Indigenous student education

Our position

Indigenous peoples face significant barriers to postsecondary education. As a result, far fewer First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada have a university degree than non-Indigenous Canadians. Education is vital to the reconciliation process and universities are committed to helping Indigenous students achieve their potential through higher education. Universities help advance reconciliation by revitalizing Indigenous languages, ensuring Indigenous representation in governance and leadership structures, and bringing Indigenous knowledge and culture to campus. Still much more remains to be done. Universities Canada is working with partners in government to encourage more support for Indigenous students to access and succeed at higher education.


By the numbers

  • 71%
    increasing Indigenous leadership

    Well over two-thirds of Canada’s universities are working to include Indigenous representation within their governance or leadership structures.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 65%
    Indigenizing research

    Two-thirds of universities are incorporating Indigenous knowledge, methods and protocols into research and teaching policies, programs and practices.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 78%
    offer intercultural engagement

    Seventy-eight percent of universities promote intercultural engagement through cultural activities, events, talking circles and cultural competency or reconciliation training.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 69%
    do community outreach

    More than two-thirds of Canadian universities reach out to prospective Indigenous students to inform them of available services, programs and supports.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 70%
    partnering with Indigenous communities

    Just over 70% of universities have a partnership with Indigenous communities and organizations to foster dialogue and reconciliation.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 55%
    increase in Indigenous academic programs

    Since 2013 there has been a 55% increase in the number of academic programs that include an Indigenous focus or are designed for Indigenous students.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.

Reconciliation may be our greatest social challenge but also our greatest opportunity. We must approach the task with ambition, pragmatism and humility.

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