Indigenous Graduate Students

Supporting Indigenous Graduate Students

Permission to reproduce this figure was received from Dr. Michelle Pidgeon. Source: Archibald, J., Pidgeon, M., & Hawkey, C. (2009). Aboriginal transitions: Undergraduate to graduate studies. AT: U2G Phase I Final report. Unpublished Research Report. University of British Columbia.

Graduate Studies is located on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territory referred to in Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish) as Lhuḵw’lhuḵw’áyten – (Burnaby Mountain, Burnaby, BC). We respectfully acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), q̓íc̓əy̓ (Katzie), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Qayqayt, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen peoples on whose unceded traditional territories our three campuses reside.

Congratulations on being accepted to graduate school at Simon Fraser University! We look forward to supporting you on your research journey.

In addition to the resources available to all graduate students found under our Awards & Funding, Graduate Students, Community Guide, Professional Development, and News and Events sections of our website, we have collated additional support (including scholarships) available specifically for Indigenous graduate students.

Want to Speak with Someone?

Dorothy Cucw-la7 Christian (Secwepemc & Syilx Nations)
Associate Director, Indigenous Policy & Pedagogy
Email: | Phone: 778-782-3859
Learn more about Dorothy on People of SFU
Open Office Hours: every second Wednesday, from 1:00 - 3:00 pm (MBC 1142)

Dorothy is also open to meeting with undergraduate students who are considering graduate level studies.

Topics you may wish to connect with Dorothy may include:

  • overall program,
  • supervisory committee,
  • funding,
  • Indigenizing defense(s),
  • Indigenizing writing process,

Indigenous Graduate Community Resources

SFU Indigenous Student Services

Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement (SAGE)

SFU Office for Aboriginal Peoples (OAP)

SFU Indigenous Student Services is a space on Burnaby campus for all current undergraduate and graduate Indigenous students. Their website includes an events page which promotes workshops and cultural activities.

Learn more

SAGE is a province-wide, inter-institutional, peer-support/faculty-mentoring educational program. The program supports Aboriginal students to make significant educational and social change using research, Indigenous knowledge, and community-oriented approaches. 

Learn more

The OAP was established in 2009 with the mandate to take the lead on implementing the Aboriginal Strategic Plan at Simon Fraser University. The OAP also provides resources such as a directory of Aboriginal Contacts.

Learn more

First Nations, Métis & Inuit Student Association (FNMISA)

Indigenous Living Learn Community

Third-Party Billing or Sponsorships

The FNSA is an independent student-run organization for all self-identified Aboriginal, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and Status/Non-Status (FNMI) students here at SFU. Join their email list to learn about upcoming events:

Learn more

Students in the Indigenous Living-Learning Community are able to live across Residence in building types that best fit their academic and personal needs. As a Canadian Indigenous student in this community you will connect with other Indigenous students and build community through peer support, mentorship and leadership development opportunities.

Learn more

To manage your third-party sponsorships at SFU, please contact Student Accounts through SFU Student Services:

Additional Sources of Funding

You can find additional funding through the following agencies. You must apply with them directly.

Indigenous Graduate Awards

Below are two sources of funding through SFU that are specifically for Indigenous graduate students. For all of the awards and funding offered through SFU, please visit our Awards + Funding pages.

Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship (IGES) Entrance Award By Nomination Only | Approx. Award Value: TBD Various Programs
The Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship is intended for students initiating a research based masters or PhD program who have Canadian citizenship and Indigenous ancestry. Students do not apply for this award - they must be nominated by the Graduate Program Chair of their new academic unit. An IGES award offer replaces any GDES offer.

Learn more about this award →

Terms of Reference

  1. Tenure for the Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship (IGES) is two years at the master’s level and four years at the doctoral level. There is one award available at the master’s level and one at the doctoral level.
  2. To be eligible, the Indigenous student must be entering a research based master’s or PhD program at Simon Fraser University.
  3. Students must be nominated for the award by the Graduate Program Chair of the academic unit to which the student will be admitted.
  4. The criteria for this award are:
    1. Canadian citizenship and Indigenous ancestry
    2. a minimum entrance CGPA of 3.5;
    3. demonstrated academic excellence at the undergraduate level and, if applicable, at the graduate level;
    4. evidence of outstanding achievement with particular emphasis on intellectual ability, originality and ability in research.
  5. During tenure of the Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship, the recipient must be registered full-time in a research based graduate program at Simon Fraser University.
  6. The Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship is normally held during consecutive academic terms. If a recipient registers “on leave” during tenure of their award, the award will be interrupted until the student is registered full-time and payments will be reinstated at that time. No deferment of award payments to future academic terms will be permitted, except under ‘extenuating’ conditions with the permission of the Chair of the Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee (SGAAC).
  7. Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship recipients may accept scholarship support from other sources including SFU’s ‘donor funded/private’ awards. Recipients should be aware that some external awards may have restrictions on funding.
  8. There is no restriction on Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship recipients receiving income for work performed during tenure of the scholarship.
  9. Awards are made by the Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee after a University-wide competition in which departmental nominations are considered.

Revised: June 2021 / GUSE006

Indigenous Graduate Travel Award
This award provides financial support for Indigenous graduate students for the travel and/or research component of their research. Indigenous or “Aboriginal” is defined by Canada’s 1982 Constitution as people identified as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples of Canada. Students look for and apply directly for this award in the Graduate Awards System.

Learn more about this award →

Terms of Reference

  1. The purpose of the Indigenous Graduate Travel Award is to provide financial support for Indigenous graduate students for the travel and/or research component of their research. Students can only apply for the Indigenous travel award once per academic year. Indigenous graduate students may apply for this fund before their travel to pay for costs in advance.
  2. To be eligible for this award, the following criteria must be met:
    1. This award is for Indigenous graduate students attending Simon Fraser University.
    2. Indigenous or “Aboriginal” is defined by Canada’s 1982 Constitution as people identified as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples of Canada.
  3. Disbursements of up to $1000 each may be applied for in each academic year (starting September 1 of each year).
  4. The funds will be given out on a first come / first applied for basis. The fund will be considered used for the year when the $5,000 limit for the year has been reached. Once the total fund has been distributed for the year, a message will be sent out through the Indigenous graduate student listserv.
  5. Repeat applications will be allowed from year-to-year. Preference, however, will be given to students who have not yet received money from this fund (this is at the discretion of Graduate Studies).
  6. Application includes:
    1. A completed budget which accounts for the requested amount;
    2. A letter of support from the applicant’s academic supervisor or a faculty member familiar with your work (to verify the student’s academic status, intent, and need).

Travel Report

Upon completion of travel, successful applicants will need to submit the following within two weeks to the Graduate Awards Assistant:

A concise Travel and Activity Report, written in language suitable for the general public. Contents and/or quotes from the report may be published in Graduate Studies promotional material. If you do not wish for your travel report to be published, please indicate so.

The following could be included in your report:

  • The activities that were carried out, in respect to how the travel contributed to your research and/or scholarly activities
  • Any unanticipated benefits derived from the travel, including those in relation to your current research objectives an/or to your general experience as a graduate student
  • Any special issues or problems you encountered
How to Apply
CPA Graduate Award in Indigenous Business and Leadership By Nomination Only | View Approx. Award Value Business
This award valued at a minimum of $5000, will be granted annually in any term to an Indigenous graduate student enrolled in the EMBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership program, and having the intent to pursue a career in accounting.

Learn more about this award →

Terms of Reference

  1. The purpose of the award is to provide funding to Indigenous graduate students enrolled in the EMBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership Program
  2. One award, valued at $5,000, will be granted in any term, to graduate students who fulfill the following criteria:
    1. are enrolled in the EMBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership in the Beedie School of Business;
    2. are of Indigenous heritage (defined as, in accordance to Canada's 1982 Constitution, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples of Canada); and
    3. have the intent to pursue a career in accounting.
  3. This award may be held in conjunction with other awards made by Simon Fraser University or other agencies where permitted by those agencies.
  4. Applications for the award will be made using the graduate awards system managed by Graduate Studies and must be accompanied by:
    1. Copies of post-secondary transcripts; and
    2. One-page letter describing the applicant’s intent to pursue a career in accounting.
  5. If a suitable candidate is not identified, the award may be disbursed in a subsequent term or year
  6. The award will be granted by the Dean and Vice-Provost, Graduate Studies on behalf of the Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee, upon the nomination of the Associate Director,Graduate programs or their designate in the Beedie School of Business.

March 2024

Indigenous Graduate Student

  • March 11, 2022

    March 11, 2022

    Erik is a Master's student in the Faculty of Health Sciences whose research focuses on how food security and housing environments relate to mental health using a two-eyed seeing approach. (Graduate Fellowship)

  • February 13, 2023

    February 13, 2023

    Mathew aims to draw parallels between Indigenous methodologies, queer theory, and 'hard' science to examine the scientific and sociopolitical impacts of HIV/AIDS particularly related to Indigenous Peoples. Biagioni Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship

  • December 08, 2020

    December 08, 2020

    Tsatia is PhD student bringing the urban Indigenous communities in the Metro Vancouver and Russian into dialogue with each other. (Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship)

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Conversations with Indigenous Graduate Students



Indigenous Research, Teaching, + Leadership Resources

Indigenous leaders and educators come to SFU to enhance their knowledge and skills in order to benefit their communities. Indigenous students take classes in every Faculty at SFU.

Indigenous Knowledge(s) in the Community with Mike Segwalise Myers

Watch the video recording of this webinar and learn from Mike Segwalise Myers of the of the Seneca Nation during a discussion with Dorothy Cucw-la7 Christian, Associate Director, Indigenous Policy & Pedagogy. Elder/knowledge keeper Mike shares how his Seneca/Haudenosaunee knowledge is at the center of community development projects he is currently involved in within the historical landscape of colonialism.

Learn more about Mike Segwalise Myers

Indigenous Knowledge(s) + Language in the Academy with Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams

Watch the video recording of this webinar and learn from Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams of the Lil’watul Nation of the interior of BC during a  discussion with Dorothy Cucw-la7 Christian, Associate Director, Indigenous Policy & Pedagogy. Williams is a highly respected Elder, Knowledge Keeper and Scholar in the international, national, and provincial spheres of influence.

Learn more about Lorna Wanosts'a7 Williams

Non-Indigenous SFU Faculty Supporting Indigenous Graduate Students

Watch the video recording of this webinar and learn from the faculty members and Dorothy Christian as they discuss what it means to serve on a committee for Indigenous grad students as a non-Indigenous person.

Learn more about the panelists

Indigenous Research Methods in Action: SFU Library Speaker Series

Watch videos of Indigenous SFU researchers discuss how they engage with Indigenous Research Methods in practice. Dorothy Christian is one of the featured speakers.  Learn more and watch the discussions

Building Alliances in the Academy

Watch the video  

Dr. Jo-ann Archibald - The Many Facets of Decolonizing and Indigenizing the Academy

Interrupting the Academy: Decolonizing and Indigenizing the Curriculum

Additional Resources