Introducing the MTS --- Indigenous

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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 Studies/Indigenous is 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 been long 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 Native North American context—men and women with earned experience to accompany the academics. To check out the faculty, visit

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


    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/Indigenous, in partnership with Tyndale University College and Seminary, is intended to increase your effectiveness in whatever ministry context you find yourself in - whether teaching, pastoral care or community mobilization.

    The Program offers you courses that include:

    Indigenous Theological Methods
    Theologies in Global Perspective
    Ethics in Intercultural Context
    Theology and Praxis of Pedagogy
    Theology and Ethic of the Land

    This degree is a non-resident degree. Face-to-face time with faculty takes place in the month surrounding the annual NAIITS symposium with summer and winter study cohorts, one-to-one and small group mentorship rounding out the delivery.
  • Details

    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 Native North Americans with doctoral degrees from a wide range of universities and seminaries. Student will learn from professors who are engaged in their own Indigenous communities and are committed followers of Jesus. NAIITS faculty is passionate about providing graduate-level theological education for Indigenous individuals and communities.


    Courses are available in flexible, accessible formats. Online-hybrid options allow student to live in home community. Intensive summer courses 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 student to further tailor the program to his or her own learning and ministry environment.

    Mutual Learning Community

    Student 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. Any on-site courses are offered within the intercultural and denominationally diverse Christian community at Tyndale, located in the easily accessible, multiethnic city of Toronto.
  • Course Framework
    Bible, Theology and History Courses (7)

    BIBL IS01 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.

    NEWT IS03 New Testament Theology and History

    Constructed on the Hebraic narrative of the First Testament, and focused on the restoration of creation to the plan and intent of our Creator’s heart, this course studies the extension of God's work within creation through the person, work, life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus—examined through New Testament history and theology.

    OLDT IS02 Old Testament Theology and History

    A general introduction to the historical, sociological and theological contexts 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 in the Hebrew Scriptures that find parallels in what has been coined by some as the “Old Testament of Native North America.”

    HIST IS04 History of Christianity: Origins to Us

    In various versions of the Christian story, we inevitably read “Christianity: A History of our Civilization.” Such stories are admittedly very often of a stripe with colonial advance, focusing on gospel transmission and church planting from a strictly Euro-centric view. This course will examine that history asking questions about the socio-spiritual location of Indigenous peoples in the Missio Dei which ostensibly drove the enterprise of Church History.

    HIST IS05 History of Christianity: Indigenous Church History and Mission
    Continuing on from Church History: Origins to Us, this course will examine ways in which the Indigenous church has been planted and has grown within North American and other Indigenous contexts. Special emphasis will be given to its growth and development through the various attempts in its history to contextualize or indigenize Christianity.

    THEO IS06 Theology I: Introduction
    The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the tasks and tools of Christian theology, including the development of a common theological vocabulary, so as to understand the nature of Christian faith and acquire the capacity to converse with others in shared terms. An introduction to Indigenous theological terminology will be introduced in the latter part of the course as a bridge to THEO IS07.

    THEO IS07 Theology II: Theology and Ethic of the Land
    During this course students will be immersed in the wider creation in a retreat context with reading prior to and following the retreat. The experience of the beauty and hope of God as immanent within creation will be considered through Indigenous understandings of the land, and the relationship between science and faith. Students will engage current issues such as agriculture, conservation, land use and consumption of natural resources, gaining an understanding of the dual expressions of Indigenous and Hebrew constructs of shalom through which God blesses creation.

    THEO IS11 Ethics in Intercultural Context
    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.

    THEO IS12 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 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.

    Formation Courses (3)

    MISS IS08 Gospel, Culture and Systems Change
    No experience of Christianity has been more culturally damaging than that experienced by 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. Special attention will be paid to contemporary actions within the concept of re-traditionalizing that can be taken as the means of engaging culture as followers of the Jesus Way.

    LEAD IS10 Leadership Development
    This course will engage the student in a variety of discussions on leadership – in the family, community, Indigenous church, and wider society. Special emphasis will be on exploring the praxis of decolonization and growing edge of re-traditionalization as a means of understanding contemporary Indigenous leadership models used in each of these social contexts.

    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 the Western traditions of Christian faith. This course will seek to encourage spiritual growth and development from within an Indigenous framework of understanding of the nature of the spiritual and of spirituality.

    Indigenous Studies Core (8)

    INTD IS14 Cultural Anthropology
    Cultural Anthropology is ostensibly the study of variety in human culture. This course will travel through historical anthropological theory exploring important helpful and harmful trajectories that the discipline of Anthropology has taken, particularly to Indigenous people globally. The course will balance the many gifts Anthropology has given with helpful critiques, particularly from Indigenous scholars and anthropologists.

    CHED IS13 Indigenous Praxis of Pedagogy
    Whereas pedagogy invites the adult to enter the child's world for the child's learning, andragogy acknowledges that a student gains skill, knowledge, and wisdom in a trajectory that leads them from a less mature to a more mature understanding of a given subject. Andragogy therefore uses different methods and different focuses for learning. This course will introduce the student to andragogical method in theology.

    INTD IS15 Indigenous Theology Symposium Seminar
    Annually, the NAIITS learning community comes together in its symposium to explore topics of interest to the wider Indigenous community. Each student will be expected to participate in at least two (2) symposiums and undertake collateral reading and assignments as directed by the faculty, in order to integrate the symposium topics into their program of study. (1.5 credits x 2)

    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 (by consent of Dean and faculty)

    THEO IS07 Indigenous Theologies and Methods
    Building on THEO I, 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 methods.

    INDS Indigenous Studies Elective I
    This course is a guided study approach to subjects of interest to students that provide an opportunity to deepen their understanding of a particular theme. Topics could provide a basis for thesis research if desired and appropriate, and will be determined by the student in consultation with the NAIITS faculty.

    INDS Indigenous Studies Elective II
    This course provides a second avenue for student exploration of topics of interest to individual students in a guided study approach. This second topic could provide an additional basis for thesis research if desired and appropriate. The student in consultation with the NAIITS faculty will determine topics.
  • 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.

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

    Requirements for Consideration

    1. Scholarship awards are 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.

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

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

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    NOTE: Successful applicants are not prevented from applying for scholarships from other sources of funding.

    Download the Scholarship Application form here
  • Apply Now

    We are excited about your interest in studying in the NAIITS/Tyndale program. You may contact the Admissions Office of either NAIITS or Tyndale 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.
    Download Application
    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.

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

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. A personal or tribal authority reference form that describes your relationships with the people and authorities within your community.


    Official transcripts should be sent directly 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 Indigenous 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 or 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.


    If you are interested in residence, complete the residence application form, a medical form, and include a $200 residence deposit. Find these forms at

    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

    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 Tyndale Admissions Office

    I have submitted a request to all previous post-secondary institutions to mail my official transcript(s) directly to the Tyndale Admissions 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

Honoured to be a candidate for accreditation by:

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NAIITS - An Indigenous Learning Community
NAIITS (formerly North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies) is one of two divisions of Indigenous Pathways, a non-sectarian organization dedicated to working together with the Indigenous community to develop and articulate 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 written work addressing biblical, theological, and ethical issues from within Native North American and other Indigenous perspectives. We do so in concert with partners of other ethnicities whom we have invited to speak into this context. NAIITS currently has five degree program partnerships offering undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate programs.
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