The Research Office at Mount Saint Vincent University is committed to supporting and promoting research by and with Indigenous peoples. MSVU has a strong commitment to supporting Indigenous students and researchers and collaborating with Indigenous communities – a commitment that is embodied in a diversity of initiatives across University people, programs, infrastructure and policies.

Dr. Adrian Downey

Dr. Martha Walls

Dr. Mary-Jane Harkins

Dr. Mary-Jane Harkins, Professor, Faculty of Education

Research Areas: University, school and community collaborations; globalization; indigenous knowledge and education; literacy assessment and instruction; learners with exceptionalities and inclusive education; teacher education; and international humanitarian issues.

Dr. Shane Theunissen

Dr. Shane Theunissen, Assistant Professor, Department of Child and Youth Study

In June, 2017 I was fortunate to receive a travel grant from Mount Saint Vincent University to travel to Cape Town, South Africa to present at the Pathways to Resilience conference.  I presented on the subject of my recently defended dissertation on Education, Empowerment and Marginalized Communities.  The social, economic and political facets of this subject were distilled from much of my life experience which ranged from my primary and secondary schooling in apartheid era South Africa to being a teacher myself in the primary and secondary schools of a fly in Cree community in Northern Ontario.   It was in these contexts that I learned of the subjugating and assimilating power of colonizing education structures and processes.  It was also in these contexts that I came to an awareness that alternative narratives existed, but, were all too often silenced.  I came to understand that education could be emancipatory.  My work, and my life, has subsequently been directed to this end.

So, in June 2017, when I found myself walking around in the exercise yard outside the cell that once imprisoned Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, I felt the weight of his words “to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others” (Mandela, 2017 p. vii).  These words deeply affirmed my philosophies of life and teaching and have formed the guiding principle for my community outreach and scholarly activity.  It is with a sincere appreciation that I acknowledge how fortunate I am to have my personal principles and intellectual pursuits align with Mount Saint Vincent University’s purpose, vision, mission, while almost preemptively intersecting with the recently released Mount Saint Vincent University strategic themes[1].

[1] The advancement of women and girls, and social responsibility are at the heart of Mount Saint Vincent University’s Strategic Plan and are supported by the seven, interwoven, themes that emerged during the consultation process.

Our Strategic Themes:

Community engagement
Equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility
Truth and reconciliation
A healthy university campus for all
Transformative teaching and learning
Research and scholarly work
Operational excellence and sustainability (MSVU Draft Strategic Plan, 2020 p 7).

Dr. Theunissen’s research: 

Mount Saint Vincent University and Pictou Landing grade 5 and 6 students in collaboration with the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic:

Amplification of Youth Voice:

Dr. Shannan Grant

Coming soon


TCPS 2 (2018) – Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada

This chapter on research involving Indigenous peoples in Canada, including Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples, marks a step toward establishing an ethical space for dialogue on common interests and points of difference between researchers and Indigenous communities engaged in research.

Aboriginal Student Centre

Located at 46 Melody Drive (lower level), the Aboriginal Student Centre (ASC), supports students in an educational and culturally engaging space on the Mount campus. As part of a larger strategy dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for Indigenous students attending the Mount, the ASC is a space where students can meet and chat and also have access to a resident counsellor who can help them navigate any questions or concerns pertaining to their student life.

Aboriginal Student Guide

Our Aboriginal Student Guide is filled with helpful information and resources for Indigenous current and prospective students.

Indigenous Resources - MSVU Library and Archives

A guide to the resources and services of the Curriculum Resource Centre (CRC) in the Faculty of Education. Come visit us in Seton Academic Centre 408.