A Dynamic Space for Research & Teaching
CAI fosters innovative, participatory research with urban Aboriginal peoples and develops collaborations with Aboriginal communities and community organizations.

Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives

Sharing the space with the Aboriginal Studies Program, the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives (CAI) is mandated to foster innovative, participatory research with urban Aboriginal peoples and develop collaborations with Aboriginal communities and community organizations. CAI cultivates research related to Indigenous pedagogy, methodologies and epistemology that focus on Aboriginal peoples as cultural workers, social change agents, leaders and thinkers. CAI also supports the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal graduate and undergraduate students, and is working to enhance the visibility of Aboriginal peoples at the University of Toronto.

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Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives, 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