Aboriginal Studies at the University of Toronto
The Aboriginal Studies Program provides the opportunity for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students to learn and think about Indigenous knowledges in creative, transformative and critical ways.


What is Aboriginal Studies?

Aboriginal Studies at the University of Toronto is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program within the Faculty of Arts and Science. The program is dedicated to the scholarly study and research of the priorities and aspirations of Indigenous peoples in Canada and throughout the world. An important goal of the program is to provide an opportunity for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students to learn and think about Indigenous knowledges in creative, transformative and critical ways. The program offers courses that engender a rigorous and respectful understanding of Indigenous peoples’ languages, knowledges, cultures, histories, politics, arts, intellectual traditions, and research methodologies.  The University of Toronto’s Aboriginal Studies program has developed from a Minor designation to a degree program offering a Major and now a Specialist in Aboriginal Studies.  A key feature of our program is its respect and promotion of Indigenous knowledges, as evidenced by the commitment to Aboriginal language instruction and courses devoted to the topic of Indigenous knowledge itself.

The Aboriginal Studies Program is affiliated with the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives (CAI), which houses two key projects: Supporting Graduate Student Enhancement (SAGE UT), an initiative geared toward supporting Indigenous student success while facilitating increased presence of Aboriginal knowledge and worldviews within the University; and The Indigenous Language Initiative, which promotes and facilitates language learning in Anishinaabemowin, Haudenosaunee Language (Oneida), and Inuktitut.

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Aboriginal Studies Program, University of Toronto

The Eagle Feather design was chosen to represent balance, sharing, knowledge and vision, all of which are important values to the Aboriginal Studies Program at the University of Toronto. The arrows outward and inward represent learning and teaching that expands from the past into the present, and moves towards the future from the centre, which is a Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel represents many concepts including the four directions, seasons, the life cycle, and all nations of people. The colours white, yellow, red and black represent the unity of all nations, encouraging us to work together in kindness and respect, and to move all of life forward in a good way...
The medicine wheel represents a holistic, traditional knowledge approach to education, which is at the heart of the Aboriginal Studies Program. The seven circles represent the Seven Grandfathers teachings, Seven Generations, and also the Seven Stages of Life. The blue represents the sky realm where the Eagle travels in the four directions ensuring that Aboriginal ways of life and knowing are protected and strengthened. The Eagle exemplifies recognition for the work done by individuals, families, communities and nations with the gift of one of its feathers. To be gifted an Eagle Feather is considered the highest honour. It also represents humility and respect. The Aboriginal Studies Program at the University of Toronto is recognized for providing excellence in teaching and enabling student achievements, as well as acknowledging its responsibility to strengthen and maintain community partnerships through teaching, learning and research initiatives.

Debby Danard Wilson
Rainy River First Nations
Aboriginal Studies Alumnae and Visual Artist