Aboriginal Research

Expected Outcomes
Funding Opportunities


SSHRC continues to recognize aboriginal research as a priority area. The priority area is in recognition of the complexity of the aboriginal experience in the 21st century, and the need for a future in which aboriginal communities are empowered, culturally vibrant, healthy, safe and prosperous. Supporting social science and humanities research undertaken by and with Aboriginal Peoples is a key way to invest in this future.

SSHRC defines aboriginal research as:

research that builds on traditions of thought and experience developed among, and in partnership with, First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada, as well as indigenous peoples in other parts of the world.

Aboriginal research can encompass all academic fields, as well as domains of knowledge specific to First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultural traditions.

Those who conduct aboriginal research, while coming from diverse cultural traditions, are committed to respectful research involving both aboriginal and non-aboriginal perspectives. This understanding of aboriginal research represents a shift away from research on and for Aboriginal Peoples, to research by and with Aboriginal Peoples.

In 2002-03, SSHRC sponsored the national Dialogue on Research and Aboriginal Peoples, which resulted in the report Opportunities in Aboriginal Research . Based on this, SSHRC launched its Aboriginal Research Pilot Program, offering competitions in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009. In 2008, SSHRC engaged First Nations, Métis and Inuit knowledge keepers in setting the direction for its evaluation of the pilot program.

In order to continue to build on the positive outcomes of SSHRC’s funding for aboriginal research to date—that is, in the production of new knowledge and understanding of issues relevant to Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples; in the development of aboriginal research talent, capacity and leadership; and in the mobilization of knowledge to increase the impact of aboriginal research on the lives of Canadians—SSHRC continues to invest in aboriginal research as a priority area.

Expected Outcomes

Research and related activities undertaken through the Aboriginal Research priority area are expected to lead to:

  • enhanced research capacity for aboriginal research; better qualified personnel; better organization and infrastructure; broader and stronger recognition of the unique value and role of aboriginal research;
  • improved equity and inclusivity of support to aboriginal research; encouragement and advancement of aboriginal scholars’ research careers; improved flow of research benefits to aboriginal communities, with funded projects embracing cultural, regional, disciplinary diversity;
  • enhanced capacity for aboriginal communities to engage in and benefit from research; and/or
  • creation of spaces for emergent awareness, ongoing dialogue and relationship–building, and integration of indigenous and non-indigenous research paradigms.

Funding Opportunities

Applicants whose proposals are relevant to this priority area are invited to indicate this in their applications.

Current opportunities are:

Note: All research involving Aboriginal Peoples must be undertaken in accordance with the 2nd edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada.