National Indigenous University Senior Leaders’ Association (NIUSLA)

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National Indigenous University Senior Leaders’ Association


The purpose of the National Indigenous University Senior Leaders’ Association (NIUSLA) is to bring together Indigenous senior administrative leaders from academic institutions, who have a University or Faculty/College/School-wide mandate, to network and to engage in constructive dialogue and actions that pertain to the roles and responsibilities of leadership within the academic university context.

NIUSLA members will have the opportunity to request and share experiences and information, provide recommendations, and identify areas of success and need within post-secondary institutions. 

NIUSLA will strive to achieve its goals by working collaboratively, encouraging, and promoting expressions of self-determination, and leaning into the strengths of its members within non-Indigenous university contexts. The goals of NIUSLA are to:

  • be the national network for Indigenous senior leaders within universities;
  • share resources and processes that support Indigenous leadership;
  • create initiatives that advance the goals of NIUSLA;
  • participate and contribute to the Canadian post-secondary policy landscape on Indigenous priorities; 
  • operate within and honour Indigenous knowledges systems; and
  • advance issues and concerns of Indigenous peoples (faculty, staff, students, community members and leaders).


Indigenous senior leaders with a university, college or faculty-wide mandate are invited to join NIUSLA.

The term ‘Indigenous’ refers to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada and the United States mainland.


  • Dr. Christy Bressette – Western University
  • Lori Campbell – University of Regina


  • Outgoing Co-Chair – Ms. Denise Baxter – Lakehead University
  • Executive Member – Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann – First Nations University of Canada
  • Executive Member – Dr. Shauneen Pete – Royal Roads University

Meet NIUSLA’s Current Membership

Terms of Reference

If you would like to become a member, please contact Co-Chair Ms. Denise Baxter.

2nd National Indigenous Citizenship Forum

The First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), in partnership with the National Indigenous University Senior Leaders’ Association (NIUSLA), was honoured to host the 2nd National Indigenous Citizenship Forum: Moving Beyond Indigenous Self-identification at Canadian Post-secondaries.

The Forum was held on March 21st and 22nd, 2023 at the Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina, Treaty 4 Territory, as well as online for virtual attendees.  Videos of the event and post-forum report will be posted to the Forum Website shortly. Please visit for further details.

The 1st and 2nd Forums were an Indigenous-only space to continue the important discussions around best practices for validating citizenship for Indigenous-specific opportunities at academic institutions.

This year, we programmed presentations, panels, and conversation circles with Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers, staff, students, and academics from across Canada. Featured speakers include Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann (Saulteaux), President of the First Nations University of Canada and NIUSLA co-chair; Jean Teillet (Métis), Senior Counsel with Pape Salter Teillet LLP and specializes in Indigenous rights law; Dr. Kim TallBear (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate),  and Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience, and Society in the Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta.

Forum participation and attendance was limited to invited Indigenous individuals who are connected with post-secondary institutions.

Thank you to our sponsors!

National Indigenous Identity Forum 2022

Final Report – March 2022

Indigenous Voices on Indigenous Identity

The Final Report from the inaugural National Indigenous Identity Forum was released on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Indigenous Voices on Indigenous Identity summarizes What Was Heard throughout the 2-day virtual forum held March 9 and 10, 2022.

The Report covers the intent of the Forum, key highlights of the panel discussions, Elders’ videos, and conversation circles. Recommendations from this report include hosting a second two-day hybrid event. 

On March 9 & 10, 2022, the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) in partnership with the National Indigenous University Senior Leaders’ Association (NIUSLA), will host the first National Indigenous Identity VIRTUAL Forum.

The Forum plan will include discussions of wise practices for validating identity for Indigenous-specific opportunities at academic institutions and setting the stage for ongoing dialogue.

The two-day Forum is an Indigenous-only safe space that is urgently needed for Indigenous university campus members to gather for constructive and respectful dialogue.

In the era of truth and reconciliation and UNDRIP, hosting such a dialogue allows us to develop the frameworks, principles, guidelines, wise practices and procedures to determine citizenship or ancestry requirements for Indigenous Peoples status within the Canadian post-secondary context.


Co-Hosts and Presenter Profiles

Witness Role


Waniska Film

March 9, 2022

Welcome, Opening, Sinclair Keynote
Panel 1 – Legal
Panel 2 – Identities

March 10, 2022

Opening and Panel 3
Panel 4
Willie Ermine
Witnesses and Closing

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