Indigenous Studies

Students, guests, and faculty at a gathering on McMaster University campus.


The Indigenous Studies department carries out a wealth of interdisciplinary research, studying a wide range of Indigenous-related topics.


Faculty and researchers study Indigenous knowledge systems and societies from within, in ways that promote the resurgence of these systems including their philosophies, epistemologies, identities, political governance, land-based practices, cultures, and languages.


The department works closely with local Indigenous community groups and leaders in mutually beneficial relationships.

Featured Research Projects

Celebrating Community Achievements

Building research capacity and institutional development within the local community of Six Nations has been essential in maintaining the Indigenous Studies Department as a distinctive place of learning.  


Faculty have benefitted from research grants including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health (IAPH) and the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO). This funding has built nationwide capacities in Indigenous research. For example, the Indigenous Knowledge Centre, located in Six Nations was established in partnership between McMaster and Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) to house sacred texts and artifacts, and it engages local community members and McMaster alumni in working with these items. This Centre also provides space and time for the Six Nations Knowledge Guardians to translate historical documents concerning ceremonies, songs and other traditions from Iroquoian languages to English. 

Research Institutes & Centres

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McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI)

MIRI fosters research excellence and best practices for all Indigenous related research across McMaster. MIRI is a trusted resource, undertaking and facilitating research initiatives with multiple partners by building upon and enhancing existing relationships between McMaster and community networks.  


Indigenous Health Learning Lodge (IHLL)

The IHLL works alongside the Faculty of Health Sciences towards creating a learning environment that is culturally safe – to work with humility to enable sustainable systems change and to advance the work around concepts of truth, reconciliation and anti-colonization with all aspects of Indigenous health and well-being.

The logo for the Feast Centre.

The Feast Centre

The Feast Centre establishes, maintains and supports Indigenous STBBI (Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections) research programs and initiatives through a national network of community and academic partners.


Research Programs

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Indigenous Undergraduate Summer Research Program - Indiginerds

Indiginerds seeks out innovative, ambitious Indigenous upper-level undergrads to experience research mentorship. The eight-week intensive program includes workshops and Indigenous knowledge sessions, while providing an opportunity for students to work on a research area of interest with a McMaster faculty supervisor as a conduit to graduate studies at McMaster. 

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta.


Ohneganos is an Indigenous water research program made up of two main projects: Co-Creation of Indigenous Water Quality Tools and Ohneganos – Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Training, and Co-Creation of Mixed-Method Tools. 

The logo for the Indigenous Health Research Development Program.

Indigenous Health Research Development Program (IHRDP)

A student-centered approach to community-based health research in Ontario. Assisting with building a career structure for students in Aboriginal health research and will focus its resources on community-driven research projects that will identify health-related issues in First Nations communities.


Affiliated Research Institutes & Centres

The logo for Communities, Alliances and Networks (CAAN).

Communities, Alliances and Networks (CAAN)

CAAN has over 2 decades of history as an incorporated non-profit organization whose mandate has evolved from a primary HIV and AIDS focus to include STBBI’s, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis, Harm Reduction, Mental Health, and Aging.

The logo for The AHA Centre.

Aboriginal HIV and AIDS Community-Based Research Collaborative Centre

The AHA Centre builds capacity in and supports culturally-responsive community-based HIV and determinants of health research through meaningful engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples living with HIV, communities, researchers and policy makers while utilizing knowledge translation to inform evidence-driven action.

The underside of a traditionally crafted hand drum being held by its drummer.

Indigenous Cognition & Aging Awareness Research Exchange

A network of researchers promoting cognitive health in Indigenous populations.