Indigenous teachings and resources

Here you will find information about teachings conducted in the Faculty of Health, details on Indigenization across our buildings, and other resources on- and off-campus.

Visit Indigenous initiatives to learn more about our commitments and actions in the Faculty.

Mallot resting on drum

Indigenous learning circles

Indigenous learning circles (kinnomaage waawaanoon) are centred around sharing traditional knowledge, wisdom, and history on various topics. Led by our Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, Myeengun Henry, the teachings are guided by group participation.

Come with an open heart and mind on a drop-in basis for these one-hour events.

Thirteen Grandmother Moons series

Join us starting January 26, 2023 for the Thirteen Grandmother Moons (Madauswe Shi Sin Swe Nokimis Geezis) learning circle series. We will be covering teachings from each of the thirteen months in the lunar calendar, which differs from the twelve months in the Gregorian (western) solar calendar. The Learning Circle series will take place in the Indigenous Gathering Space, LHI 3701.

Dates for the whole series:

Thursday, January 26, 2023 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday February 8, 2023 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday March 1, 2023 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday March 8, 2023 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday March 22, 2023 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday April 12, 2023 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Previous Indigenous learning circles

Indigenization in our spaces

Part of our commitment to reconciliation includes creating spaces that respect and embrace Indigenous knowledge and culture.

Six people act as flag bearers and drummers stand around a cedar tree. Audience members are standing behind.

Indigenous sacred items

Two Row Wampum Belt

Two Row Wampum belt

Location: Health Expansion (EXP) foyer - outside of EXP 1689

This replica Two Row Wampum belt was presented to the Faculty of Health on June 20, 2022, to mark a commitment toward reconciliation and an environment that invites and respects Indigenous ways of knowing.

First established in 1613, the Two Row Wampum is one of the oldest treaty relationships between Indigenous peoples and European settlers, specifically the Haudenosaunee and Dutch peoples.

Learn more about the meaning of the Two Row Wampum

Cedar tree

Cedar tree

Location: B.C. Matthews Hall (BMH) courtyard

A cedar tree was jointly planted by Dean Lili Liu and Indigenous Knowledge Keeper Myeengun Henry on June 20, 2022, as part of the Faculty of Health Commitment Ceremony to signify action towards reconciliation. 

Cedar, along with tobacco, sweetgrass, and sage are the four sacred medicines used by Indigenous people for healing and ceremony. 

Learn more about the four medicines

A medicine wheel on a table with the colours white, yellow, red and black

Medicine wheel

Location: B.C. Matthews Hall (BMH) 3119

This 127 centimetres (50 inches) medicine wheel is located in the centre of the Faculty's boardroom table for all to see.

Although the interpretation and meaning behind the medicine wheel vary, it is used to conceptualize health and wellbeing. The circle demonstrates the interconnectedness of life across the four dimensions.

Learn more about the different teachings of the Indigenous medicine wheel

Indigenous Gathering Space

Located in Lyle Hallman North (LHN) 3701, the Indigenous Gathering Space is one of the central locations for Indigenous Initiatives in the Faculty of Health.

As this space is being transformed, it will be a safer space for healing, learning, and community building. Events will be hosted specifically for Indigenous peoples and guests.

This space will also provide a studying space for Indigenous students when events are not taking place. We hope to have the space ready for the fall.

Students may contact Faculty of Health Indigenous Initiatives to learn more about gaining access to this space.


The following flags can be found in rotation in the Health Expansion (EXP) foyer - outside of EXP 1689.

White bird on red background with Anishinaabe First Nations Peoples text.

Anishinaabe flag

Indigenous person in front of Canadian flag.

Canada with Indigenous person flag

Two feathers beside every child matters text.

Every child matters flag

Tree and four white connected boxes on indigo background.

Iroquois flag

Inukshuk and star on gold and white background.

Inuit flag

White infiniity connected symbol on blue background.

Métis flag - blue variation

White infiniity connected symbol on red background.

Métis flag - red variation

Additional resources

See below for a non-exhaustive collection of teachings and resources.

We welcome you to contact Faculty of Health Indigenous Initiatives to share your thoughts.

On-campus resources

Office of Indigenous Relations

The Office of Indigenous Relations is responsible for advancing reconciliation throughout the University, grounded in decolonization. The Office works collaboratively with the Faculty of Health on varioius initiatives and provides resources in the following areas:

Campus Wellness

Indigenous student resources


Indigenous research guide

Office of Research

Resources and Guides for Indigenous Research

School of Public Health Sciences

Giving a meaningful land acknowledgement and connecting it to action

Online learning

University of Alberta: Indigenous Canada

Indigenous Canada is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the University of Alberta Faculty of Native Studies. This course explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. This course can be taken for free, or you can pay a fee to receive a certificate upon completion. The course is 12 weeks of study, 2 – 3 hours/week.

Learn more about the Indigenous Canada course

University of Toronto: Aboriginal Worldviews and Education

Aboriginal Worldviews and Education is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. This course introduces how Indigenous ways of knowing can benefit all students. This course can be taken for free, or you can pay a fee to receive a certificate upon completion. The course offers flexible deadlines, taking approximately 14 hours to complete.

Learn more about the Aboriginal Worldviews and Education course

Yellowhead Institute: Land Back Movement

Land Back Movement is an online course from the Yellowhead Insititute at Toronto Metropolitan University. Based upon the Land Back Red Paper published in 2019, this course covers concepts surrounding the denial of Indigenous self-determination and Indigenous-led strategies of consent-based jurisdiction. This course is self-directed and will accept learners in Fall 2022 for their course launch.

Learn more about the Land Back Movement course

Inquiries, commissions and key documents

Truth and Reconciliation

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was established in 2008 by the Canadian government through the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The Commission was responsible for collecting the truths of survivors, families, and communities affected by the harms of the residential school system and for sharing what happened to Canadians. Currently, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is mandated to continue the work initiated by the TRC.

The final six-volume TRC report was released in 2015, which includes 94 Calls to Action for reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and Canadians. 

Read the TRC reports

Visit CBC: Beyond 94 to learn about the progress of the TRC 94 Calls to Action since March 2018.

Today, I stand before and acknowledge that what took place in residential schools amounts to nothing short of cultural genocide – a systematic and concerted attempt to extinguish the spirit of Aboriginal peoples.

justice murray sinclair, Chair of the TRC, at a press event for the TRC 94 Calls to Action

To learn more about the Government of Ontario’s actions, visit the Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

For immediate emotional assistance for residential school survivors and families, call the national, toll-free 24/7 National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was established in 2016. The objective was to examine and act upon the disproportionate rates of violence and the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ (2 spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, +) people.  

The final report, Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, was published in 2019 and contained 231 Calls for Justice to end the violence.

Human rights and Indigenous rights abuses committed and condoned by the Canadian state represent genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. These abuses and violations have resulted in the denial of safety, security, and human dignity.

In response to the Inquiry, the Government of Canada launched the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan in 2021.

To learn more about the Government of Ontario’s actions, visit Pathways to safety: Ontario’s strategy in response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) also conducted a Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview in 2013 to investigate MMIWG across all Canadian police jurisdictions.

For immediate emotional assistance for those affected by missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, call the national, toll-free 24/7 support line at 1-844-413-6649.

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples

The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) was established by the Government of Canada in 1991, with the five-volume final report being published in 1996. RCAP was established in response to the Kanesatake Resistance (Oka Crisis), a standoff between Mohawk protesters, police, and army from July 11 to September 26, 1990, over a land dispute.

The objective of the commission was to investigate the historical and current-day relationship between First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, the Government of Canada, and broader Canadian society. The Commission included 440 recommendations to renew the relationship with Indigenous peoples over a 20-year span.

Read the full report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples

Ipperwash Inquiry

The Ipperwash Commission of Inquiry was launched in 2003 by the Government of Ontario in response to the 1995 Ipperwash Crisis, a land dispute in and around Ipperwash Provincial Park. Protests and interactions between police and members of Stony Point First Nation culminated in the death of Dudley George, an Ojibwa protester, on September 6, 1995. George was shot and killed by an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Officer at Ipperwash Provincial Park.

The objectives of the Commission were to determine the events that led to the death of George and make recommendations to prevent the escalation shown in the Ipperwash Crisis. The final four-volume report was published in 2007 and contained 100 recommendations.

Learn more about the Ipperwash Commission of Inquiry

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is a non-legally binding resolution with 46 articles that outlines “minimum standards for the survival, dignity, well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.”

UNDRIP was adopted in the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 by 144 Member States. Canada, along with Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., voted against the resolution, with 11 others abstaining. Since the vote, all four Member States have since changed their position to support the Declaration.

In 2016, Canada adopted UNDRIP and removed its objector status. In June 2021, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act became law. The Act outlines how the government and Indigenous peoples can implement the Declaration.

The TRC Calls to Actions and MMIWG Calls for Justice have directed the government to adopt and implement the Declaration.

Learn more about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and implementation

Instructor resources