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Aboriginal Students  

Last Updated: Aug 2, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Funding Opportunities

Memorial University's Aboriginal Resource Office offers the Dr. Evan Simpson Aboriginal Undergraduate Entrance Scholarship.  Memorial will award up to four entrance scholarships valued at $1,000 each to Aboriginal residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.

To find out more about scholarships that are available to Aboriginal students, check out Memorial's Aboriginal Student Scholarship Handbook.

Aboriginal students are aligible to apply for a number of national bursaries.  Have a look at the National Aboriginal Bursaries search tool.

Another potential funding opportunity is the national charity, Indspire.  Run by CEO, Roberta Jamieson, Indspire is the largest supporter of Indigenous eduation outside of the federal government, having awarded more than $49 million in scholarships and bursaries to First Nation, Inuit, and Métis students.


    Important Contacts at Memorial

    Sheila Freake - Coordinator, ARO: sheilafreake (at)

    Valeri Pilgrim - Aboriginal Liaison Officer, ARO: vpilgrim (at)

    Dr. Maura Hanrahan - Special Advisor to the President for Aboriginal Affairs: mhanrahan (at)

    Amy Hudson - Aboriginal Affairs Office: ahudson (at)


      Memorial's Programs and Services

      Memorial's designated seats program, the most comprehensive program of its kind in Canada, reserves between 1 and 3 seats for Aboriginal students in a number of degree programs at Memorial. This program includes seats in: Human Kinetics and Recreation (undergraduate programs of Phys. Ed., Kinetics, Recreation and the M.P.E.); all undergraduate programs in Education; Medicine (MD and the M.P.H.): Nursing (undergraduate plus M.Nurs.Practitioner); Social Work (undergraduate); Business (IBBA, BBA, B Comm, MBA); Visual Arts; M.A. in Environmental Policy; Engineering (undergraduate); and all MI programs - plus a rotating seat available according to need.

      The Labrador Institute of MUN, an institution committed to ensuring that Memorial's presence is felt in Labrador.  This is accomplished particularly through prgramming, research, community outreach, and collaboration.

      Kullik-lighting and Smudging are seen as important Indigenous practices at Memorial University. The University's policy on Kullik-lighting and Smudging went into effect on July 4th, 2013 and is based on Memorial's procedure for these practices. Both Memorial's St. John's and Grenfell campuses have designated sites for Kullik-lighting and smudging.


        Selected Provincial Organizations and Governments

        Innu Nation, an organization that represents the Innu of Labrador.

        The Nunatsiavut Government, a regional Inuit government within NL that was established in 2005.  Nunatsiavut, the homeland of Labrador Inuit, is the first self-governing Inuit region in Canada.

        The Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band was created on September 26, 2011.  Through the creation of this band, the Mi'kmaq of NL are officially recognized as a band under the Indian Act.

        NunatuKavut Community Council, formerly known as the Labrador Metis nation, is the territory of the southern Inuit people of Labrador.

        Miawpukek First Nation was officially established as a reserve under the Indian Act in 1987.

        Mushuau Innu Band Council, located in Natuashish, NL (formerly located in Davis Inlet), is one of two Innu Band Councils in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

        Sheshatshiu Innu Band Council, one of two Innu Band Councils in NL.  It is specifically located in Nitassinan, NL and its current chief is Sebastien Benuen.


          Selected Provincial Service Delivery Organizations

          The Newfoundland Aboriginal Women's Network, a non-profit organization located in Stephenville, NL that is dedicated to promoting and enhancing the well-being of Aboriginal women in Newfoundland.

          The St. John's Native Friendship Centre, located at 716 Water Street in downtown St. John's, is a community-based, non-profit organization that offers numerous programs and services to Newfoundland's Aboriginal population.  It offers internet, printing, faxing, and photocopying services, as well as a number of programs, including: The Four Winds Aboriginal Youth Program and The Shanawdithit Shelter.

          The Healing Journey's resources for Newfoundland and Labrador, including: family violence; legal aid; family mediation; victim assistance; and other resources and services. 

          The Labrador Friendship Centre, located in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Labrador, aims to enrich Aboriginal life in Labrador.  The Centre does this through the provision of a number of programs and services, including: facilities for educational training; housing support services; an Aboriginal family centre; and activities for seniors and children, among others.


            Selected National Organizations and Resources

            Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, a government of Canada department entrusted with supporting the Aboriginal population of the country relating to economic affairs; social well-being; community life; and political, social, and economic development.

            Aboriginal Human Resource Council, which is concerned with the partiicpation of Aboriginal peoples in the Canadian workforce.

            National Inuit Youth Council (NIYC), which is a collaborative organization focused on Inuit youth in this country.

            Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

            Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat, an organization that develops and tables policy alternatives relevant to First Nations issues in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, as well as in Maine, USA.


              Aboriginal Resource Office

              The Aboriginal Resource Office (ARO) at Memorial University is located in the University Centre (UC 4003).  Run by Sheila Freake and Valeri Pilgrim, ARO is responsible for providing support services for Aboriginal students.


                Aboriginal Affairs

                Aboriginal Affairs at Memorial highlights the university's Aboriginal initiatives and activities.  In 2011, Memorial appointed for the first time a Special Advisor to the President of Aboriginal Affairs, Dr. Maura Hanrahan.  Dr. Hanrahan's responsibilities include: developing a culturally safe environment for the Aboriginal members of Memorial's community; improving the university's relations with the province's indigenous governments and organizations; and implementing the report of the 2009 Presidential Task Force on Aboriginal Initiatives at Memorial. 


                  Aboriginal Student Handbook

                  The Aboriginal Resource Office at Memorial has created an Aboriginal Student Handbook for Aboriginal students on the St. John's campus.  This handbook contains information about: ARO; support systems available at Memorial; emergency and medical contacts; student life at Memorial; clubs and societies; the Labrador Institute; the Nunatsiavut Government Post-Secondary Student Support Program; organizations and resources in the community; and much more.


                    Declaring Aboriginal Status

                    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has created a list of resources dealing with declaring Indian status, including: eligibility requirements, application forms, benefits information, and a list of frequently asked questions and answers.


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