National Aboriginal Day Profile of Tuma Young [2min Read]

Meet Mr. Tuma Young. He is one of Cape Breton University’s only full-time, Aboriginal faculty members. Today on National Aboriginal Day, we recognize Tuma for all he does at Cape Breton University and beyond. He is a part of some pretty amazing things and we are glad to have him as part of the CBU team! Name: Tuma T.W. Young Title: Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies/Political Science, Cape Breton University Background: Mi’kmaq from Malagawatch Reserve. Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Mi’kmaq Studies from the University College of Cape Breton (now CBU);
  • Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia; a Master in Laws in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy from the University of Arizona;
  • Is presently enrolled in the JSD program at the University of Arizona, proposed thesis – L’nuwey Tplutaqan: Using Traditional L’nu Legal Thought in Creating Contemporary Indigenous Governance Institutions

Interesting Facts:

  • Tuma was called to the bar in June 2001, becoming the first Mi’kmaq speaking lawyer in Nova Scotia
  • Currently, he runs a Pro Bono law clinic for students, staff, and community members at CBU
  • Tuma is currently the only full-time Mi’kmaq professor teaching at CBU
  • A Justice of the Peace
  • Tuma is an elected member at large for the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society where he also sits on the Race Equity and on the Code of Professional Conduct Committees. In addition, Tuma represents the NSBS on the Federation of Law Societies Truth & Reconciliation Implementation Committee.
  • In his spare time, Tuma volunteers as a board member of both Nature Canada and the Nova Scotia Bird Society, and sits on the advisory board of the Canadian Water Network. Tuma spends the rest of his free time with his partner Nicolaas working on his photography portfolio.


  • Primary research areas include analysis of L’nu worldview to see how traditional concepts of governance can be utilized in contemporary institution development.  Other research areas include Mi’kmaq ethnobotany, Mi’kmaq ornithology, the Mi’kmaq puoinor Two-Spirit Person, and Mi’kmaq identity.
  • Tuma is currently the co-principal on a research project that is examining the health impacts of Mi’kmaq people living on social assistance, and working with developing a new model of social assistance that will be used in First Nations communities in Nova Scotia.
  • Co-Researcher on a Birch Bark-Oil Project that is a CIHR Catalyst Grant for Indigenous Approaches to Wellness that will combine traditional and community research (using a two-eyed seeing approach) of birch bark-oil ointments in Mi’kmaq communities to mobilize and preserve traditional knowledge with chemistry science for better efficiency and deodorization of birch bark-oil ointment.