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.

About

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 part of the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives (CAI), which also 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 Ciimaan/Kahuwe’yá/Qajaq, which promotes and facilitates language learning in Anishinaabemowin, Haudenosaunee Language (Oneida), and Inuktitut.

News & Announcements

Upcoming Events

Aboriginal Studies Program, University of Toronto

The Medicine Wheel represents the worldview of Anishinaabe people. As a worldview it shows how all life is connected. It begins with the four cardinal directions: north, south, east and west, which articulate the relationship of humans to earth, sky, fire and water. Anishinaabe teaching, the seven grandfather teachings, the good life teachings, the spiritual belief system and the stories are all contained in the wheel. It also represents the medical paradigm of the Anishinaabe people in which illness is viewed as an imbalance within the body in its connection to the heart, spirit and mind. More than that, the Medicine Wheel is also a methodology, a way of arriving at an understanding of a being, phenomena, or an event as it constitutes a way of tracking a being’s journey, examining its connections with other beings, determining the influences of events/others/obstacles had on its journey and charting a way to restore balance or maintain balance as the case may be. In a sense, as both a worldview, a paradigm and an analytical methodology, the wheel becomes a sphere within which all spiritual and physical life can be understood in and of itself and in relation to all other beings. Lastly, it is a means by which many people can participate in understanding, studying, or discovering life, phenomena, ceremony or experience spirit-to-spirit connection. Lee Maracle Sto:Loh Nation ABS Instructor
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