Jointly offered by the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) and Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS), the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Nation-Building provides students with an in-depth understanding of the traditional and modern governance approaches Indigenous nations are taking as they assert self-determination and self-governance. The impact of Canadian settler colonialism on Indigenous nationhood and how Indigenous peoples have resisted will also be examined.
The program addresses three overarching questions:
- What is governance from an Indigenous perspective?
- Why is Canadian society—which includes both settler and Indigenous peoples—in this contemporary situation of settler-colonial inequity?
- How do students work with Indigenous communities to understand their particular nation and circumstance and assist with moving forward from this contemporary situation of settler-colonial inequity?
This certificate program will help you strengthen your knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of policy development and implementation, governance, and self-determination within Indigenous governments and communities. Specifically, you will be encouraged and trained to listen to and learn from a nation’s culture, language, history, and the Old Ones, Elders, or Knowledge Keepers/Guardians who guide the community. You will also learn how to facilitate or help implement the specific concepts and approaches to self-determination informed by a nation.
Connect with Us
Want to learn more about our graduate certificate programs? Chat with our admissions staff and ask any questions you may have.
The Indigenous Nation-Building certificate is designed to meet the needs of Indigenous leaders and practicing public administrators, policy analysts, and non-profit administrators who wish to enhance their conceptual and technical skills in the fields of public administration or public policy, as related to Indigenous peoples and communities. It also prepares graduate students to be managers, leaders and innovators in First Nations, Métis and Inuit governments and other organizations that work with Indigenous governments, with a particular focus on Saskatchewan Indigenous nations and communities. This includes those who wish to increase their skills in the increasingly competitive fields of Indigenous government, Indigenous governance, Indigenous nation-building, and policy and program development related to Indigenous peoples.
|Program Type||Certificate Program|
|Program Length||1 year|
|Start Date||Entry is possible in any semester (September/Fall, January/Winter, and May/Spring).|
Domestic Students: May 1 (for September entry), October 1 (for January entry), February 1 (for May entry)
*International Students: May 1 (for September entry), October 1 (for January entry), February 1 (for May entry)
*JSGS does not recommend graduate certificate programs to international students due to complications with maintaining registration across terms and course offerings per term that may affect full-time student status.
|Tuition||Effective September 1, 2023, the tuition rate per three-credit-unit course for domestic students is approximately $1,598 and $2,492 for international students. Students are also required to pay on-campus graduate student fees.|
|JSGS Scholarship Funding||None|
|English Language Requirements||Proof of language proficiency is required.|
|Location/Course Delivery Mode||Online + in-person 3-day residency|
|Potential Career Paths||Band Administrator, Band Councillor, Program Manager, Policy Advisor, Policy Analyst, Director|
Core Learning Outcomes
During the course of the Indigenous Nation-Building Certificate, you will gain knowledge and insight into three core themes: Decolonization, Indigenization, and Reconciliation.
During the program, you will gain insight on:
- How concepts and applications of governance differ between Indigenous nations and the Canadian state.
- The colonial, neo-colonial, and decolonial aspects of contemporary Canadian policy and public administration.
- The impact of colonization and patriarchy on Indigenous nationhood and membership.
- How the Canadian state, past and present, attempts and succeeds at eroding Indigenous nationhood.
From the teachings, you will be able to analyze, through an investigation of the formation of the Canadian nation-state, the legitimacy of the Canadian state. You will also be able to demonstrate how Indigenous nations, past and present, resist Canadian settler colonialism through self-determination and the rebuilding of nationhood.
During the program, students will gain insight on:
- The premise and implications of honourable Treaty governance and Treaty federalism in Canada.
- Various forms of Indigenous leadership within different community structures while simultaneously recognizing the diversity of Indigenous nations.
From the teachings, you will be able to critically analyze and articulate how Indigenous nations define self-determination and whether these can or cannot exist alongside the Canadian state, making specific conceptualizations of knowledge (such as, but limited to, those nations in Saskatchewan: Dene, nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda, Métis, and Michif ). You will also be able to assess potential benefits, costs, and ethical considerations of various approaches to community and economic development in Indigenous communities, and develop the tools and techniques required to contribute to nation-building based on a particular nation or community's needs.
During the program, students will gain insight on:
- How to bridge Indigenous knowledge with settler-based policy approaches, including public policy development, program evolution, and legislation, to support Indigenous nationhood.
- The history of Indigenous Peoples' rights movements in Canada, as they pertain to the Treaties, the Constitution Act, 1982 s.35, and the ongoing and emerging rights discourse in the Canadian courts.
From the teachings, you will be able to draw parallels between Indigenous Peoples' rights in Canada and rights recognized in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). You will also be able to constructively and respectfully communicate complex issues around colonization and Indigenous governance with diverse audiences.
Upon successfully completing your Indigenous Nation-Building Certificate, we encourage you to speak with an academic advisor to explore the option of applying your courses to a full master's degree at JSGS.
Certificate students are required to complete 9 credit units, consisting of one core course (3 credit units) and two elective courses (6 credit units).
All students must complete the following two courses (3 credit units each):
Indigenous peoples' governance frameworks, while diverse, are intrinsically informed by Indigenous worldviews. This course explores settler-colonial Canada’s attempts to eradicate Indigenous nationhood and the Indigenous peoples’ resistance to these attempts through the continued practice of governance. In particular, Indigenous worldviews will be presupposed to transform colonial inequity in contemporary Indigenous/Canadian governing relationships.
This course develops a structure by which the connection between the traditional and contemporary forms of governance can decolonize and mitigate colonial inequity in settler-colonial Canada. Among the questions considered are: How is decision-making informed by traditional approaches to Indigenous governance? What impact does settler colonialism have on political, social, and economic institutions and developments in Indigenous communities? What role can governance have on economic performance? How can Indigenous self-governance transform settler-colonial inequity?
All students must complete one elective (3 credit units) from the following:
There is growing attention being given to executive leadership, applied ethics and efforts to create and sustain trust within and through the profession of public administration. This course descriptively and critically examines these three key concepts in relation to the professional public servant and the environments of public sector decision and policy making.
This course provides students with the opportunity to learn and practice inquiry processes for conducting qualitative research. Students will examine the following topics: issues in qualitative data (ontology, epistemology, methodology and method), collection of qualitative data (e.g., interviewing, ethnography, focus groups, case studies), analysis of data, and combining qualitative and quantitative data.
This course begins with the historic framework for contemporary public policy established by treaties, reserves and legislation. Then it examines contemporary developments, including constitutional negotiations, influential court cases, urbanization, comprehensive claims and self-government implementation. This course is intended to provide a basis for critically assessing political and administrative decision-making and policy outcomes.
This course will explore critical nation-building issues confronting Indigenous peoples. While during the course, comparisons can be made to relevant international cases—the primary focus will be on Indigenous nation-building in Canada. The course will examine multi-dimensional settings that confront Indigenous peoples in their pursuit of social, cultural, political, educational, and economic development. It will provide in-depth, hands-on exposure to issues related to nation-building, including sovereignty, territorial integrity and expansion, economic development, constitutional reform, leadership, governance, national identity and epistemic authority, as well as institutional building and cultural match.
This course explores a range of Aboriginal conceptual foundations of Aboriginal Self-Determination and examines the emerging application of "Mitho Pimachesowin" in Aboriginal development. Historically, the Aboriginal "Way of Life" had spiritual roots and encompassed all of life, and this holistic perspective continues to influence modern developments in varying degrees. This class will introduce students to the Cree concept of Mitho Pimachesowin (ability to make a good living) and will also explore the related elements of autonomy, kinship, work ethic, respect, responsibility and resilience as they apply to contemporary initiatives in Aboriginal Self-Determination.
All students must also complete the following additional non-credit course:
This pass/fail course is designed to provide students with an opportunity and forum for dialogue, knowledge sharing, and networking. The course provides students with an introduction to the MPA competencies and an introduction to Indigenous nation-building and its importance to contemporary Canada. The course also introduces students to the tools that are used to engage in and support Indigenous nation-building. The residency will use cases to illustrate concepts and will be informed by Old Ones, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers/Guardians who will help shape the content and, where appropriate, assist with delivery.
Effective September 1, 2023, the tuition rate per three-credit-unit course for domestic students is approximately $1,598 and $2,492 for international students. Students are also required to pay on-campus graduate student fees.
If you are offered admission into the Indigenous Nation-Building Graduate Certificate program, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $1,000 CAD is required to save your seat. You have 30 days from the date of the offer of admission being made to accept. If you enroll in the program consistent with the terms of the offer, the $1,000 deposit will be applied to your student account. If you do not enroll, the deposit is retained by JSGS.
NOTE: Tuition and fees are subject to change. Should there be a discrepancy between the information posted on the institution's website and information posted on the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy website, the institution's website should be viewed as accurate.
Admissions and Deadlines
Applications to Graduate Certificate programs are accepted on an ongoing basis and are reviewed in the order in which they are completed. Therefore, it is to your advantage to submit a completed application as early as possible, as enrollment is limited. The admission process is competitive and late application submissions may be at a disadvantage.
Entry is possible in any semester (September/Fall, January/Winter, and May/Spring).
|Program Entry||Latest Application Deadline for International Students*||Latest Application Deadline for Domestic Students|
|September/Fall||May 1||May 1|
|January/Winter||October 1||October 1|
|May/Spring||February 1||February 1|
To meet these deadlines, ALL components of your application must be received by the dates above. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed nor will they be deferred to future terms.
* JSGS does not recommend graduate certificate programs to international students due to complications with maintaining registration across terms and course offerings per term that may affect full-time student status.
Please ensure that you meet the entrance requirements of either the University of Regina Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research or the University of Saskatchewan College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (depending on your choice of campus).
|University of Regina||
Standard Admission Option - Applicants interested in this program must have completed a four-year undergraduate degree from a recognized university, with a minimum overall GPA of 70 percent in the final two years. Proof of English proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English.
Mid-Career Admission Option - There is also a mid-career option for admission, through which prospective students with at least five years of government or non-profit organization management experience may be admitted without an undergraduate degree. Proof of English proficiency is required.
|University of Saskatchewan||
Standard Admission Option - Applicants must have completed a four-year undergraduate degree from a recognized university. A cumulative weighted average of at least 70 percent must be maintained during the final two years (60 credit units). Proof of English proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English.
Mid-Career Admission Option - Applicants who do not meet the standard admission requirements can apply using the non‐standard application process. In this case, applicants must have completed at least one year (18 CUs) of higher education, taken a minimum five-year break from formal higher education, and possess a minimum of ten years of work experience with at least five years of management experience.
NOTICE: JSGS does not recommend graduate certificate programs to international students for the following reasons:
- The certificates are only 3 courses (9 credit units) in length, and to be considered a full-time student, you must register in 6 credit units (2 courses) per term.
- For example, if a graduate certificate student wants to maintain full-time status, the maximum time in the graduate certificate program would be 6 months if starting in January (encompasses Winter and Spring terms), or 8 months if starting in May (encompasses Spring and Fall terms) or September (encompasses Fall and Winter terms), and a student would need to take a fourth course and pay additional tuition to have full-time status in each term.
- JSGS cannot guarantee that courses required for our graduate certificate programs will be available each term.
- If a required course is unavailable, it can affect the opportunity for full-time studies.
Application Process and Required Documentation
The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy has aligned its application requirements (where possible) across its two university campuses; however, please note that the application portal varies by campus.
Please apply through one campus only
When applying to the JSGS University of Regina campus, please note that you must submit an application through the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.
You may choose to upload unofficial transcripts, supporting documents, letter of intent, and resume via your online application portal.
You will have the opportunity to enter the names and email addresses of your referees in the online application portal. Once you pay the application fee and submit the application, the system will automatically contact your referees with a link for their submission. Remember to advise your referees to check their spam folder for the auto-email from uregina.ca domain.
To troubleshoot document uploads, referee issues, other technical aspects of the online application, contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Student waiver form||
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy is a collaboration between the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan. To share information between the two universities, please complete and upload the student waiver form.
Upload unofficial transcripts for all post-secondary education, that is, from each accredited institution you’ve attended where you’ve received at least one grade for one course for academic credit. If you are registered in such a course presently, upload a transcript even without the course completed.
Do NOT upload University of Regina transcripts. FGSR staff will access these internally.
JSGS will evaluate applications based on unofficial documents. JSGS only requires official documents after an acceptance letter is issued.Option 2: Is it easy to obtain official transcripts? Is it inexpensive? Is the application deadline at least a month away? If you answer yes to all questions, consider skipping the unofficial transcript upload and send your official documents directly to FGSR.
|Proof of English proficiency (if required)||
International applicants may need to submit proof of English proficiency in the form of a recognized test. Search for your post-secondary institution on the WHED database. If this database clearly indicates solely English as language of instruction, this will suffice as proof of English proficiency.
|Resume||An updated resume with scholarly contributions, background information, education history, and relevant employment history.|
|Personal Statement / Letter of Intent||
The University of Regina’s online application form includes a personal statement section where applicants are asked to answer the following four questions:
As you answer these questions, please keep in mind the Admissions Committee is assessing your ability to write in a clear, coherent and professional manner. You should make every effort to ensure your personal statement is free of spelling and grammatical errors, is properly referenced (if applicable) and is concise. Please limit your response to each of the questions to no more than 200 words.
|Letter of Recommendation||
The University of Regina requires three letters of recommendation. Please choose academic and/or professional people who can comment on your ability to succeed in the program. Applicants can supply name and contact information in the online application portal.
When applying to the JSGS University of Saskatchewan campus, please note that you must submit an application through the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The online application takes about 30 minutes to complete. You may start an application, save it and return to it any time before the application deadline.
Once you have completed an online application, you will need to upload a series of documents. Please note that in most cases, you will need to allow one business day after paying your application fee before you are permitted to upload documents.
If your application fee has not been processed after 48 hours after being submitted, please contact email@example.com or phone 1-306-966-5788 for assistance. Please ensure you are checking the status of the application fee before emailing or calling. To check the status, please log into your application profile.
|Transcripts||Preliminary Statement of Marks
If you receive an offer of admission, you will then be required to have your official post-secondary transcripts sent (by mail in a sealed envelope directly from the institution) to the address below. Please do not send official documents until we request them.
College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
|Letter of Recommendation||
When applying to the University of Saskatchewan campus, you will need to submit three letters of reference. Two of these referees must be academic, and one must be professional.
As an applicant, you are responsible for sending the reference letter links and updating the referee’s contact information. Through your application profile, you can update your referees, change your referee contact information, and send/re-send the link for the letter of reference.
|Proof of English language proficiency (if required)||
For students who are required to provide proof of English proficiency:
If you receive an Offer of Admission you may be required to have your official language test scores sent to the address below. Please do not send official documents until we request them.
College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
|Resume||A current resume that includes background and relevant employment history.|
|Personal Statement / Letter of Intent||The University of Saskatchewan requires that all Graduate Certificate applicants submit a personal statement (two pages maximum) that outlines their purpose in applying to the program:
The Admissions Committee wants to see that you can clearly articulate your interests and ideas. You should make every effort to ensure your personal statement is free of spelling and grammatical errors, is properly referenced (if applicable) and is concise.
For questions about the application process or requirements for the Graduate Certificate program, please contact:
Graduate Administrator | firstname.lastname@example.org
Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
When applying to the USask campus, you will need to provide three referees and their contact information. Two of these referees must be academic, and one must be professional. If you have had a substantial study break, you can use all professional referees.When applying to the U of R campus, two confidential letters of recommendation (academic and/or professional referees are encouraged to include personal letters of reference along with the required form). Download form. Referees can send the required form and personal letter to the Graduate Studies office via email: Grad.Docs@uregina.ca. Referees must send the form and personal letter from their professional email address in order to be received as an "official" reference.
JSGS 895- Community Residency is a required part of the graduate certificate and provides the opportunity to learn with your peers, faculty, and other knowledge holders.Accommodation and a majority of meals for the students will be covered, but students will be required to cover the cost of transportation and some meals.
Access to course content and lectures will require a device (such as a tablet or laptop) and stable internet connectivity assistance with your technology or internet access.
Yes, the INB certificate may be used to ladder into the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program (online and in-person program delivery options available); specifically, completed courses in the INBGC can be considered towards the MPA program requirements for six credit units of electives. The INBGC can also be considered for the entry requirement for the joint Master of Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas (GENI) when an applicant has completed a three-year bachelor’s degree (instead of the required four-year bachelor’s degree).
Options should be discussed with your academic advisor.
The tuition cost per course is $1,507.50 with a total cost of $6,030 for the full certificate (subject to change; these are based on 2022-23 tuition rates). In addition to the tuition costs, students will also be required to pay mandatory graduate student fees at either USask or U of R.
Students will also be required to pay for their transportation to the residency and some meals.
International students pay an additional $1,264.58 per term.
What are JSGS certificate alumni up to? Read how they are making an impact!