Urban Studies announces new scholarship for Indigenous graduate students

December 15, 2022

As part of its commitment to supporting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, Simon Fraser University (SFU)'s Urban Studies Program, with the support of a financial gift from the ONNI Gives Foundation, established a new scholarship for Indigenous students entering its graduate program. 

The Making Better Cities Graduate Award for Indigenous Students in Urban Studies was formally announced on November 25 at an info session at the Indigenous Student Centre. Valued at $2500, the annual award will support Indigenous students pursuing a graduate degree or graduate diploma at SFU's Urban Studies Program

"We are eager to welcome more Indigenous students into our Master's and Graduate Diploma programs, and this scholarship will help us to support them," says program director Anthony Perl. "The goal is for students to gain the know-how while combining their Indigenous cultural knowledge, so that they can be the change they want for cities."

This scholarship is made possible by a $100,000 grant commitment from the ONNI Gives Foundation, a donor advised fund established by the ONNI Group. 

"At Urban Studies, we have been thinking about how we can incorporate Indigenous knowledge into our courses and research, and also build Indigenous presence in our programs," says Perl. "To authentically bring local knowledge into our program, it is important to us to involve Indigenous peoples and perspectives."

As part of the program's efforts to indigenize its curriculum, Urban Studies developed a course that examines colonialism in cityscapes through a critical lens. Taught by Kamala Todd who is of Métis-Cree descent, URB 613 - Storyscapes: Decolonizing the City Through Arts and Culture explores the colonialism embedded into the stories, landscapes, and systems of the North American city, and how Indigenous laws, stories, arts and culture hold keys to planning sustainable and equitable cities. 

The curriculum at SFU Urban Studies covers a broad range of critical urban issues in great depth, allowing students the flexibility to engage with the topics that most interest and inspire them. The program's Graduate Diploma in Urban Studies (GDUS) and the Master of Urban Studies (MURB) credentials can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, with most courses held once a week in the evenings at SFU’s Vancouver campus. 

The Making Better Cities Graduate Award for Indigenous Students in Urban Studies will be awarded for the first time to students starting next fall. The application deadline to join the Fall 2023 cohort closes February 15, 2023. To learn more about the Urban Studies Program and the application process, visit: