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Introducing the MTS

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  • Overview
    This graduate theological degree is designed and taught by Indigenous scholars and practitioners. It is the outcome of an innovative, educational partnership between NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community and Tyndale Seminary. The program is approached from a multidisciplinary understanding of Indigenous theology, history and praxis. It will enable student to: encourage others to fully embrace being an Indigenous follower of Jesus Christ; assist a community in following God's call; inspire people to embrace their Indigenous culture; and, learn how to fully engage ministry and its Indigenous context.
    The NAIITS/Tyndale Masters in Theological Studiesis uniquely designed to equip you for a contribution to the Indigenous world— wherever serving your community finds you—on the Rez, the urban core—or somewhere in between!
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    Theology and Indigenous People
    in Conversation!


    Indigenous peoples’ contribution to the theological enterprise has long been absent. Are you being called to change that?

    If so, what better place to prepare than with a theological studies program delivered by Indigenous scholars.
    54 Credit Hours Earns you an MTS

    You will study with some of the finest Indigenous practitioners and scholars in the Global Indigenous context—men and women with earned experience to accompany the academics. To check out the faculty, visit www.naiits.com

    A majority Indigenous faculty
    An Indigenous designed curriculum
    Course delivery with Indigenous methods

    WHY NAIITS?


    As one of a growing community of Indigenous scholars you will work and study with an expanding community of leaders connected to the NAIITS Learning Community.

    Designed specifically to train Indigenous people—and those who work within an Indigenous context—the MTS, in partnership with Tyndale Seminary, is intended to increase your effectiveness in your ministry -whether teaching, pastoral care or community mobilization.

    The Program offers you courses that include:

    Indigenous Theologies and Methods
    Indigenous Theology in Context
    Ethics in Intercultural Context
    Theology and Ethic of the Land
    Indigenous History and Mission

    This is a non-resident degree. Face-to-face time with faculty takes places in the June term surrounding the annual NAIITS Symposium with September and January term study, one-to-one and small group mentorship rounding out the delivery.
  • Details
    Faculty

    Indigenous academic leaders have designed and tailored this degree for Indigenous people and those serving in its communities. More than 80% of professors in the program are Indigenous women and men with doctoral degrees from a wide range of universities and seminaries. Students will learn from professors who are engaged in their own Indigenous communities and are committed followers of Jesus. NAIITS facult are passionate about providing graduate-level theological education for Indigenous individuals and communities.

    Accessibility

    Courses are available in flexible, accessible formats. Online-hybrid options allow students to live in their home communities. Intensive courses at the time of the June Symposium provide face-to-face classroom experience. Wrap-around conference courses related to the NAIITS Annual Symposium stimulate learning with Indigenous theological learners. Elective courses allow the student to further tailor the program to his or her own learning and ministry environment.

    Mutual Learning Community

    Students will join with colleagues who are working in Indigenous contexts and will grow in leadership capacity as relationships are built. The program will provide one-to-one experiences and small-group mentorship.

  • Course Framework
    MTS Curriculum Outline

    Biblical Studies (9 credit hours)

    Biblical Interpretation
    Examines the methods, principles and practices of interpreting the biblical texts. In addition to deepening one’s understanding and use of standard tools of biblical research, the course will contrast Indigenous epistemologies used in hermeneutics with those of Western traditions.

    Hebrew Scripture Foundations
    A general introduction to the historical, sociological, and theological context in which the Hebrew Scriptures came into existence, this course will provide the student with an understanding of the major emphases of the texts. In addition, the student will be introduced to themes of community life and praxis in the Hebrew Scriptures that find parallels in historical Indigenous worldviews of creation and Creator. The course will use community understandings, models and paradigms as a basis for comparison.

    New Testament Foundations
    A general introduction to the historical, sociological, and theological context in which the New Testament Scriptures came into existence, this course will familiarize students with the content and structure, distinctive theology, and introductory matters of the New Testament. in addition, the student will be introduced to the nature of the early Christian community, its transitions and changes from a strictly Hebraic construct as found within the Jewish community, and projections made for its future development.

    Theological Studies (15 credit hours)

    Theology I: Indigenous Perspectives
    This course is a theological reflection focused on the concept of community. It will examine the Christian doctrines of creation, fall, and redemption, identifying God’s community-creating purpose in the world. Other issues examined include evil and the fall in their spiritual and cosmic dimensions, ecology and the cultural mandate. The course will include understandings of the nature and origins of community as portrayed within Indigenous cosmologies and spiritual perspectives.

    Theology II: Theology and Ethic of the Land
    The course will help students to develop an integrated understanding of God, humanity and culture focusing on current debates and their bearing on Christian mission and community. Practical issues such as the relationship between the sacred and the secular, the role of art, the place of work and leisure, and the significance of political engagement will receive particular attention in juxtaposition with Indigenous perspectives in each area. This course is normally taught by an Indigenous instructor.


    Creation and Transformation (Directed Study)
    The centre of Christian theology is Jesus Christ who unites Creator and creation. Therefore, this course will focus on the scriptural and ecclesiastical traditions concerning the person and work of Christ in transforming Creation. This will provide the basis for a discussion about the implication of Christology for the transformation of creation community. Thus, the course will seek to engage the ideas represented by the councils, creeds of past theologies, and then move to examine the theological praxis that resulted in a colonial and post-colonial context.

    Indigenous Theologies and Methods
    This course will delve into unique Indigenous theological contributions to the meaning of Christian faith and life. Utilizing a thematic approach, the intersection of one’s experience with the Creator, the nature of the spiritual, the Gospel story, redemption and redeemer will be explored in contrasting views with Western theological method.

    World Religions
    Jesus followers must be willing to interact and engage with an inquiring mind, in a knowledgeable way and in a Christ-like manner with peoples of other faiths. This course provides an overview of the major World Religions including the place of Christianity in the religious arena. It offers a foundation for understanding the classification of religions as well as the chronological development, adaptation, geographical distribution, worldviews, and cultural impact of world faiths. A summary of major religious innovators/figures, central doctrines/teachings, sacred myths and texts – including potential emerging world religions – will lead into a discussion concerning appropriate Christian responses to the world’s religions and their adherents. Indigenous values such as respecting others and story-telling are central to the approach utilized in this course.

    Christian History (6 credit hours)

    History of Christianity I
    The history of Christianity up until close to the present time will be examined. This course will look at traditional historical accounts critically in order to look beyond a perspective that marries the church and its outreach with colonial expansion. The place, treatment and mistreatment of peoples – including Indigenous peoples – will be examined in detail.

    History of Christianity II: Indigenous History and Mission
    Continuing on from History of Christianity I, this course will examine ways in which the Indigenous church has been planted and has grown within Indigenous contexts. Special emphasis will be given to its growth and development through the various attempts in its history to contextualize or indigenize Christianity.


    Skill Development (15 credit hours)

    INTD IS17 Indigenous Research and Writing
    This course covers all aspects of research and writing at an academic level. The student develops their voice as an academic writer by learning how to identify and use rhetorical strategies in writing. The course will also explore the specific needs or concerns of Indigenous writing and research methods including protocol. Other topics covered are: proper citation and bibliography formatting, grammar, crafting solid thesis statements, building a line of reasoning and other organizational strategies of formal research papers, finding and interacting with quality primary sources and how to synthesize and interact with secondary sources in an academic essay. 

    SPIR IS09 Indigenous Spirituality and Formation
    Indigenous understandings of the nature of the spiritual and of spirituality differ in many respects from those commonly held within Western traditions of Christian faith. The focus of the course, therefore, is to introduce the student to the ways in which Indigenous people participate as followers of Jesus in a manner that is authentic to their own cultural understandings, seeking to encourage spiritual growth and development from within such an Indigenous framework. This course will also discuss the appropriation of what has been perceived to be Indigenous spirituality by non-Indigenous people as well as a brief focus on what can be effectively learned from Indigenous understandings of the spiritual.

    INTD IS15 Indigenous Symposium Seminars
    In order to foster deeper relationship, more effective academic engagement, and an overall greater involvement within the NAIITS community, students are required to attend two symposia as they progress through their studies. They will be required to participate in the concurrent seminar, and complete required assignments. Students will only register for the course at the time of their second Symposium following which, grades assigned to first and second Symposium work will be recorded.

    CHED IS13 Indigenous Practice of Andragogy
    Andragogy is the study of methods, epistemologies, philosophies and contextual understandings of education that pertain to and enhance an adult-focused learning environment. This course will introduce the student to andragogical method as a theological framework and a contextual teaching practice, exploring the theological, philosophical, and pragmatic underpinnings of teaching. The course will also introduce the student to a variety of strategies to advance their development as a teacher.

    INTD IS16 Integrative Project
    Normally, within Indigenous contexts of learning, integration of new experiences takes place more simultaneously. Compartmentalized approaches to knowledge, which require an integrative course, would be less normative here than in Western traditions. However, to provide an opportunity for students to continue the process of integrating what they have learned in the program with what they already understand, a project selected together with the NAIITS faculty will be undertaken to provide that opportunity.

    Electives (9 credit hours)

    INTD IS22 Colonization and Decolonization
    This course focuses on contemporary theories regarding colonization and decolonization emerging out of Indigenous studies, critical ethnic studies, and post colonialism studies. Attention is paid to the relationship between race, colonialism, and gender. Students will explore how these theories intersect with Christian theologies and spiritual practice. This course will consider the critiques made by Indigenous and postcolonial scholars of the methodological approaches used in the humanities and social sciences for their complicity in colonialism. It will examine various attempts to “decolonize” methodology and to construct Indigenous and postcolonial methodological approaches to society and community. Students will work to develop their own philosophical and methodological approaches to decolonization.

    INTD IS14 Cultural Anthropology
    Trajectories in the study of anthropology have been helpful and hurtful, particularly to Indigenous people globally. In this course, participants will explore a variety of historical anthropological theories. The course will explore anthropology as a discipline, and invite other worldviews to contribute to the shaping of anthropological theory and practice for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

    MISS IS08 Cultures and Change
    The experience of Christianity has often been culturally disastrous for Indigenous peoples. Through the process of decolonization and indigenization this course will examine how Indigenous people live a biblically informed Christian faith in the context of Indigenous cultures. Perceptions from various disciplines will be sifted for insights to inform followers of the Jesus Way toward constructive action as change agents.

    THEO IS11 Ethics in Intercultural Context (Directed Study)
    This course is an intercultural, contextual introduction to central issues in Christian ethics, with attention to the way in which moral reflection interacts with philosophy and culture. The course explores biblical-theological foundations for ethics, the role of scripture and Jesus’ example in ethical formulation, and deals with major contemporary topics including gender, sexuality, marriage, euthanasia, war, bioethics, wealth and poverty.

    LEAD IS10 Indigenous Leadership Development
    This seminar course will introduce students to concepts of leadership, organizational change theory, and skills required to lead organizations and communities in the context of changing demographics. The emerging practice of diversity as central to leadership theory and practice, the holistic nature of diversity, social justice within a diverse society, and the role these have in contributing to effective and appropriate leadership will be explored to gain an informed understanding. Reflection on multicultural, and intercultural perspectives and partnerships, specifically, those between Indigenous Peoples and Western culture is a focal aspect of this course. Leaders require knowledge, skill and attributes that support inclusion and promote unity.

    BIBL IS## Studies in a Holistic Gospel (Directed Study)
    The course will explore how the body and soul dualism, out of which much Christian mission operated in the past (i.e. saving souls only), has proved inadequate and damaging to many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples in Canada. In this course, participants will explore and participate in developments in Christian missiology, in order to provide a more robust understanding of the nature of the gospel.

  • Scholarship Applications
    Scholarship Application

    While not guaranteed, NAIITS attempts to offer a tuition-directed scholarship for the MA program(s), which is made available through the generosity of faculty and friends. If you believe you might qualify for the scholarship, you are encouraged to apply according to the following guidelines.

    BASIC AWARD
    $100 per credit hour taken per award period deemed eligible to a maximum lifetime
    award of $5000.


    Requirements for Consideration

    1. North American based scholarship awards re directed primarily toward Native North American, then other Indigenous peoples – in that order. Non-Indigenous students may apply and be considered, but will not be guaranteed.

    1. Scholarships will be awarded solely at the discretion of NAIITS faculty and/or administration, which may make other awards as deemed appropriate.

    1. Students must be enrolled or accepted into one of the NAIITS degree programs.

    1. Students must be enrolled full time in two consecutive semesters for the year in which the scholarship is being awarded. Full-time status for degree programs is considered reached at 6 hours per semester.

    1. Students must reapply for scholarships each year. NOTE: Subsequent withdrawal from courses to below the above level, or failure to complete courses in the semester for which the award is given will disqualify the applicant from reapplying for one full year.

    1. Applications must be received by March 1st to be considered for the April 30th awards and by July 1st to be considered for the August 30th awards respectively.

    1. Students who are applying for other student aid in their country of residence must complete and file required documents personally – they will not be filed by NAIITS.


    Download the Scholarship Application form here
  • Apply Now
    ADMISSION PROCEDURE

    We are excited about your interest in studying in the NAIITS/Tyndale program. Please contact the NAIITS
    Admissions Office if you have any questions or concerns.
    Application Fees:

    $50 North American application fee
    $150 Non-North American application fee

    PLEASE NOTE: These fees are non-refundable
    Application Essay Questions:

    Please answer each of the following questions on a separate sheet of paper and attach to this application. Please use complete sentences:
    1. In 300-500 words, relate your spiritual pilgrimage, assessing strengths and weaknesses.Describe your journey as a follower of Jesus.
    • If Jesus is not part of your journey, please explain other spiritual commitments that may affect your ability to study in this program.
    • Indicate how your relationship with Jesus affects your personal conduct and lifestyle.In 300-500 words, briefly describe your present vocation of ministry, highlighting your key ministry-related (a) problems, (b) areas of interest, (c) and long-term goals.
    2. In 200-300 words, describe why you are pursuing an advanced degree and what you hope to gain.
    3. Describe briefly any business, professional or other significant vocational experience that might help us in assessing your application.
    References:

    The following three reference forms are to be sent directly to the Admissions Office (reference forms are attached).

    • A pastoral/ character reference completed by your pastor or leader from your church or religious organisation who can assess your personal qualities and suitability for seminary studies.
    • An academic or employer reference completed by a professor familiar with your academic performance. If you have been out of school for sometime, your employer may submit this reference.
    • A personal or tribal authority reference form that describes your relationships with the people and authorities within your community.


    Transcripts:

    Official transcripts should be sent directly to NAIITS from each post-secondary institution you previously attended. If you are unable to obtain your transcripts, please contact the Admissions Office.

    Program Information Supplement:

    Applicants to the Master of Theological Studies program must complete the supplemental information questions appended to this application.

    English Language Requirement:

    Applicants whose first language is not English and who have not studied for three years in an English speaking secondary or postsecondary institution (where English is the language of instruction and examinations are completed in English) must submit proof of English language proficiency by completing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of Written English (TWE) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Go to www.toefl.org or www.ielts.org for further information about these tests. An interview or a Language Writing and Diagnostic Test administered by Tyndale may also be required at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.

    Residence:

    If you are interested in residence, complete the residence application form, a medical form, and include a $200 residence deposit. Find these forms at
    www.tyndale.ca/go/residenceapp.

    Medical Form:

    A medical form must be completed by those individuals applying to live in residence, and by international applicants. This form does not need to be completed by your physician. This form is available at
    www.tyndale.ca/go/medform.

    Application Checklist:

    The following checklist will assist in ensuring that all application requirements have been have completed:

    I have answered all applicable questions on the application form.
    I have included a check or money order, or have paid my application fee in person or via phone.
    I have submitted my responses to the essay questions on a separate sheet of paper.
    I have delivered all reference forms to my referees and request they send the completed forms directly to the NAIITS office address on the form.


    I have submitted a request to all previous post-secondary institutions to mail my official transcript(s) directly to the NAIITS office.
    If applicable, I have had my TOEFL and TWE or IELTS scores sent to the Tyndale Admissions Office.
    If applicable, I have submitted my residence application and deposit.
    I have submitted my completed medical form.
    I have completed and included my program supplementary questions section.

    Your application, fee(s), and all supporting materials must be sent directly to

    NAIITS/Tyndale Admissions
    PO Box 1169
    Montague, PE C0A 1R0, Canada.

    Questions? Email
    admissions@NAIITS.com

Honoured to be a candidate for accreditation by:

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NAIITS - An Indigenous Learning Community
NAIITS An Indigenous Learning Community (formerly the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies) is one of two members of Indigenous Pathways (IP), a nonsectarian, non-profit organization dedicated to working together with the Indigenous community NAIITS’ focus within IP is the development and articulation of Indigenous perspectives in theology and practice. We encourage Indigenous learning styles and world views in our instruction as we facilitate the development of a body of work addressing biblical, theological, and ethical issues from Indigenous perspectives. NAIITS currently has five program partnerships offering graduate, and post-graduate degree or award programs.
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