Pjila’si (Welcome) Indigenous Students
Saint Mary’s is in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People (L’nuk). This territory is covered by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship, which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The Treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact, recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations. In particular, Saint Mary’s is stood in Halifax, NS, which is traditionally known as Kjipuktuk (the Great Harbour) in L’nui’suti, the native language of the L’nu.
Pjila’si (ip-juh-lah-see or juh-lah-see) is the Mi’kmaw word for welcome. What it literally means is to come in and take your place, as in we all have a place in the world, or in the circle, where we are meant to be.
For more Mi’kmaw language learning, check out L’nui’suti by Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey on the App Store.
Indigenous Student Supports
Meet Elder Debbie Eisan from Batchewana First Nation
Anishinaabe-kwe of Batchewana First Nation, Elder Debbie Eisan, pictured right, is a resourceful community Elder in the urban Indigenous community in Halifax as she is an Elder-in-Residence at the local Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre. Elder Debbie works closely in collaborative efforts with SMU in Student Services and the Indigenous community on campus to support students embarking on their post-secondary journey to create a sense of home away from home.
Meet our Indigenous Student Advisor
Our Indigenous Student Advisor supports and engages Indigenous students at Saint Mary's University. They develop programming and services for Indigenous students, make connections to facilitate the transition to university, and develop Indigenous-specific programming to engage students in campus life throughout their academic careers.
Wolastoqiyik “people of the beautiful river”
Skicinuwi Ekehkimut Mihkukemit
Indigenous Student Advisor | Student Affairs and Services
Burke Building, 1st Floor, Room 114
Saint Mary’s University
The Community Drum
The Saint Mary's University Community Drum is a resource available for all Saint Mary's students, faculty, and community members to engage, embrace, and celebrate L'nu and Indigenous cultures. The Community Drum can be used for SMUSA and Saint Mary's events, ceremonies, and other campus celebrations, as well as by Saint Mary's faculty to implement in their pedagogy and university classes.
The Community Drum can be utilized at no charge by contacting the SMUSA VP Advocacy at email@example.com or the Indigenous Student Advisor.
Indigenous Student Society (SMUISS)
Our goal as a society is to enhance the experience for Indigenous students at Saint Mary's University. Creating a sense of community for Indigenous folks on campus where students can have a safe space to share experiences, stories, knowledge, concerns, and ideas with one another. Meet fellow Indigenous SMUdents and make some new friends! Every Indigenous-identifying student is welcome at SMUISS.
Located in the Indigenous Student Lounge, Burke 113
Currently, smudging is permitted in several buildings and rooms that are equipped with proper air ventilation. At least 2 business days’ notice must be given to Facilities Management to accommodate the procedure of disabling smoke alarms. For a list of permitted areas, please refer to the Smudge Policy or contact Conference Services firstname.lastname@example.org.
Burke 114 is now available to smudge without notice if the air exchange is turned on.
Indigenous Student Lounge
The Indigenous Student Lounge is a space for Indigenous students to connect with one another. Drop in to plan an event, study, craft, play board games, or hang out with friends. Both rooms are locked with a passcode. Contact the society or Student Services for the passcodes.
Located in Burke 113 & 114
Open during campus hours
Indigenous Bursary Search Tool
The Indigenous Bursaries Search Tool is a searchable list of 520 bursaries, scholarships and incentives aimed at Indigenous students across Canada. Search for a bursary now.
Additional Indigenous Student Resources
Indigenous Visiting Fellow
Ryan Francis, the university's first Indigenous Visiting Fellow, completed a two-year fellowship with the Faculty of Arts and the Centre for the Study of Sport and Health (CSSH). Part of the fellowship includes working with Saint Mary's and organizers of the North American Indigenous Games, postponed in 2020 but now scheduled to take place July 15-23, 2023 in several locations in Kjipuktuk (Halifax) and Millbrook First Nation.
Working directly with Jim Hepworth BComm'95, CEO, The Confederacy of Mainland Mi'Kmaq (CMM) Development Corporation, SMU students enrolled in the Sobey School of Business MBA Responsible Leadership course are working in the partnership with CMM on five Service Learning Projects of value to the organization. These consulting projects give our students great opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills while helping to advance CMM's mission.
Please visit our Indigenous Community Website to learn more about the Indigenous community engagement and environment at Saint Mary's University, including our welcome to new students, Wisqaptmumk Saint Mary's, and for more information about event news and events.
Find out more
- Elevating Indigenous Businesses
- Ta'n Weji-sqalia'tiek Mi'kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas and Website Project
- Download the Indigenous Student Handbook