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Shane Young

Assistant Professor of Social Work and Academic Coordinator, Indigenous Knowledges and Experiences Certificate
EducationBSW, MSW, PhD Candidate (Trent)
OfficeEPH-241, Eric Palin Hall
Phone416-979-5000, ext. 556220

Shane is a social worker, educator, PhD Candidate (Trent), and Joseph-Armand Bombardier Scholar of Mi'kmaw and Newfoundland settler ancestry. He is a member of the Qalipu First Nation on the southwestern coast of Newfoundland, where he was born and raised, and has been living in Tkaronto since 2006.

Shane's main research focuses are critical Indigenous studies, urban Indigenous identities, colonial and decolonization theories, Indigenous research and knowledge methodologies, and Indigeneity. Shane's doctoral research focuses on the development and maintenance of Mi'kmaw identities on the Island of Newfoundland. Further, emphasizing the impacts of colonial interferences on Indigenous identities through processes of settler colonialism and unearthing ways in which resurgence can create personal and cultural sovereignty.

Shane’s professional social work practice has been in educational and community-based settings, with a strong background in building relationships with service groups and organizations in the broader community with the aim of providing services to diverse populations. His work has included populations that experience systemic marginalization and oppression, in areas such as; Deaf culture, homelessness, mental health and addictions, child welfare, and Indigenous communities.


  • CINT 910: Indigenous Peoples, Politics and Reconciliation
  • CINT 922: Introduction to Indigenous Worldviews
  • CINT 923: Canada’s Story: An Indigenous Perspective
  • CVSW 15A: Foundations of Social Work Practice II


  • SWP 201: Preparing for Social Work Practice
  • SWP 301: Decolonizing Anti-Oppression Social Work Practice
  • SWP 435: Indigenous Approaches to Social Work
  • SWP 933: Indigenous Health and Wellbeing


  • SK 8208: Indigenous Knowledges in Social Work

Course Coordination:

  • SWP 435: Indigenous Approaches to Social Work
  • SWP 301: Decolonizing Anti-Oppression Social Work Practice

Shane’s current research, Politics, Identity, & Relations in the Development of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation in Taqamkuk (Newfoundland), is a twelve-month pilot project that will further develop his research program. It expands the concept of a cultural critique of dominant, modern relationships to "identity and authenticity" to include the 2017 federal government’s decision to review the founding list of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation of Southwestern Newfoundland. Moreover, to unearth the implications of the points-based criteria to authenticate what constitutes Indigeneity or "Indianness" under the Indian Act. This research is an extension of his previous master’s degree research, Are You Native Enough? An Analysis of White Passability Among Indigenous Peoples in an Urban Context.

Shane’s doctoral research undertakes a cultural critique of dominant, modern relationships to "identities" through a cross-cultural philosophical engagement with certain Indigenous (North American) traditions of thought. Focusing on the definition of Indigenous relational ontology as ‘being with' all parts of creation, as an interrelated and interconnected part of the living, non-living, animate worlds, and particularly land. This essence of ontology further incorporates and acknowledges current colonial constructs of identity and ways in which Western worldviews effect and continue to interfere with Indigenous identities construction and maintenance on an individual and communal level.

Research interests:

  • Critical Indigenous Studies
  • Urban Indigenous Identities 
  • Indigeneity
  • Indigenous Research and Knowledge Methodologies
  • Colonial and Decolonization Theories 
  • Social Justice
  • Mental Health and Wellness

Selected Publications: 


  • Young, S., N. (2019). Attaining Wholeness Through Re-claiming Indigenous Identity & Spirituality. In George Sefa Dei, Rose Torres, and Dionisio Nyaga, eds., Transversing & Translocating Spirituality: An Epistemological, Theoretical and Pedagogical Conversation.Palgrave Macmillan. Accepted and Forthcoming.

Journal articles:

  • Schmind J., Morgenshtern, M., & Young, S., N. (2019). Towards Contextualized Social Work Pedagogy. Accepted and Forthcoming.
  • Young, S., N. (2017). Are You Native Enough? An Analysis of White Passability Among Indigenous Peoples in an Urban Context (master’s thesis). York University, Toronto, Canada.