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About Us

Yellowhead Institute generates critical Indigenous policy perspectives.

Yellowhead Institute is an Indigenous-led research and education centre based in the Faculty of Arts at Toronto Metropolitan University. The Institute privileges Indigenous philosophy and amplifies Indigenous voices that provide alternatives to settler colonialism in Canada today. Rooted in community networks, Yellowhead offers critical and accessible resources to support the reclamation of Indigenous land and life.

Our Objectives


Supporting movements toward the restoration of Indigenous sovereignty.


Training, mentoring and learning from the next generation of Indigenous leaders.


Translating knowledge into open-source and accessible tools and resources.


Holding governments and institutions accountable for decisions that impact Indigenous peoples.


Building relationships with Black and racialized communities towards decolonial futures.


(Re)-centring feminist, queer, trans, and 2-spirit leadership in Indigenous politics and policy.

Why Yellowhead

The relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canadians has been characterized by old, paternalistic, and racist policies, and corresponding apathy and neglect. Yet, the resistance of Indigenous peoples continues to grow and there is an acceptance among Canadians that change is required. This is a tremendous opportunity. The challenge is ensuring the change is transformational. Yellowhead Institute plays an important role here, holding governments accountable, advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples, and developing models of change that support Indigenous futures.

About Chief William Yellowhead

William Yellowhead (1760-1865), known as Misko Aki or “Red Earth”, was an Anishinaabe leader in what is now Southern Ontario. His traditional territory stretched from East Toronto, through Lake Simcoe, and to hunting grounds in Muskoka, Ontario (the township is named after Misko Aki). Originally a British loyalist during the War of 1812, Yellowhead later led his people through some of the most oppressive periods of British colonization. This included resisting one of the first reserve experiments in Ontario and numerous fraudulent land surrenders. Yellowhead defended Anishinaabe jurisdiction against British encroachment, was an advocate of inter-national Indigenous unity and treaty-making, and preserved Anishinaabe ceremony and philosophy, even after adopting elements of Christianity. Yellowhead eventually founded and spent much of his later life on Rama First Nation (Mnjikaning).

With support to name our Institute after Chief Yellowhead from the Yellowhead family as well as the Rama First Nation Chief & Council, we strive to honour the legacy of Misko Aki.

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Yellowhead Institute is supported by the Faculty of Arts at Toronto Metropolitan University.

We are also grateful for our ongoing partnerships with the Laidlaw Foundation and Inspirit Foundation.

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The research and publications on this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 Canada Licence.

The images (artwork and photography) on this site are licensed or commissioned by Yellowhead Institute. They are not to be used or reproduced without express permission from the Institute.