College Certificates

Indigenous Studies


  • Are you interested in Indigenous Studies?
  • Are you from an Indigenous culture or do you have friends who are?
  • Are you a non-Indigenous person who wants to know more?
  • Do you want to understand Canadian society, history, geography, culture and traditions from a new perspective?
  • Do you think your future career may include work with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities?

If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes” then read on!

The Indigenous Studies Certificate at John Abbott College allows you to choose from a designated list of courses that relate to Indigenous cultures. To obtain the Certificate, which is given out at graduation, you need to pass six courses from the list and do a special project in one of those courses. The Certificate encourages a self-identified focus on Indigenous Studies but does not entail extra work on top of your DEC requirements.  It gives you a “value-added” diploma.


What are some of the topics covered?

Indigenous peoples’ perspectives on history, identity, tradition and modernity; Present day social and political realities; Colonialism; Indigenous arts: literature, theatre, music, dance, film, new media and broadcasting; Languages: threatened languages and language revival; Spirituality and indigenous world views; Impact of climate change on Indigenous territories and lifestyles; Story-telling and oral traditions; Diversity of Indigenous communities in North America and around the world.

What do we mean by Indigenous Studies?

First Nations, Métis and Inuit students are increasingly finding their place and their voice in post-secondary education. At the same time, non-Indigenous Canadians are becoming more aware of the enduring presence and contemporary realities of this country’s Indigenous peoples. The Indigenous Studies Certificate offers both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous student an excellent general-knowledge base which will focus on the history, languages, art, cultural traditions, philosophy, spirituality, as well as present-day political and social conditions of Indigenous Peoples. A thorough understanding of the values and dignity of Indigenous peoples will allow the student to better appreciate their achievements and challenges and also the important contributions they have made and continue to make in national and global contexts. Finally, the Indigenous Studies Certificate will serve as an excellent introduction for students interested in pursuing Indigenous Studies later on at the university level.

Why take the Indigenous Studies Certificate?

Long before Europeans came to Canada, Indigenous Peoples with distinct languages, customs and cultures lived on this land. We now refer to them as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. First Nations include over 50 distinct nations including Kanien’kehá:ka or Mohawk, Cree, Ojibwe, Atikamekw, Innu and others. What were their initial relations with the newcomers? What are the relations today between Canadians and Indigenous Peoples? In the history books of Canada and Quebec, these peoples were mostly invisible until very recently. Whatever visibility they were given was often based on stories drawn from folklore or myth, accentuated with a heavy Eurocentric bias. With the Indigenous Studies Certificate, we hope to bridge the gap, to raise awareness about contemporary Indigenous realities and, hopefully, to establish a favourable basis for mutual understanding and cooperation.

Who should take the Indigenous Studies Certificate?

Everyone! The Indigenous Studies Certificate will be of interest to any student who studies here at the college, whether they are Indigenous or of any other ethnic origin. In modern Quebec society, and in Canada as a whole, rapidly evolving economic, social and environmental conditions are front and centre in both the governmental and public spheres. In order to address these concerns responsibly and efficaciously, a better understanding of the past and present contributions of Indigenous Peoples is essential. The Indigenous Studies Certificate aims to provide the student with an awareness of the important role Indigenous Peoples play in the ongoing evolution of society.

How to apply

For more information, please contact the coordinator of the Indigenous Studies Certificate:
Indigenous Studies Coordinator.
(telephone) 514 457-6610, extension 5495

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