indigenous students in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences as well as provide leadership training and professional development for Indigenous students in our faculty. Specific components of this initiative will include an Industry Exposure, Leadership & Professional Development Program along with a Co-operative and Experiential Education Opportunities for Indigenous Students in Agricultural and Food Sciences Program.


Working in good ways: A decolonizing framework and resources for Indigenous community engagement and service-learning

Ms. Anny Chen, Mr. Gerardo Villagran and Ms. Nicki Ferland, Community Service-Learning

The decolonizing framework and resources, developed in collaboration with Indigenous community partners, Elders and university colleagues, will help service-learning practitioners and students work in better, more holistic and community-led ways with Indigenous partners - from engagement and relationship-building to program closure and evaluation. CSL is committed to using the framework and resources to decolonize their own community engagement and service-learning philosophy, practices, pedagogies and systems, and hopes that they will also be useful to other service-learning practitioners, students and Indigenous communities who want to work together in a good way.


Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre Afternoon Science Club

The College of Dentistry, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and Dr. James Gilchrist, Professor and Acting Head, Department of Oral Biology

Through the Indigenous Initiatives Fund, the BYP established established a weekly after-school science enrichment program for 16 grade 7/8 children registered with the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre. At the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, young participants engaged in a wide range of Biomedical Science hands-on activities guided by university undergrad and graduate students. Through a mechanistic vision of youth inspiring youth, we hope to nurture a curiosity about the world around us, shrink horizons and bring the future into clearer view.


Indigenous Perspectives and Values in Leadership: University of Manitoba's Indigenous Principles for Leadership Education and Development

Ms. Jade Kirstein, Student Leadership Coordinator, Student Life, Student Affairs and Dr. Justin Rasmussen, Indigenous Student Centre, Indigenous Engagement

This project will attempt to develop a list of Indigenous Leadership Principles (hereafter principles) that can be used to guide leadership development programming at the University of Manitoba. Grounding leadership development programming at the University of Manitoba in a more inclusive set of principles will promote inclusivity and benefit all participants by providing them with broader and more culturally relevant conceptions of leadership. The principles will be developed by Elders, Indigenous students, community leaders and Indigenous faculty and staff.


Inuit Education Connections Program: Building Inuit Student Recruitment and Retention Success through Mentorship and Connection to Culture

Dr. Marcia Anderson, Executive Director, Indigenous Academic Affairs, Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and Ms. Kimberly Hart, Senior Lead, Indigenous Student Affairs

In response to the under-representation of self-identified Inuit students and faculty within the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, we will implement mentorship and cultural connection workshops towards the recruitment and retention of Inuit students, in partnership with the Manitoba Inuit Association. This program aims to identify the supports necessary for Inuit students studying in Manitoba to succeed in their educational objectives, increase graduation rates for Inuit in post-secondary education and ultimately increase Inuit participation in the economy.


Building Indigenous Leadership in Northern Manitoba: A Feasability Study for a MSW-IK Cohort

The Faculty of Social Work, Marlyn Bennett, Director, MSW-IK Program and Mr. Colin Bonnycastle, Director, Northern Social Work Program (Thompson, MB)

Human service agencies across Northern Manitoba, most of which are operated by Indigenous governments, have been requesting for many years that the Faculty of Social Work offer a Master of Social Work program in the north. This project will develop a working model for the delivery of the MSW based on Indigenous Knowledges (MSW-IK) to a cohort of BSW graduates spread across multiple communities in Northern Manitoba. The plan is for students to follow a blended learning approach. As well, the study will look at the feasability of doing this in partnership with University College of the North.


Community Outreach Initiative: The Health Career Quest Summer Camp

Ms. Noreen Wichart, Associate Area Director, Instructor II, Access and Aboriginal Focus Programs, Extended Education and Mr. Wayne Heide, Lecturer, Department of Family Medicine and Administrative Director, Manitoba's Office of Rural and Northern Health

The Health Career Quest Summer Camp is a 10-day experience in Health Careers offered to Manitoba's Northern Indigenous grade 11 students. Camp participants live in residence at the Fort Garry Campus and travel to the Bannatyne Campus daily for hands-on experiences with the Biomedical Youth Camp in health career areas such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and medical rehabilitation. The camp also offers academic assessment and activities in math and sciences. An exciting and active evening/weekend program is also offered which includes life skills and recreational activities.


2016-17 funds

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.




Guidelines for the 2018-19 Indigenous Initiatives Fund.

IIF Application PDF fillable form

IIF Application Word Fillable form

The submission deadline is Monday, October 29, 2018.

Applicants who have received an IIF in the past, must complete and submit an IIF Report:

IIF Report PDF fillable form

IIF Report Word Fillable form