Aboriginal Self-Identification

What you need to know about Aboriginal Self-Identification

What is Aboriginal student self-identification?
Aboriginal students provide specific information about themselves in a voluntary and confidential online survey conducted and kept secure by Lakehead University. The University's Offices of Aboriginal Initiatives and Institutional Planning and Analysis use this data for reporting purposes, to support Aboriginal specific programming, and to plan future initiatives.
Who can self-identify and is proof of Aboriginal ancestry required?
Within the survey, any student of Aboriginal ancestry (First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit, Status or non-Status) can self-identify at any point in his or her studies at Lakehead University. Proof of Aboriginal ancestry is not required to self-identify; Aboriginal identity is self-determined.

***Note: Outside the survey, some Aboriginal programs with special admissions requirements and some Aboriginal specific bursaries and scholarships may mandate proof of ancestry.
Can I self-identify as Aboriginal in more than one group?
Yes. The standard categories of Aboriginal identity, "First Nations," "Métis," and "Inuit," are those referred to in Canada's Constitution Act, 1982. Should you feel that none of these categories accurately reflect your identity as an Aboriginal person, the "Alternative Identity Term" category can be selected for you to generate your own identity term, whether the name of your Nation (e.g. Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Cree (Mushkegowuk), Sto:lo, Nisga'a, etc.) or the name of your community or territory (e.g. Fort William First Nation, Wikwemikong Unceded Territory, Treaty #3, Métis Nation of Ontario, Thunder Bay Métis Community Council, etc.).
I am Indigenous from another country (i.e. other than Canada). Can I self-identify?
The Office of Aboriginal Initiatives and Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services (ACSS) focuses on supporting our Canadian Aboriginal students through specific programs and services. We value, however, inclusivity and welcome your self-identification as Aboriginal in the survey if you are an Indigenous person (as per the United Nations definition at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/5session_factsheet1.pdf) from elsewhere in the world. Lakehead's Office of Aboriginal Initiatives will then reach out to you and, with your consent, add your confidential contact information to our mass email communications list for services available to Aboriginal students.
Why self-identify?
By self-identifying, Aboriginal students can:
  • Strengthen the Aboriginal presence and influence at Lakehead University.
  • Connect with the growing Aboriginal student community on campus.
  • Assist Aboriginal departments to further positive changes to services and supports and create leverage for Indigenous curricula, content and infrastructure.
  • Receive communications about Aboriginal specific opportunities such as scholarships, bursaries, events and career opportunities.

If you choose, you can also add your name and email address to the confidential Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services (ACSS) email membership list. This will ensure you receive information about the following:

Academic workshops
Bursaries and scholarships
Career and employment opportunities
On and off campus events
Cultural events information
Didn't I self-identify when I applied to Lakehead University?
Lakehead University's Aboriginal students have three (3) opportunities to self-identify:
  1. In the Application Process (through OUAC Ontario University Application Centre application)
    You may have "self-identified" as Aboriginal on your OUAC application. However, the OUAC "self-identification" process is separate from Lakehead University's Self-Identification Survey which provides us with more directly accessible information.

  2. During the Registration Process - (As a student admitted to the University)
    When students begin the process of registering for classes the Self-Identification Survey will appear, which students may choose to complete or bypass.

  3. After Registration
    Once you’ve registered for courses, you can access Lakehead’s Self-Identification Survey online through “myInfo”, under your personal profile tab. This means you can self-identify as Aboriginal at any time during your student career at Lakehead.
Why does Lakehead want to know this information?
Lakehead University's Office of Aboriginal Initiatives and the Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis use the Self-Identification Survey data to help guide institutional planning and to help provide effective delivery of programs and services. This process also ensures that we are delivering high quality learning opportunities and being responsive to our students' changing needs and that the University's services and supports are accessible to all Aboriginal students.
How will this information be used and protected? Who will have access to my responses?
Lakehead University is bound by Ontario's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act ("FIPPA") (accessible online at https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90f31) and associated regulations to keep all students' personal information confidential and secure. Only select staff of the University's Offices of Institutional Planning and Analysis, Enrollment Services, and Aboriginal Initiatives, themselves bound to maintain strict confidentiality, will collect and securely store the data provided by the Self-Identification Survey. Survey information that can identify you will thereafter be disclosed only to the extent that you permit. Otherwise, the survey information will be aggregated and anonymized so that no individual can be identified. Only then will such information be passed on to provincial and federal government departments and/or Lakehead University offices and groups who require the information to monitor and improve services to the Aboriginal community in the post-secondary sector in general and at Lakehead University in particular.
What happens when I select "I prefer not to answer at this time"?
If you select "I prefer not to answer at this time", you will be presented with the Self-Identification Survey again at a later point while you are a student at Lakehead – but you will never be compelled to complete the survey.
What if my information changes later on or if I change my mind?
If you wish to remove your Aboriginal self-identification information, you can:

Contact the Office of Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services via email at acss@lakeheadu.ca or visit in person and submit a request.

Note: Data previously reported cannot be changed or withdrawn.
What does it mean if I choose not to self-identify?
Your self-identification will help us to serve you and Lakehead University's Aboriginal community better, but it is not a condition of service. All Aboriginal students are welcomed and encouraged to participate in our on-campus Aboriginal community and encouraged to utilize all services whether or not they choose to self-identify. Please contact the Office of Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services for more information.

Questions concerning any aspect of Aboriginal self-identification may be directed to the Office of Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services at 343-8085.