First Nations and Indigenous Studies was founded in 2001 to provide students with an understanding of the histories, contemporary realities, and political concerns of Indigenous peoples in Canada and beyond.  As an interdisciplinary undergraduate Program within the Faculty of Arts, it reflects the belief that deep understanding and ethical engagement are central to the wellbeing of resurgent Indigenous communities and foundational to more respectful Indigenous-settler relations. Students are provided extensive experience with Indigenous political theory and politics, aesthetics, literature, and contemporary social concerns, in the classroom and on a first-hand basis. Learn more about our program and course offerings on our program page here.

“Where theory meets practice” is the keystone principle of the Program, which combines rigorous critical scholarship with ethical community engagement. Coursework and classroom discussions develop students’ critical perspectives, theoretical frameworks, and practical skills. In their final year, students participate in the 400-level Research Practicum that allows them to apply their problem-solving skills to the needs and priorities of Indigenous communities. Students are partnered with an Indigenous organization to design and implement a project based upon the organization’s needs. Through this partnership, students make meaningful contributions to their partner organizations, transform knowledge gained in the classroom into lived experience, and the organization receives the final research product to assist in their own work.

While there are no easy answers or quick fixes to the contemporary challenges facing Indigenous peoples, by being attentive to our lived relationships and their political, social, and intellectual contexts, good scholarship can make a positive difference in the world. This conviction has fueled the growth of First Nations and Indigenous Studies at UBC, which saw its first convocation in the spring of 2004. It will continue to support us as we expand our undergraduate course offerings and explore graduate courses and advanced research opportunities within the area of Critical Indigenous Studies.

We acknowledge that the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the University of British Columbia-Vancouver are located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded homelands of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people. We value our long-standing relationship with the Musqueam Nation and are grateful for the many ways in which they support and strengthen our unit. To visit the Musqueam Nation’s website, please click here.

About our Logo


First Nations and Indigenous Studies would like to thank Dempsey Bob for the design of our Program logo. The image is of a raven and the sun, a reference to a story in many BC First Nations traditions in which the teacher-trickster and culture hero Raven steals the Sun from its covetous keeper and releases it, thereby bringing daylight and knowledge to the shadow-weary world.

If you are interested in Dempsey Bob’s work, please refer to his website.

Contact Us:

We would love to hear from you!

To get in touch, please complete this Contact Us form on the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies’ website.

Tel: (604) 822-2905
Fax: (604) 827-5101

In Person:

Main Office Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
(closed for lunch 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM)

Buchanan E-266
1866 Main Mall
University of British Columbia

By Mail:

University of British Columbia
First Nations and Indigenous Studies
1866 Main Mall
Buchanan A240
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6T 1Z1