a traditional drum on a woven mat, lit with blue light

Indigenous History Month 2024

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada.

It is a time to recognize the rich history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, a day to celebrate the heritage, culture and contributions of Indigenous Peoples, will be celebrated on June 21. The flag of the Iroquois Confederacy/Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) will be flown on University Hall from June 21 through June 23.

This time marks a great opportunity to engage in education and reflection, and to learn more about the impact of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Find resources and more information on Indigenous history, community-driven research and ways to engage with National Indigenous History Month below.


Reconciliation message for National Indigenous History Month

Bernice Downey, Associate Dean of Indigenous Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences, shares a reminder of the Seven Grandfather teachings — wisdom, love, respect, bravery, truth, humility and honesty.

“Some of these values may also be a part of non-Indigenous cultural worldviews and it is in this shared space that we also find a shared humanity. As we work collectively in the Faculty of Health Sciences on reconciliation-focused goals and objectives, we hold potential to also foster and strengthen trusting relationships through the recognition that we are all in it together.”

Click for her full reflection.



‘You continue to make your ancestors proud’ — Celebrating our grads

This year’s Indigenous Graduation Celebration was a testament to not only the students’ determination and accomplishments, but the deep bonds and enduring relationships they’ve forged in their time here at McMaster.

Click here for more photos and highlights of the ceremony



Santee Smith and Kaha:wi Theatre members perform The Mush Hole on stage

‘Finding light in dark places’ — The Mush Hole to be performed on campus

The Faculty of Humanities is hosting two performances of the award-winning work created by multidisciplinary artist and McMaster Chancellor Santee Smith.

Click here for more information on the performance and tickets

Planetarium show: The Celestial Bear: The Six Nations’ Night Sky

Enjoy a fascinating show that blends local culture, history, and modern-day astronomy that shares the Six Nation’s sky lore and language through traditional Indigenous night-sky stories. With narration and visuals by a live presentation and pre-recorded excerpts (in English, Mohawk, and Cayuga), learn about the story of the bear and the brothers and how it is retold every year with the rotating patterns in the night sky. See the same stars with a completely different understanding and appreciation!

This show was collaboratively produced by members of the Six Nations, McMaster’s Indigenous Studies Department, and the McCallion Planetarium.

Click here to register for one of four showings this month.

Click here to learn more about the show.


“It always comes down to relationships”: How partnerships with Indigenous communities lead to better science

“Like much of Canadian history, the story of science on Indigenous lands has long been one of colonialism. Western researchers would parachute into Indigenous communities with little regard for how the work they were doing might impact the people living there, or could benefit from their input — and often scientists were agents of continued colonization. But in recent years, cultural shifts have led to a new generation of Indigenous-led research and scientific partnerships that not only show better deference to communities where work is being done, but also result in stronger, more impactful science.”

Journalist Kaleigh Rogers writes about the foundational relationships that underpin ethical, impactful research.

Click here for more


New research primer offers wealth of guidance, resources for Indigenous research

The McMaster Indigenous Research Institute’s Research Primer is a living document that offers insights on working with Indigenous Peoples and communities to conduct community-driven research in an ethical, appropriate and effective way.

A much-needed guide for researchers whose work engages with Indigenous Peoples and communities, the Primer emphasizes the need for meaningful, respectful and ethical collaboration at every step of the way in all research, and offers guidance to ensure this need is met.

It also offers guidance on community-based participatory research with communities, rather than the outdated and unethical practice of research on them; Indigenous methodologies and research paradigms, and what to do if a community does not consent to proposed research.

Click here to learn more 



Indigenous student bursary program to reduce barriers to post-secondary education

Named ionkhihahonnién:ni, which means “they’re making a path for us,” the program assists with not only tuition, but also cost of living expenses such as housing, child care, food and transportation.

As well, a role within Indigenous Student Services will now focus on supporting and advising students and on administering the bursary program.

The Indigenous Financial Aid Specialist will be available to work with all Indigenous students, providing dedicated support and equitable access to financial resources and financial literacy programs.

Click here for more information.

As well, McMaster is introducing a set of guidelines and process to verify Indigenous ancestry, the result of more than two years of work by an Indigenous-led committee formed through the Indigenous Education Council (IEC).

At the heart of the process they developed is the notion that who is or is not a member of the Indigenous community can only be determined by Indigenous communities.

A time for reflection and learning

Click here for some educational resources from within the McMaster community that can be accessed throughout the month by those wishing to learn more about the impact of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Archives Alive webinars

Two videos from the Library and Alumni Services’ Archives Alive Webinar Series will take you into a realm where the past breathes life into the present, and stories of resilience and identity echo through time.

Indigenous History Month book display at Mills Library

Check out the Indigenous History Month display at Mills Memorial Library

Learn more about Indigenous history, culture, literary tradition and more. Ask a librarian for more information or explore the Indigenous Peoples of North America database yourself.

The Hamilton Public Library is also offering special programming and resources for Indigenous History Month.