Shelly Mukwa Musayett Johnson

Wall Associate


Associate Professor


CRC Indigenizing Higher Education


Education and Social Work


Thompson Rivers University

Geographic Location

Shelly Mukwa Musayett Johnson

Dr. Shelly Mukwa Musayett Johnson is Saulteaux (Keeseekoose First Nation-Treaty 4) and Norwegian. In 2017, she became the first Canada Research Chair in Indigenizing Higher Education and an Associate Professor at Thompson Rivers University. Her work is in the areas of Indigenous child well-being, trauma and education, political and Indigenous women’s community-based leadership, justice, advocacy and activism. She is a research advisor to the provincial Siem Smuneem Indigenous Child Welfare Research Network. Her academic and research interests reflect Indigenist and critical approaches that contest racism, settler colonialism, and imperialism in their interaction, creation and maintenance of systems of domination, dispossession, violence, criminalization, expropriation and exploitation.

Dr. Johnson holds a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy from UBC, a Master of Social Work from the University of Northern British Columbia and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria.

Primary Recipient Awards

Shelly Mukwa Musayett Johnson – Early Career Scholars – 2013
Shelly Mukwa Musayett Johnson – International Research Roundtables – 2013
Place, belonging and promise: Indigenizing the international academy Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Shelly Johnson, School of Social Work, UBC. Place, belonging and promise is a five day international Indigenous roundtable to be held on unceded, traditional Musqueam territority. This roundtable aims to address international discourse, tensions, lack of meaningful strategic plan implementation and contested sites related to Indigenous intellectual scholarship, knowledge production, actions and aspirations to "indigenize the academy." Indigenous keynote speakers from Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia will address six core themes: Community engagement (how does the academy engage Indigenous knowledges, peoples, community level); Teaching/learning (how does this differ between academic and Indigenous contexts); Research (how does the academy view differences between University and Indigenous ethics, participants and data); Governance (what does this mean if it is not an Indigenous governance process and no Indigenous peoples are at University governance levels?); Indigenous student success (what does this mean from Indigenous perspectives vs. academic perspectives?; Indigenous cultural determination (how does the academy engage Indigenous knowledges, peoples, and community?) All of these core themes will be discussed in relation to the principles of a) legal sovereignty, b) cultural self-determination, c) activism, d) rights and reconciliation. Place, belonging and promise is encouraged and influenced by five issues including: a) the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, b) UBC's Aboriginal Strategic Plan (ASP), c) the decision to expand on an international level, the actions that began at the recent "indigenizing the academy" conference held at the University of the Fraser Valley in August 2012, d) Dr. Devon Mihesuah's (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) ground-breaking book "Indigenizing the academy: Transforming scholarship and empowering communities" (2004), and e) the decision to expand on the 2012-2013 plan by UBC's Faculty of Education to celebrate the Year of Indigenous Education.