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Dr. Mark Ruml

Mark  Ruml Title: Professor
Phone: 204-786-9204
Office: 4M30
Email: m.ruml@uwinnipeg.ca


Ph.D. University of Ottawa, Religious Studies (Focus on Indigenous Traditions), 1997.

M.A. University of Ottawa, Religious Studies (Focus on Indigenous Traditions), 1988.

B.A. Specialist, Brandon University, 1986.


Dr. Mark F. Ruml began his teaching career in 1993 at Brandon University, teaching courses related to Indigenous spirituality on campus and at White Bear Indian Reserve in Saskatchewan. In 1995 he accepted a position at the University of Winnipeg, Religious Studies Department and developed Indigenous Religious Traditions into an area of study within the Department.

Respecting and acknowledging their Indigenous knowledge, Dr. Ruml has collaborated with Indigenous Elders since he began his teaching career and has worked towards including Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and Indigenous knowledge at the University. While Chair of the Dean of Arts and Science Indigenous Initiatives Academic Planning Committee (1999-2000), the Committee lobbied strongly to develop an Elders-in-Residence program and Indigenous Language courses.

From 2000-2002 Dr. Ruml developed an educational and healing initiative called “Walking the Red Road: Aboriginal Spirituality, Culture, and History.” The “Red Road” program involved academic educators and Indigenous Elders in the program delivery and combined classroom instruction with sharing circles and healing ceremonies. The program was offered to Indigenous inmates at Stony Mountain Institute and to youth at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre of Winnipeg.

Through the financial support of the President’s Innovative Projects Fund and the Erica and Arnold Rogers Innovative Teaching Fund he invited Indigenous women Knowledge Keepers to the University as part of an Indigenous Women’s Teachings course and speaker series.

When asked to teach the course “Indigenous Thought and Worldview” for the Masters in Development Practice Program, Dr. Ruml recommended that the course be taught by Anishinaabe Elder and Traditional Teacher Dan Thomas. For several years they team-taught this course until eventually Elder Thomas began teaching the course solo.

Dr. Ruml was a co-investigator on a SSHRC grant (1999-2002) “Recovering the Mushkegowak Past: Stories and History from the Hudson and James Bay Lowlands” which led to a Canadian Heritage funded project “The Omushkego (Cree) Oral History Project” (2002-2003). The purpose of the project was to collaborate with Omushkego Elder Louis Bird to digitize his audio-cassette collection of Cree oral history and create a designated website www.ourvoices.ca to house his collection. Dr. Ruml collaborated with a local Indigenous organization on a SSHRC Research Development Initiative titled “Respectful Methodology: Ethical and Procedural Guidelines for Aboriginal Research” (2007-2010), to develop a methodology for future research and to seek input from Indigenous people on possible research topics. His current SSHRC Insight Grant (2018-2023), “Indigenous Spiritual Biography,” seeks to honour the life and teachings of Indigenous spiritual leaders.

In recognition of his service to the Indigenous community President Axworthy awarded Dr. Ruml with the Clarence Atchison Award for Excellence in Community Service at Convocation in 2009.

Dr. Ruml lives in the Birds Hill Park area with his daughters Nina and Santee. When not at work, he and his family can be found on the powwow and ceremonial trail or on the water fishing and tubing.


  • Introduction to Indigenous Spirituality (REL-2801)
  • Indigenous and Christian Encounter (REL-2802)
  • Indigenous Sacred Narratives (REL-2803)
  • Indigenous Women’s Teachings (REL-3/4803)
  • Indigenous Ceremonies and Healing (REL-3/4805)

Research Interests:

Indigenous Spirituality, Culture, and History (especially Anishinaabe, Dakota  and Omushkego); Indigenous Healers; Indigenous Spiritual Biography.


Book Cover for Global Indigenous Health“Vision Questing in the New Forest: Indigenous Spirituality in the Public Sphere and the Cultural Values Underlying the Idle No More Movement.” Social Compass. Volume 67, Issue 1, pp: 59-71, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/0037768619894814

Wic̨ozani Wašte (Good Life): Arthur Amiotte’s Model of the Life Cycle/Ceremonial Cycle and Healing”, Global Indigenous Health: Reconciling the Past, Engaging the Present, Animating the Future, Robert Henry, Amanda LaVallee, Nancy Van Styvendale & Robert Alexander Innes (eds.), 257-274. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2018.

“Coping With Death: Dakota and Ojibwe Mourning Ceremonies and the Healing Process.” Studies in Religion.Volume 45, No. 3, 2016: pp: 292-308.

“The Indigenous Knowledge Documentation Project--Morrison Sessions: The Eternal Natural Laws.” Journal of Religious Studies and Theology. Volume 30, Issue 2, 2011: pp. 155-169. 

“Mitákuye Owás’į (All my relatives): Dakota Wičoni (Way of Life) and Wičozani Wašte (Well-being).”Aboriginal Policy Research: Learning, Technology, and Traditions. Jerry P. White, Julie Peters, Dan Beavon, and Peter Dinsdale (eds.). Volume VI. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing, 2010: pp.187-202.

“Birds Hill Park, the Dakota Eagle Sundance, and the Sweatlodge: Establishing a Sacred Site in a Provincial Park.” Religious Studies and Theology. Volume 28, Issue 2, 2009: pp. 189-206.

“The Dakota Little People and the Tree Dweller Dreamers: A Matter of Respect.” Studies in Religion. Volume 36, Number 3-4, 2009: pp. 507-531.

“Mitewin: Stories of Shamanism and Survival.” With Louis Bird. In Telling Our Stories: Omushkego Voices from Hudson Bay, by Louis Bird. J.S.H. Brown, Paul DePasquale, and Mark F. Ruml. (eds.). Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2005: pp. 87-105.

Louis Bird, Telling our Stories: Omushkego Legends and Histories from Hudson Bay. Jennifer S.H. Brown, Paul W. DePasquale, and Mark F. Ruml (eds.). Broadview Press, 2005. (269 pgs.).