Office of Academic Indigenization

Office of Academic Indigenization

OAI Mural

WelcomeThe Office of Academic Indigenization (OAI) opened in 2017 as part of Mount Royal University’s Indigenous Strategic Plan. Our mandate is to contribute to the implementation of the academic goals listed in the Indigenous Strategic Plan, especially Goal 5: Respectful and Inclusive Curricula and Pedagogies. Guided by faculty, student, and community advisory groups, we provide leadership for curriculum development, professional development for faculty and staff, and academic support for current and prospective students. Our goal is to help decolonize post-secondary education by creating space for Indigenous voices, perspectives and knowledges within Mount Royal.

About us

Renae Watchman, Co-Director

Yá’át’ééh! Tódich’íi’nii éínishłị dóó Kinya’áanii báshíshchíín. Áádóó Tsalagi éí da shichei dóó Táchii'nii éí da shinálí. Naat’áanii Nééz déé’ íiyisí naashá. Dóó Calgary, Alberta, Canada di shighaan. Shi éí Renae Watchman yinishyé.

Hello! I am of the Bitter Water People, born for the Towering House People. My maternal grandfather was Cherokee from Tahlequah, OK, (from the Bird Clan), and my paternal grandfather was from the Red Running Through the Water Clan. I am originally from Shiprock, NM. My name is Renae Watchman. In addition to serving as Co-Director of OAI, I am an associate professor of English, cross-appointed with Indigenous Studies.

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Liam Haggarty, Co-Director (on leave 2018–19)

I am a settler scholar originally from Coast Salish territory, currently known as Victoria, BC. After completing Bachelor and Master’s degrees from the University of Victoria, I moved to Treaty 6 territory for doctoral studies at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. I have been at Mount Royal University since 2011 teaching Indigenous Studies and Canadian history in the Department of Humanities and was appointed as Co-Director of OAI in 2017. I am on sabbatical for the 2018–19 academic year to catch up on some much neglected research projects.

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Kit Dobson, Interim Co-Director

Welcome! For the 2018–19 academic year, I am serving as the Interim Co-Director of OAI. My family comes from settler communities in northern Alberta that straddle Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 territories. This family heritage is composed of people who were variously displaced from western, central, and eastern Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Alongside my role with the OAI, I am an associate professor of English; I teach and write about Indigenous literatures, Canadian literatures, consumer culture, and, increasingly, questions of land and listening.

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Bob Montgomery, OAI Community Engagement Specialist and Administrative Assistant

Bob Montgomery was born on Traditional Blackfoot territory in Lethbridge Alberta. His mother is a Canadian/Settler of Scottish descent and his Father is Métis of Irish/Scottish/Cree descent both of which carry significant responsibilities toward decolonization and honouring of the land and ancestors.

He completed his masters degree examining his Métis ancestry and decolonization in 2015 and is continually seeking ways to address systemic barriers for Indigenous peoples. He is a student of traditional teachings, land, and nêhiyawêwin (Cree language). His passion for Indigenous language revitalization and connection to land stem from a deep desire to support a more ethical society. Bob is also a graduate of Mount Royal University's Eco-tourism and Outdoor Leadership degree. 

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Our Partners

Academic Indigenization Advisory Committee was established in 2016 to facilitate university-community collaborations in curriculum development. The committee meets monthly to plan curriculum development across campus at Mount Royal University. The group includes fifteen faculty members from across the university and twenty community members representing each of the Treaty 7 Nations.
Genuine partnerships between the University and local Indigenous communities are critical to the meaningful implementation of Mount Royal’s Indigenous Strategic Plan. Our work is guided by leaders, Elders and knowledge holders representing each of the Treaty 7 Nations.

One of our priorities is to be a resource to help students achieve success. While the Iniskim Centre continues its important work in supporting students, OAI envisions working with students across the student body who can inform our work indigenizing the curriculum and developing professional development opportunities, and who can participate in future work in areas that promote Indigenous student excellence.

Contact us


The Office of Academic Indigenization is located in T123.