Indigenous communities initiative combines traditional knowledge with university-based research to address social and economic issues

Vancouver, BC — The Mitacs Indigenous Communities Engagement initiative is developing new models of collaborative research by combining traditional knowledge and Indigenous research methods with university-based research. This is being done through partnerships with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, and evaluating the models through a limited series of pilot projects.  

The Indigenous Communities Engagement initiative recently received funding support from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas, and Scotiabank.

One pilot project already underway is a partnership between the Sioux Mountain Public School and Carleton University, which is looking at improving life outcomes for young First Nations peoples through organized sports training. This past school year, the Sioux Mountain Public School launched a Hockey Canada-accredited Hockey Skills Academy (HSA) where students participated in on- and off-ice skills development and training. Through a Mitacs Indigenous Communities Engagement project, researchers are working with students to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the HSA and develop recommendations in order to maximize positive impacts on the community.

Through the Indigenous Communities Engagement initiative, Canada’s Indigenous and academic communities have opportunities to develop stronger ties and increased exchanges of knowledge to address important social and economic issues. 


Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“Mitacs recognizes the need for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of Canada to work together to build a better future for Canada. We believe Mitacs research projects can make meaningful contributions in a number of areas, from health and education to culture and economic development. We are honoured to receive this funding to support Indigenous Communities Engagement.”

Jack Wong, CEO, Real Estate Foundation of BC

“Collaboration makes anything possible. The Real Estate Foundation of BC is proud to help support applied research that connects indigenous knowledge and practice, with university-based research. The pilot project we’re funding will enhance collaboration between Nations, universities, and industry that will promote economic development within communities.” 

Stephen Huddart, President and CEO, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation 

“The Mitacs research projects are an opportunity to transform the relationship between Canadian post-secondary institutions and Indigenous communities. Our hope is that these projects will contribute to the wellbeing of Indigenous people and provide valuable guidance for other organizations working with Indigenous communities.”

Tracy L. Austin, Executive Director, Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas

“The Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas is honored to partner with Mitacs and the other funders in support of the Indigenous Communities Engagement initiative. This initiative represents one small step in a journey of reconciliation that must be embarked upon in order to achieve a just and sustainable future for all.”

Ravina Bains, National Director, Aboriginal Financial Services, Scotiabank

“We are proud to support this initiative, where young Canadians of different backgrounds are coming together to share ideas and help make our communities stronger. We believe young people are our future leaders and we look forward to seeing what they achieve through their work with Mitacs.”

Quick facts about Mitacs:

  • Mitacs is a national not-for-profit organization led by Canadian universities that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for more than 17 years.
  • Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.


For information about Mitacs and our programs, see