The following terms are used within this document and mentioned within the context of concepts, theories, or historical context.


While the term Indigenous has become more commonly used around the world, it is contested by some because it does not acknowledge the unique identities or distinct rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. It is best to refer to the specific group (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) rather than generalizing with a collective phrase like Indigenous.


Aboriginal is an outdated collective term referring to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. However, the term Aboriginal is still used as it is the legal term in the Canadian Constitution. Aboriginal has largely been replaced by Indigenous, which is used internationally.

First Nations

First Nation is a term used to identify Indigenous people of Canada who are neither Métis nor Inuit. The term First Nation can be used to refer to a single band or the plural First Nations for many bands. This term is also used to refer to federally recognized communities in the place of the term reserve.

This term came into common usage in the 1970s to replace the term “Indian" and “Indian band” which many find offensive. Although First Nations has replaced “Indian” in common language, there are some legal reasons for its continued use due to its inclusion in the Constitution Act of 1982 and the Indian Act.


Inuit are Indigenous people living primarily in Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland. Inuit Nunangat is comprised of four regions in Canada: The Inuvialuit Settlement Regions (Northwest Territories), Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Québec) and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador). In total, approximately, 64,235 Inuit live in Canada (Government of Canada, 2021).

The term Inuit translates to “the people” in Inuktitut, the Inuit language. Therefore, saying “Inuit people” is redundant. Use Inuk when referring to an individual Inuit person. Use Inuuk when referring to two people; for three or more people, use Inuit.


Métis are distinct people with a unique history, culture, language, and territory. They are descendants of individuals born of relations between First Nations people and European settlers. While the initial children of these unions were individuals who simply possessed mixed ancestry, subsequent intermarriages between these individuals resulted in the creation of the Métis Nation.

The Métis National Council adopted the following definition of “Métis” in 2002: “Métis means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Indigenous Peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation.” Some people may refer to themselves as Métis but upon further research, they might fit more into non-status Indian or First Nation than Métis.


Decolonization is about shifting the way Indigenous Peoples view themselves and the way non-Indigenous people view Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous Peoples are reclaiming the family, community, culture, language, history and traditions that were taken from them under the federal government policies designed for assimilation. Some communities are reclaiming control via self-government agreements, treaties, or other negotiated agreements. It’s about revealing, renewal and rediscovery (Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., 2017).

Decolonization requires non-Indigenous Canadians to recognize and accept the reality of Canada’s colonial history, accept how that history paralyzed Indigenous Peoples and how it continues to subjugate Indigenous Peoples. Decolonization requires non-Indigenous individuals, governments, institutions, and organizations to create the space and support for Indigenous Peoples to reclaim all that was taken from them (Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., 2017).


Indigenization requires non-Indigenous people to be aware of Indigenous worldviews and to respect that those worldviews are equal to other views. Indigenization is about incorporating Indigenous worldviews, knowledge and perspectives into the education system, right from primary grades to universities. It must be acknowledged that there is not a homogenous Indigenous worldview, and that each Indigenous nation or community will have their own worldview (Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., 2017).

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A collection of items from the Indigenous community

UWaterloo 2018 Indigenization Strategy Steering Committee

Member name Chair role Title
Dr. Diana Parry  Steering Committee Chair AVP, Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion
Dr. Mario Coniglio Academic Programming Chair VP, Academic
Dr. Katherine Bergman Student Experience Chair President & Vice Chancellor, St. Jerome’s University
Lori Campbell Community Engagement Chair Director, Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre; Seconded as Director, Indigenous Initiatives January 2018 to June 30, 2018, in Office of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion
Dr. Bruce Muirhead Research Chair Associate Vice-President, External Research
Dr. Doug Peers Policies and Procedures Chair Dean of Arts

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Working groups

Chair: Dr. Bruce Muirhead
Name Role
Michael Benoit Graduate Student
Dr. Sandra Juutilainen CIHR - Health Systems Impact Fellow, School of Public Health Sciences
Dr. Sushanta Mitra Executive Director and Professor - Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology
Mackenzie Martyniuk Graduate Student
Chris Read Graduate Student
Dr. Reina Neufeldt Assistant Professor, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel
Dr. Dan McCarthy Associate Professor; Associate Director, Undergraduate Studies; Interim Director, WISIR
Dr. Susan Roy Associate Professor and Associate Chair (Graduate)
Dr. Jasmin Habib Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Global Governance & Faculty of Arts
Dr. Linda Warley Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, Faculty of Arts
Dr. Neil Randall Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts, Director of The Games Institute

Policies and procedures
Chair: Dr. Doug Peers
Name Role

Mandy McDermid 

Metrics Analyst, HR Projects and Technology - Human Resources  

Skye McMenemy 

Undergraduate Student 

Dahlia Khajeei 

PhD Student ,School of Public Health and Health Systems  

Kelly Laurila 

Lecturer, Department of Social Development Studies, Social Work, Renison University College 

Shahene Patel 

MA Candidate, Global Governance, Balsillie School of International Affairs 

Michael Seymour  

Indigenous Strategy Advisor to the Dean of Mathematics  

Adam Thibert 

Undergraduate Student 

Aisha Shibli  

Research and Policy Officer, Federation of Students 

Sarah Lau 

Grants and Contracts Manager, Institutional Research, Office of Research 

Dahlia Kahjeei 

Graduate Student 

Dr. Julia Roberts 

Chair & Associate Professor, Department of History  

Community engagement
Chair: Lori Campbell
Name Role
Dr. Bryan Grimwood Associate Professor, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies
Dr. Sorouja Moll Definite Term Lecturer, Department of Drama & Speech Communication
Mandy McDermid Staff
Tyler Owl-Scott Undergraduate Student
Amanda Plain Graduate Student
Rhonda Ramsay Staff
Dr. John Lewis Faculty
Dr. Shelley Hulan Associate Professor, Associate Chair, Department of English Language and Literature
Chloe Blair Undergraduate Student

Student experience working group
Dr. Katherine Bergman
Name Role
Amy Smoke UW Alumni; Events Coordinator - Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre
Rowland Robinson PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology & Legal Studies
Efrem Sandy Staff, IST
Martha Fauteux Staff
Denise Redmond Staff
Jonathan Franchetto Undergraduate Student
Sabrina Bedjera Graduate Student
Charity Nonkes Student, Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel
Lisa Brackenridge Staff, Student Success Office
Dr. Craig Fortier Faculty

Academic programming
Chair: Dr. Mario Coniglio
Name Role
Dr. Brian Forrest Professor, Faculty of Mathematics
Dr. Karen Sunabacka Associate Professor of Music
Heather George Graduate Student
Dr. George Freeman Faculty
Dr. Kathy Acheson Faculty
Dr. Frankie Condon Faculty
Jessica Blackwell Librarian, Special Collections & Archives & Dana Porter Library
Dr. Julie Kate Seirlis Department of International Development - St. Paul's
Allison Hopper Graduate Student
Thadsha Chandrakumaran MASc Candidate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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