Faculty of Native Studies
After nearly eight years of work, the Métis National Council Historic Online Database was launched in May 2007. Headed by Dr Frank Tough, the project is the result of a partnership between the Faculty of Native Studies and the Métis National Council. The database contains thousands of digitized archival records, including documents related to the 1901 Census of Canada.
Dr Ellen Bielawski, Dean of the Faculty of Native Studies, discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by the Faculty. It is a multi-disciplinary, multi-racial, and multicultural Faculty that investigates complex topics, including the unique discipline of study that is the relationship between Aboriginal people and others.
In 2004, Dr Ellen Bielawski, Dean of what was then called the School of Native Studies wrote:
The school teaches, researches, graduates, and employs non-Aboriginals side-by-side with Aboriginal people. We work together—not only towards a distant goal of equity between Aboriginal people and others—but creating and living that equity every day.
The Faculty has both composition and responsibility that set it apart from other University of Alberta faculties. The Constitution of Canada recognizes the "special status" of Aboriginal people—First Nations, Métis and Inuit—within Canada. The Faculty of Native Studies recognizes that, as a discipline of study, the relationship between Aboriginal people and others is unique.
The idea of creating an academic unit focusing on Native Studies was first discussed in 1972. In 1978, the Senate received recommendations to improve service to Aboriginal Peoples and to create a more coherent program of Native Studies. The program was approved in 1984, and, by 1986, the School of Native Studies and the Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies degree were established. In June 2006, the School of Native Studies became the Faculty of Native Studies to reflect the expanded teaching and research activities of the Faculty's staff and students.
Although previously located in the Education Building, the Faculty of Native Studies now has its offices in the renovated Pembina Hall.
The Faculty of Native Studies offers students an interdisciplinary education in Aboriginal culture and issues. The research of faculty members focuses on the Aboriginal People—First Nations, Inuit, and Métis—of the Canadian West and North. Individual courses are grouped into four main program areas:
- language and culture
- land and resources
- community-based research and applied skills
Many courses have Native leaders, and Elders come in to give guest lectures. Students in senior-level courses may also work on a project in conjunction with an Aboriginal community or organization.
The Faculty of Native Studies addresses topics such as Native self-governance, land and language rights, and Aboriginal legal issues. The two classes offered on Aboriginal legal issues investigate the legal context of Aboriginal law in Canada and the applications of Native law at provincial and federal levels.
The degrees offered by the faculty are:
- Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies
- Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies (Honours)
- Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies/Bachelor of Education Combined
- Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Conservation Sciences/Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies Combined
- Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies After Degree
Graduates of the Faculty of Native Studies pursue many different career paths. Some enter graduate or professional programs such as Law while others find employment with government bodies or with Aboriginal communities and organizations.
In May 2007, the Faculty of Native Studies, in partnership with the Métis National Council, launched the Métis National Council Historic Online Database. The database includes thousands of digitized archival records and digital photography.
|Deans of the Faculty of Native Studies|