Indigenous Learning Fund Pilot 2020

Purpose | Funding | Eligibility | Application Process | Timeline 
Evaluation Criteria | Requirements | Resources | Application


Western’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives builds upon the strategic commitments articulated in Western’s Indigenous Strategic Plan  (.pdf) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action  (.pdf).  These plans affirm the responsibility of universities through their educational offerings, to address the historical and systemic ongoing barriers that Indigenous peoples and ways of knowing face in fully participating in university environments. This work also involves proactively creating space for all people to learn about Indigenous ways of knowing in the academy. The Office of Indigenous Initiatives is deeply committed to building and strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities locally, provincially, nationally, and internationally, and strives to create an academic learning environment where all students, staff, faculty and community members experience the University as a welcoming, supportive, culturally-safe environment in which Indigenous languages and ways of knowing, being and doing are respected.

In keeping with these strategic priorities, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at Western University is issuing a call for proposals for one time, single year grants up to a maximum of $7500 that will advance innovation in Indigenous learning at Western. Funded initiatives must be completed by January 30, 2022.

Purpose of the Indigenous Learning Fund

The purpose of the Indigenous Learning Fund is to advance Western’s Indigenous strategic priorities of excelling in Indigenous teaching, curriculum and learning, and strengthening Indigenous community partnerships and connections.

Potential Initiatives may include:

  • Development/enhancement/review/evaluation of Indigenous courses, *curriculum and resources (existing and new);
  • Professional development initiatives that further faculty and staff perspectives and understanding of Indigenous histories, ways of knowing, and worldviews;
  • Initiatives that enhance partnerships with Indigenous communities in the area of teaching and learning;
  • Pilot projects that test new ideas and promising practices in Indigenous teaching and learning;
  • Indigenous-specific learning workshops, modules, and development of unique educational materials.

*Curriculum is defined as not only formal classroom activities, but also as informal and experiential learning opportunities happening inside and outside the classroom. Such opportunities may be led by faculty, staff, students, and Indigenous community members.

For inspiration, the links below provide examples of initiatives underway at other Canadian universities.

OISE's Aboriginal Peoples Curricula Database  

Indigenous Initiatives at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm  

University of Manitoba Indigenous Initiatives Fund  

University of British Columbia Indigenous Foundations Project


One time, single year grants up to a maximum of $7500 will be distributed on a competitive basis to Faculties, departments, schools, libraries, and/or administrative units (including formal student groups or clubs). Funded initiatives must be completed by January 30, 2022.

The Indigenous Learning Fund will not fund:

  • Major capital expenditures related to renovations or additions to the physical infrastructure.
  • Research activities, including community-based research activities.
  • Existing projects and initiatives that are already underway unless they are to be significantly enhanced, reviewed, and/or evaluated.

Special Circumstances

the total amount can be approved up to $5,000 (for example, participation in the land-based experience you want includes unavoidable costs such as flight tickets).

Please consult with Lauren before submitting an application for the increased maximum funds. 


All Western faculty and staff members in academic and/or administrative units (including formal student clubs or groups) are invited to submit proposals related to Indigenous learning. All proposals must be reviewed and endorsed by a letter of support from the applicable Administrative Unit Head prior to submission. If more than one unit is involved (e.g., partnership between units), signatures from all associated Administrative Unit Heads are required, and a lead unit must be identified to receive the funds and be responsible for financial reporting.

Application Process

Proposals must be submitted using the application format on page 5. Applications must be submitted via email by the deadline September 30 2020 to adding “Indigenous Learning Fund” to the email subject line. Potential applicants are encouraged to review the resources provided in the final section of this document, and to attend an information session to learn more about the application process. The Office of Indigenous Initiatives’ Indigenous Curriculum and Pedagogy Advisor is available to assist applicants with questions (for example help with reaching out to Elders and Indigenous communities) however we respectfully ask that you contact the Office as early as possible in the application process. All proposals will be adjudicated by a committee Chaired by the VP/AVP (Indigenous Initiatives) including a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty, staff and students.


  • Indigenous Learning Fund Call for Proposals: July 1, 2020
  • Online Information Session: Tuesday, August 4, 2020
  • Application Deadline: September 30, 2020
  • Adjudication by Committee: before November 15, 2020
  • Notification to Successful Applicants: December 1, 2020
  • Release of Funds: January 15, 2021
  • Deadline to complete Proposed Initiative: January 30, 2022
  • Submission of Final Report: February 28, 2022

Evaluation Criteria

  • Strong description and rationale for the initiative (e.g. addresses a gap in a particular area).
  • Alignment with Western’s Indigenous Strategic Plan and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action including but not limited to strengthening and building relationships with Indigenous communities; bringing Indigenous peoples’ voices, perspectives and ways of knowing into disciplines and programming; supporting Indigenous pedagogies, land-based learning and/or experiential learning;
  • Clear achievable learning outcomes and goals with timely and measurable outcomes.


Priority will be given to initiatives that:

  • Prioritize Indigenous ways of knowing, land-based learning, and Indigenous languages.
  • Prioritize Indigenous decolonial pedagogies and anti-racist learning approaches.
  • Prioritize Indigenous ethical approaches to working with Indigenous peoples and ways of knowing.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to engaging Indigenous students, Elders, faculty, staff, and local Indigenous communities when appropriate.
  • Demonstrate previous experience and expertise working with Indigenous communities.
  • Demonstrate collaboration between Unit/Faculty/Schools/Libraries and Student Groups.
  • Demonstrate Unit/Faculty/Schools/ Libraries and Student Groups plans to continue and sustain programming afterward.
  • Impact a large number of people (students, staff and faculty members).
  • Positively benefit Indigenous peoples.

Requirements of Recipients

Successful applicants will be required to submit a final report detailing outcomes and spending against budget. Successful applicants will also be required to participate in knowledge transfer initiatives with the goal of sharing best practices.



  1. Brief description of Program, Faculty, Department, School or Student Group requesting funds. (250 words)
  2. Summary of the proposed initiative, including timeline, roles and responsibilities, and potential outcomes. (750 words)
  3. Describe how this learning initiative will contribute and expand Indigenization and/or decolonizing processes at Western, including:
    1. What are the learning outcomes and how do they advance learning in the context of Indigenization, decolonization and reconciliationÉ
    2. How are Indigenous voices informing this learning initiative/approachÉ
    3. How have Indigenous community/communities been engaged in conceptualizing this proposalÉ
    4. What are your plans to continue to engage community in the delivery and evaluation of the proposed initiative? (500 words)
  4. Describe how the proposed initiative aligns with the evaluation criteria. (250 words)
  5. Describe the Program, Faculty, School or Student Group’s commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Indigenous learning initiative beyond the funding period, including commitment to ongoing resources (for example, staff time or funding). (250 words)
  6. Provide a detailed Budget, including other funds from different sources that will contribute to this initiative. (explicitly outline in-kind contributions)
  7. Describe how the proposed initiative will be evaluated and measured in terms of how it defines and measures its success. (250 words)
  8. Any other relevant information related to the proposed initiative. (250 words)