Cross-Cultural Indigenous Knowledge Exchange

Information Session: TBA

Fall Application Deadline: TBA

Normally, we will have information sessions two times per each academic year. Please Visit UNBC First Nations Studies regularly for updates and upcoming deadlines.

The Cross-Cultural Indigenous Knowledge Exchange program (CCIKE) is a three-year pilot project that partners with the Maori education institution Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in New Zealand, known to the Maori as Aotearoa. This international collaboration focuses on Indigenous issues. It is a cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary program. We accept applications from undergraduate and graduate students that are interested in community economic development, social and cultural well-being, language revitalization, knowledge protection, law, health and healing, or environmental issues within Indigenous contexts.

New Zealand

Having participated in the exchange, it is our firm belief that students from both countries will return home with new-found confidence, expertise and determination to implement and share their acquired knowledge and experience.

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship​

QE2 is the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship. It is a scholarship initiative that was created to facilitate community engagement across the Commonwealth. Through this engagement, young scholars are encouraged to learn about different cultures and create projects and actions that impact the world. Scholarships will be awarded to some 2000 students from Canada and other commonwealth countries to fund academic study & internship programs at home and abroad.


Graduate students and/or senior level undergrads nearing the completion of their degree. Due to the nature of the funding however, preference will be given to:

  • First Nation Studies majors
  • Aboriginal students in other disciplines
  • UNBC students studying Indigenous issues
  • Students who earned 3.0 GPA over the last academic year
  • Students who are 35 years or under at the time of application
  • NOTE: undergraduate students are eligible for internship only
  • Graduate students can study, complete and internship or conduct research
  • Both students must stay abroad for a minimum of 90 days


Why apply for the CCIKE program?

This project offers UNBC students in diverse disciplines an opportunity to experience Aotearoa, and Maori culture. The CCIKE Program is a great opportunity to exchange knowledge with other scholars and traditional knowledge-holders in Aotearoa over a period of 3 to 12 months. Students can take courses at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, and/or complete an internship within a Maori organization or community.

Likewise, Maori scholars will come to UNBC to study at the Master’s or the Ph.D level. The incoming scholars will have opportunities to visit Aboriginal communities to expand their learning and to share their own knowledge and experience.

Funding and Expenses

The following levels of Funding are available to applicants who are accepted into the program:

  • 3-6 month scholarships up to $7200 to go towards travel, living and academic expenses in Aotearoa (NZ)
  • 7-12 month scholarships for graduate students up to $9200 to go towards travel, living and academic expenses in Aotearoa (NZ)
  • Students may be expected to contribute up to $1500 for additional expenses

CCIKE Welcome Team

We understand that leaving home, our own communities and/or family can be challenging. This is why we have established the ‘CCIKE Welcome Team’, which is a team of students and faculty members who will assist the students with emotional and academic needs. These individuals can assist with connecting you with the right people, they will help show you the ropes and will be a great listening ear if you need to talk to someone.

Undergraduate Application

The application package should consist of:

  1. Letter of intent (max. 2 pages)
    • Please ensure you full name, UNBC student number, UNBC e-mail and contact information is included.
    • Tell us why you are a good candidate for this scholarship and what you hope to achieve through the internship.
  2. Proposal (max. 2 pages)
    • Describe your area of interest for an internship and indicate potential organizations, communities or the faculty/department.
    • Describe what you hope to bring to the organization/community/department and what role you see for yourself.
  3. Timeline (1 page)
  4. Proposed budget (1 page)
    • Outline foreseeable expenses and sources of funds.
  5.  UNBC Transcript
    • This can be a printed copy from the website but the document must not be older than 1 week prior to application submission.

Applications should be e-mailed to with subject title: QEII Scholarship Application – Your Name

Graduate Application

Normally, we will have information sessions two times per each academic year, but visit UNBC First Nations Studies regularly for updates and upcoming deadlines. 

Application package should consist of:

  1. Letter of intent (max. 2 pages)
    • Please ensure your full name, UNBC student number, UNBC e-mail and contact information is included.
    • Please indicate whether you are applying for an internship, course work or research.
    • Why you are a good candidate for this scholarship.
  2. Proposal (max. 2 pages)
    • Describe your area of interest and indicate potential organizations or communities for research or internship, or potential courses of study at Awanuiārangi; OR
    • A research proposal (2 pgs) that describes the relationship between your thesis research and the proposed research in Aotearoa.
  3. Timeline (1 page)
  4. Proposed budget (1 page table)
    • Outline foreseeable expenses and sources of funds.
  5. UNBC Transcript
    • This can be a printed copy from the website but the document must not be older than 1 week prior to application submission.
  6. Letter of Support from your supervisor.

Applications should be e-mailed to with subject title: QEII Scholarship Application – Your Name

How to get started

Below are some helpful links to start you off:

Past UNBC CCIKE Students

CCIKE Roxanne and Mia
Roxanne Umperville and Pia Pupic

Roxanne  and Mia  are both Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholars who have travelled to Aotearoa (New Zealand) for the CCIKE Program in 2014 and 2015. Roxanne’s internship was in food sovereignty and security and Mia’s internship focused on access to healthcare for Maori communities.

“Our institution is now truly linked with UNBC – the relationship we have with UNBC has been strengthened.  We are also always looking for ways to involve the whole of our community in TWWOA events and activities and having her with us even for a short time meant that to get her into the community we had in many respects, to get back into the community ourselves.  Her first day was spent with one of our elders … and the next day she was out in the gardens at one of our local marae building garden boxes and spring planting.  Everyone who met and spent time with her have good strong memories of her.  We have students now who are keen to travel to Canada and UNBC and perhaps further” Annemarie Gillies, TTWOA project Administrator on Roxanne’s internship in Aotearoa

Mia with Te Makarimi
Mia Pupic with Te Makarini, a Maori Elder

“Everyone at Te Whare Wānangao Awanuiārangi, my placements, and in Whakatāne had such a huge impact on my life. It felt bitter sweet when I came back home because I felt like I left family back, and there is a void in my heart without you all. I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow from the individuals I crossed paths with during my stay in Aotearoa. Not only was I able to exchange knowledge and skills with health care providers, community members, professors, and students, but I also experienced personal healing.  I believe that my stay in Aotearoa has helped me further understand what my purpose Is in this world, who I truly am, and who my ancestors are. The Cross Cultural Indigenous Knowledge Exchange Program was an experience that was beyond all my expectations, and I feel like I came back home a changed person” Mia Pupic, Biomedical graduate of 2016 and CCIKE student


Chrissy in Hyder
Christina Nuku, in front of an Alaska glacier that is rapidly shrinking due to global warming.

Chrissy Eating Salmon
Christina Nuku eating smoked salmon at the John Prince Research Forest on Tl'azt'en territory.

Christina Nuku, our CCIKE Maori Scholar from Aotearoa (New Zealand) spent over two months in the Nass Valley with the Wilp Wilxo'oskwhl Nisga'a Institute learning about Nisga’a governance and education. This is what she had to say about her experience:

“My stay in The Nass so far has been an amazing experience. The Nisga’a people are adept at, (what we would say in my language) mannakitanga (hospitality) and since my arrival I have felt very welcomed into my family at WWN and the community.  I have been spoiled for choice with cultural events, sports events and other things happening all the time here, for a small place, it sure is busy..  My Nisga’a Aunts and family are a wealth of knowledge, teaching me and showing me ways of Nisga’a.  Everyone in the community actually, are very accommodating and forth coming with sharing about the Nisga’a culture. It certainly is, beyond beautiful in the Nass Valley, every day I wake up and stare in wonder at the magnificent Mountains that surround Gitwinksihlkw, and watch the Nass river flow rapidly.  Everything I am learning here I am absorbing into my entire being.  The energy of the land and the people remind me why it is important to protect those things precious to us.  Land gives both bread and dignity being here I see why they fought so hard to protect it.  I am loving my experience thus far and hope to learn and contribute more while I’m still here” -Christina Nuku

Barbara ArmstrongBarbara is an MA student in First Nations Studies and had the opportunity to intern at a Maori community health services organization and with Maori Health Services at the Whakatane hospital. The most profound lessons  she learned were how health can be improved through relationships with the land, the ancestors and family and was also able to witness the importance of language revitalization in establishing those relationships. 

Danielle travelled to Whakatane
Danielle travelled to Whakatane in 2018.  She worked at diverse institutions and schools, mainly discussing Metis issues and bi-cultural identities.

Devin travelled to Aotearoa in the Summer of 2018 to examine Maori language nests and apply the perspectives, methods and techniques to his own Gitxsan community.  Devin was also selected to speak about his experience in Aotearoa at a Governor General dinner in 2017.

Mandy Cormier
Mandy Cormier CCIKE Student 2019
From the beginning, members of the CCIKE program in Whakatane made me feel as though I have already been a part of the community for some time, and not the foreign Canadian student I was. Shortly upon my arrival, there was a pōwhiri (welcome ceremony) for me where I would be introduced to the remaining Wānanga whanau (family/extended family); a term used to describe the collection of lecturers, staff, and students at the university. Despite the few weeks I have been in the country, I have managed to weave myself quietly into the nursing cohorts, classes, functions, and events. I have included below a brief timeline of important dates, including a few details, of experiences I have participated in during my first month in New Zealand. Likewise, I had the opportunity to teach the first-year nursing students for a whole day. I followed the outlines of the course and molded my lecture to fit it. I spoke on Decolonizing Health Care practices with Indigenous Perspectives. I had the opportunity to share a brief history of Canada and the Aboriginal peoples, the work I do in Canada and the ways Canada is moving forward with reconciliation. We also did a group activity around modern (Western) practices of health care and Indigenous practices of health care; this was a very moving activity for the students. Overall, the feedback from the students was that this lecture opened their eyes towards approaches they want to use in their health care career, as well as an understanding of what it means to be an ally.

Shannon Williams
Shannon Williams CCIKE 2019

My name is Shannon and I have been an active member of our university community throughout my entire undergraduate career. I was a vocal member of my student government, participating in different committees and hosting events while in school. Through my experience with the CCIKE program at Te Whare Wanaga o Awanuiarangi, I learned a lot about how the Maori have been working to build their capacity and culture simultaneously through education and governance. Seeing their strength and resilience made me want to be a part of Canada's reconciliation efforts. This motivated me to become a member of our provincial public service, and to work from within government to continue the work of building policy, relationships and opportunities for our Aboriginal communities. I now work in Aboriginal Relations with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, serving the entire Northern Region of British Columbia. I hope to continue to be a member of the public service for many years to come; and to watch our Indigenous communities thrive along the way. 


Questions regarding the program or your application should be directed to: