About Us

Our Mission

The overarching priority of MIRI is to foster research excellence and best practices for all Indigenous related research across McMaster.

The McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI) is a world-class facility recognized for its leadership in the field of Indigenous research.

MIRI is a trusted resource undertaking and facilitating research initiatives with multiple partners by building upon and enhancing existing relationships between McMaster and community networks. MIRI supports interdisciplinary research across McMaster and serves 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 McMaster’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. MIRI facilitates and promotes increased visibility of Indigenous Knowledge and methodologies, creating space for dialogue between Western research approaches and Indigenous research collaborations, supporting both Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, ethics boards, and decision makers in the area of Indigenous research.


MIRI’s focus is enhancing 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 continually endeavours to meet the aspirations of Indigenous scholars, students and communities with respect to research that supports self-determination, collaboration, and Indigenous values.

The five core objectives of MIRI 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.

During a new era of reconciliation in Canada, and at a time of rapidly changing systemic reform that is taking place in Indigenous research, education, and policy, MIRI will directly support McMaster in establishing and sustaining its role as a trusted leader and resource for internal and external stakeholders, including individuals and/or groups looking to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

Training for Indigenous & Non-Indigenous Researchers

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.

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

Please contact us for more information about workshops, training initiatives and short courses on select topics throughout the year.

Our Logo (Nimkii)

Since being hired as the first permanent Director for McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI), Savage Bear had been ruminating about a logo, a unique symbol that would represent the past, present and future of Indigenous research. Savage woke one morning with a clear vision of a little robot with a glowing heart shaped like a strawberry; she immediately reached out to her artist friend, Chief Lady Bird explained her dream, and asked if she could bring it into existence. Two weeks later, Nimkii arrived.

This little robot named ‘Nimkii’, is a symbol of Indigenous research. Nimkii, meaning thunder in Anishnaabe, symbolizes Indigenous futurity which resists stereotypes and assumptions that relegate Indigenous knowledges and Peoples to the past. Also known as the heartberry, because of its shape, Nimkii’s strawberry heart embodies Cree and Anishnaabe teachings of love, compassion forgiveness and harmony. Our Strawberry ceremonies remind us of the responsibilities we have to care for each other, other living creatures, and the land that we live on. Chief Lady Bird’s wonderful addition of lightning is a radiant emblem that reminds us of the creativity of Indigenous research and all its brilliant complexity and diversity.

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