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:

  1. What is governance from an Indigenous perspective?
  2. Why is Canadian society—which includes both settler and Indigenous peoples—in this contemporary situation of settler-colonial inequity?
  3. 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.

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.

NOTICE: This certificate includes a combination of online courses and a 3-day in-person residency,  which provides students with the opportunity to work together on a community governance project. 

The Indigenous Nation-Building Certificate will be accepting students for a January 2023 start date.

Are you interested in learning more about the program? Please leave your name and contact information in the below form, and we will contact you directly once we have a few program information sessions scheduled.

Learning Objectives

2018 Indigenous Governance Symposium, hosted by the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, First Nations University of Canada, and File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council

The curriculum objectives are organized thematically into three groups: Decolonization, Indigenization, and Reconciliation.

Decolonization

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.

Indigenization

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.

Reconciliation

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 discourses 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.  

Courses

All students must complete the following two courses (3 credit units each):

All students must complete one elective (3 credit units) from the following:

All students must also complete the following additional non-credit course:

Course Delivery Modes and Schedules

This certificate includes a combination of online courses and a 3-day in-person residency, which provides students with the opportunity to work together on a community governance project. 

Click here for the course schedule and delivery modes for the above courses.

Laddering Option

Students who have successfully completed this program may have their course work count towards a full master's degree within JSGS.  Please talk with an academic advisor for more details.

Admission Requirements

University of Regina campus

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 campus

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 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.

Non-Refundable Deposit

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. The non-refundable deposit must be paid within 30 days of the offer of admission being made. 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.

Tuition

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 website should be viewed as accurate.

University of Regina campus

The tuition rate for the master’s certificate program is approximately $1,507.50 (per 3-credit unit course) for the 2022/23 academic year (September 1, 2022, to August 31, 2023). Students must also pay mandatory graduate student fees. 

University of Saskatchewan campus

The tuition rate for the master’s certificate program is approximately $1,507.56 (per 3-credit unit course) for the 2022/23 academic year (September 1, 2022, to August 31, 2023). Students must also pay mandatory graduate student fees and an international surcharge (if applicable, $1,264.58 per term). 

Contact Us

For more information on the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Nation-Building, please contact: