The McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI) will be a world-class facility recognized for its leadership in the field of Indigenous research. The establishment of MIRI will acknowledge that Indigenous Knowledge is valid scientific knowledge, which is supported by unique and culturally diverse Indigenous research methodologies and pedagogies. MIRI will become a trusted resource that will undertake and facilitate research initiatives with multiple partners and build on and enhance existing relationships between McMaster and community networks. MIRI will support interdisciplinary research across the University and will serve as a gateway to partnership building with Indigenous research collaborators for the faculties of Business, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Science, and Social Sciences, as well as for the University’s other institutes and centres.

Systemic incompatibilities between Western and Indigenous knowledge and ethics have been a barrier to research within an Indigenous Knowledge framework. The Institute will facilitate and promote increased visibility of Indigenous Knowledge and methodologies, create space for dialogue between Western research approaches and Indigenous research collaborations, and will support both Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, ethics boards, and decision makers in the area of Indigenous research. The overarching priority is to foster research excellence and best practices for all Indigenous related research across the university.


MIRI’s focus is currently building on existing areas of interdisciplinary expertise and priority as identified by McMaster’s Indigenous scholars and community, including health, environment, language and culture, gender, peace studies and conflict resolution. These areas align with the majority of areas of strategic research importance to the University as well as McMaster’s Strategic Mandate Agreement with Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. MIRI will aim to meet the aspirations of Indigenous scholars, students and communities with respect to research that supports self-determination, collaboration, and Indigenous values.

During a new era of reconciliation and at a time of rapidly changing systemic reform that is taking place in Indigenous research, education, and policy, McMaster will establish itself as a trusted leader and resource for internal and external stakeholders, including individuals and/or groups looking to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Commission’s Calls to Action.

The five core objectives of the Institute are to:

i. Lead and inform Indigenous research reform at McMaster University as well as across
multiple universities and community environments.

ii. Build and enhance the existing research infrastructure and trusted relationships both at
McMaster University and within the region through the sharing of research expertise,
helping advance understanding of working by and with Indigenous communities, and by
bringing together faculty and researchers across multiple disciplines. It is envisioned that
MIRI’s initiatives will bring together expertise from across foundational and applied
disciplines, Faculties, and affiliated institutions.

iii. Create opportunities for innovative interdisciplinary research, experiential, problem based
student learning, mentorship for undergraduates, graduates and post-doctoral
students. The benefits to this include both the building of Indigenous research capacity
and recruitment of new researchers and faculty to McMaster by using monies made
available by national granting agencies and philanthropic efforts.

iv. Enhance knowledge translation capacity though the building of a digital portal that can
be used to help educate McMaster staff and local community on reconciliation and Indigenous Knowledge,provide meaningful support to researchers, and create best-in-class protocols, practices and policies for research, teaching, and learning at McMaster and beyond.

v. Create and mobilize an information clearinghouse focusing on Indigenous research,
enhance understanding of Indigenous Knowledge and reconciliation amongst both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and position McMaster as a leading authority on Indigenous
research and Indigenous Knowledge, and as a resource for post-secondary Universities across the country and around the world.

Short Courses and Training for Researchers

The McMaster Indigenous Research Institute will provide learning opportunities for McMaster researchers and others who wish to engage in research with Indigenous communities in Canada and beyond.

Working with Indigenous communities requires a specialized skill set in community engagement, community-based participatory approaches, and a thorough knowledge of the current environment in terms of reconciliation and appropriate ethical practices.

MIRI will host workshops, training initiatives and short courses on select topics throughout the year.