First-of-its kind Indigenous Journalism and Communication Degree Launched 

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First-of-its kind Indigenous Journalism and Communication Degree Launched 

March 11, 2024

Treaty 4 Territory – Today First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) launched a degree opportunity that is the first of its kind in North America. 

A new four-year Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Journalism and Communications blends multimedia training with the study of Indigenous issues and languages. 

“The degree is unique and long overdue,” said Dr. Jaqueline Ottman, president of First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv). “We need Indigenous voices and perspectives to tell our stories accurately and respectfully.” 

Ottman announced extra funding to boost the program launch, including $121,000 annually over five years from the Mastercard Foundation, $100,000 annually over three years from the Inspirit Foundation, and an anticipated $10,000 in internship support for the inaugural year from J-Schools Canada and the Google News Initiative.  

This kind of support for the degree reflects a rising trend, according to Shannon Avison, associate professor Indigenous Communication Arts (INCA). “While mainstream journalism employment is in flux, the demand for Indigenous communicators has never been greater,” she said. “We get calls every day from organizations seeking interns and graduates.”  

The INCA program has operated at the certificate and diploma levels for over 40 years, but always envisioned adding a full degree to the suite of options, Avison said. A market study conducted by INCA found 80 per cent of media managers plan to increase Indigenous-focused hiring in the next five years.  

“Having a bachelor’s degree will equip our students to meet the core requirement for these careers,” said Avison. “It will likely also draw interest from the U.S. and internationally, being so unique.”  

INCA diploma student Brittany Poitras welcomes the addition. “Students will really flourish being able to take their whole journalism and communications degree here. It’s such a supportive learning environment.” 

Hannah Scott, a third-year Faculty of Arts student, said she’s happy to finally be able to declare Indigenous Journalism and Communications as her degree major, after taking several INCA diploma classes. 

“All students can benefit from Indigenous-focused learning,” she said. “Reconciliation is a team effort, right? At INCA, everyone is really kind and excited to work with one another no matter their background.”   

Registration is now open and information about the degree is posted at  

Click here for news release.

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