Indigenous ServicesStudent Experience

Aboriginal Self-Identification FAQs

What is Aboriginal student self-identification?

It is a voluntary and confidential online survey to identify Aboriginal students studying at Western University. This process helps Indigenous Services effectively reflect report and conduct future program planning geared towards Aboriginal students.

Who can self-identify?

Any Western student (including those studying at Affiliate Colleges) of First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit (FNMI) ancestry may self-identify. This includes “Status” and “Non-Status” Aboriginal peoples. The term Aboriginal is defined based on the Canadian Constitution Act 1982. Native American students from the United States (U.S.) may also self-identify as Aboriginal.

Why self-identify?

By self-identifying, Western Aboriginal students can:

  • Stand proud and help strengthen Aboriginal presence at the University.
  • Be part of a collective and growing Aboriginal student population on-campus and help effect positive changes.
  • Help Indigenous Services gain a greater understanding of Aboriginal students and be in a better position to enhance programs and services.
  • Connect with the Aboriginal community on-campus by being included in effective communications moving forward.

Do I need to provide proof of Aboriginal ancestry?

No. For complex reasons, Aboriginal self-identification is self-determined. Proof of Aboriginal ancestry is not required to self-identify with Western University.

**Special Note: Western’s Aboriginal Admission Access Category (Aboriginal special admissions process) requires proof of ancestry however this accessible admission process is separate from Western’s Aboriginal self-identification.

For more information on the Aboriginal Admission Access Category refer to:

Didn't I self-identify when I applied to Western University?

There are 3 times that you would be invited to identify as an Aboriginal student:

1)    The Application Process (through the Ontario University Application Centre application)

You may have “self-declared” as Aboriginal on your OUAC application. However, the OUAC “self-declaration” process is separate, and this new self-identification process is unique to Western.

2)    The Admission Process (through Western's Aboriginal Access Admission Category)

During the admission process, you may have been approached by Indigenous Services to take advantage of the special admission route for Aboriginal applicants. This is also a separate process.

3)    The Registration Process - Now (As an officially enrolled Western student)

Upon acceptance to Western, you are given a student number and invited to use Western’s Student Centre. At this time, all students are invited to participate in the Aboriginal Student Self-Identification survey. This is an ongoing process available online under your personal information section.

How do I self-identify?

Go to Western’s Student Centre online by clicking here.

Check under the personal information section of Western’s Student Centre homepage at the top of the left hand corner.

Why does Western want to know this information?

Aboriginal Student Self-Identification data is highly useful because it gives Western a greater understanding of Aboriginal students. When you self-identify, your presence builds the case for future programs and services. Your self-identification also contributes to developing and delivering high quality learning opportunities that are responsive, flexible and accessible to Aboriginal students.

How will this information be used and protected? (What happens to my information?)

The University is currently bound by the Freedom of Information and Protection Privacy Act 1992 to keep all students’ personal information completely confidential. Your information will be securely stored and privy to select Indigenous Services and Registrar staff only. Data collected will be reported as a whole only in the form of aggregate reports. The data collection, storage and reporting is overseen by the Indigenous Services, Student Development Centre (SDC) unit and the Registrar in strictest confidence.  The University would only disclose your personal information to third party such as the Ministry for Training, Colleges and Universities if required by law. 

Can I still access services and attend events at Indigenous Services if I choose not to self-identify?

Absolutely! Indigenous Services welcomes all Aboriginal students to take advantage of our services and programs and encourages students to be active within the Aboriginal community on-campus, regardless of whether they choose to self-identify with the institution formally.  Please contact our office for more information.

I am Indigenous from another country (other than Canada or the United States). Can I self-identify with Indigenous Services so that I can access additional programs and services?

At this time, Western’s Indigenous Services unit focuses its support on Canadian Aboriginal students. However, Indigenous peoples around the world (and non-Indigenous peoples) are always welcome to visit the Centre during regular office hours, and encouraged to participate in our many inclusive community events. Contact Indigenous Services staff for more information.

More Information

Indigenous Services, Learning Resource Centre
Western Student Services (WSS) building (beside Weldon Library)
Room 2100 (2nd floor)