Accessible Timeline

IERC, Indian Education Resource Centre Opens

Construction of First Nations Longhouse
IERC Archives Fonds (PDF, 418KB)

Launch of NITEP, Native Indian Teacher Education Program

British Columbia Native Indian Teacher Association (B.C.N.I.T.A.) and UBC Faculty of Education create the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP).

Learn more about NITEP

Verna J. Kirkness Joins as NITEP Director

Verna J. Kirkness (born in Fisher River Cree Nation) joined as Director of NITEP in the year 1981. When Kirkness joined the faculty at the University of British Columbia in 1981, she was appointed director of the Native Teacher Education Program where she "worked to extend new programs, support services and cultural enrichment to Aboriginal students, providing leadership for the Native Teacher Education Program (NITEP) and creating the Ts’Kel Graduate Program. Kirkness became the first director of UBC's First Nations House of Learning in 1985 and she was also instrumental in the conception and construction of the First Nations Longhouse which opened on the campus in 1993. She established the First Nations House of Learning administrative unit. She led the fundraising campaign efforts for the building of the First Nations Longhouse and X̱wi7x̱wa Library. Some of the awards She received were Order of Canada 1998, Order of Manitoba 2007, Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal 2003.

More about Verna J. Kirkness Fonds (PDF,450KB)

Launch of Ts"Kel Program by Verna J. Kirkness

Ts’‘Kel, which means golden eagle in the Hal’qemeylem language, was originally established in 1984 as a program of study leading to a Master of Education in Administration. Ts’‘Kel students are engaged in interdisciplinary research on social and educational topics related to schooling, Aboriginal community development, and historical and theoretical work that has a direct relationship to First Nations health and welfare.

Ts’‘Kel is an integrated program for advancing Aboriginal access and Indigenous content in education and across disciplines throughout UBC. Students do not apply to Ts’‘Kel, but to the department and a graduate program of their choice.

Read more here Ts"Kel Program

Verna Kirkness, Director, First Nations House of Learning, Wins a Stauffer Foundation Grant for Gene Joseph to Build the Collections

"In the early 1970s the B.C Native Indian Teachers Association (B.C.N.I.T.A.) developed the Indian Education Resource Centre Library collection. As part of the First Nations policy for Indian control of Indian Education, the B.C.N.I.T.A. was the founders of the Native Indian Teachers Education Program (NITEP) at U.B.C. In the early 1980s the collection was turned over to the Native Indian Teachers Program who were given a grant by the Stauffer Foundation to upgrade the collection and to develop library services. NITEP has now passed their library collection on to the First Nations House of learning to continue to expand and develop the library’s resources."

Gene Joseph, 1994

Source : FNHL Collection Development Policy, 1994

Jack Bell Donates $1 Million for First Nations at UBC

On 17 March 1989, Jack Bell donated $1 million for First Nations at UBC. Encouraged, Verna J. Kirkness immediately initiated meetings with various groups to get opinions about the best use of the money. "A unanimous decision was made to put the money toward the construction of the longhouse as we all agreed that we needed our home away from home. Jack Bell was pivotal to realizing our dream, as his donation triggered our participation in a university fundraising campaign which helped making our funds doubled to $2 million, as the province had agreed to match funds for capital projects as part of this campaign." shared by Verna Kirkness in the book, " The First Nations Longhouse."

Site Dedication Ceremony

Chief Simon Baker opened the ceremony with a song that was given to him by his grandfather, Chief Joe Capilano. Chief Capilano had sung it when a delegation of chiefs went to England in 1906 to appeal to King Edward VII for recognition of their rights in Canada. Chief Baker shared the story of his grandfather's adventure and then welcomed people to the gathering. Following this, Chief Baker blessed and dedicated the site where the Longhouse would stand.

The unanimous choice of location for the Longhouse was part of the campus arboretum then used for a parking lot. It was, ideally, located near the heart of the campus. The arboretum is a teaching forest of species from around the world that was planted over eighty years ago when the university was established. As the architectural firm's project description noted, the deciduous trees to the south would provide shelter for the interior of the Longhouse from the sun in summer and with the shedding of their leaves allow light into the building during winter months. The coniferous trees to the north would impart a tranquil, reflective mood and gentle quality of light. The Longhouse placed at the proper axis would ensure minimal interference with the variety of trees.

Ground Blessing Ceremony

The ground blessing was different from most of the other ceremonies we held as it was a xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) sacred ceremony conducted entirely according to tradition. Elder Vince Stogan and his wife, Edna, assisted by Steven Point and Jo-ann Archibald of the Sto:lo Nation, performed the ceremony. A fire was lit and prayers were offered to the Creator. It was a solemn ritual, as it was a time of reflection and communion with the Ancestors. It was a time to invite their continued presence with us. In keeping with the custom of the Musqueam, we did not record or photograph this ceremony.

Sod Turning Ceremony

The sod turning ceremony was attended by several hundred people. Among the special guests were the Elders of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nation and the Honourable Ramon Hnatyshyn, the Governor General of Canada.

The ceremony began with Verna Kirkness's introduction of Elder Vince Stogan, who welcomed the guests and gave the opening prayer. She then introduced Chancellor Leslie Peterson, who then conducted the sod turning ceremony. He called on the program speakers, who were his Excellency Governor General Ramon Hnatyshyn, Deputy Minister of Native Affairs Eric Denhoff, Mayor Gordon Campbell, Mr. Kenneth Bagshaw, chairman of the University's Board of Governors, Elder Vince Stogan. In unison they turned the sod, marking the official home of the Longhouse.

A naming ceremony followed for Jack Bell and the name Sty-Wet-Tan was conferred on him, the first major donor to give $1 million toward the construction of the Longhouse. It was decided that the great hall would share the name gifted to him, the donor whose initial contribution made this building possible.

Housepost and Roof-Beam Raising Ceremony

The housepost and roof-beam raising ceremony marked another milestone in the building of the longhouse. Months of work went into the carving project before the ceremony. Sixteen months prior to the ceremony, a call for submissions was sent to First Nations artists. The submissions were reviewed and selected by Bill McLennan of the Museum of Anthropology and our Elders Simon Baker, Minnie Croft, Vince Stogan and Dominic Point.

The Elders guided us in the procedure for an official pole raising ceremony. As each housepost was uncovered, Verna Kirkness, introduced the artists, who in turn came to podium to address the audience. The pride they felt in the work the had done was evident. Their families were present to witness and celebrate their achievement.

Construction of X̱wi7x̱wa Library

Our building is designed after structures built by Interior Salish Nations. In the Chinook Jargon language it is called a Kekuli, in English it is called a pit house, and in Ucwalmícwts (Lil’wat nation) it is called a S7ístken. Other nations that live in these homes are the Tsilhqot’in, Ktunaxa, Nlaka’pamux, and the Secwepemc.

Although our roofs exposes, roofs are normally covered with bark, earth, grass, and needles. The hole at the center allows smoke to escape from the fire inside. The central pole is used as a ladder to enter and exit but visitors are unable to use this feature with the absence of notches to ensure proper footing. Our branch is 198 square metres and half subterranean. Within, patrons have access to our collections, archives, computers and other technology equipment, and a gender neutral washroom.

Longhouse Cleansing Ceremony

A gathering was held to cleanse and bless the newly constructed Longhouse. Elders Vince and Edna Stogan of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nation opened the ceremony with prayer and with the offering of food and drink to cleanse the building. This was to honour and welcome the ancestors to the Longhouse. Vince explained, " What we are doing today is our way of welcoming you folks to this place, to get ready for the important work which will begin in the First Nations Longhouse. We want to do it in a proper way so that we honour the Ancestors of this place, so we cleanse it and welcome them to this building which will be for everyone's use."

Other Nations performed appropriate ceremonies. Members of the Kwagiulth Nation, among them Elders Alfred and Joan Scow, danced in full regalia, spreading eagle down around the perimeter of the Longhouse, while Elder Henry Seaweed called on the ancestors to welcome people to the building and to ensure the peaceful use of the premises. Inside the Longhouse, Robert Davidson and the Rainbow Creek Dancers sang songs of the Haida Nation to honour the occasion. The ceremony concluded with a friendship dance led by Chief Simon Baker. Finally, having fully prepared the Longhouse for our entry, we moved into the building on 13 March, 1993.

Grand Opening of Longhouse

It was 25 May 1993, the grand opening of the First Nations Longhouse on the University of British Columbia campus. An audience of hundreds had come to join in the celebration. Our dream was fulfilled. We had our longhouse and it was even more magnificent than we had expected. This spectacular, 2043 square meters Coast Salish style longhouse, the first of it's kind on a North American university campus, would serve as a "home away from home" for Aboriginal students attending UBC. To have a place of our own, in an institute of higher learning, was a major accomplishment in the journey of our people. Constructed of West Coast red cedar logs, the longhouse is a symbol of the traditional dwellings of the Coast Salish people, providing our students with an appropriate learning environment.

It was a wonderful day for our people to remember and a beginning of living our dream!

Photo Collection of Longhouse Construction

Chief Simon Baker Names the Library

“Chief Baker bestowed the Squamish name X̱wi7x̱wa, pronounced ‘whei wha,’ on William Bellman, who had donated $1 million to the project. Chief Baker explained: X̱wi7x̱wa means ‘echo’ in our language. When our people traveled in the early days, the echo served as a compass. When a person hollered, the ‘echo’ let you know how far you were from the beach. There is a story, which is very long, that has been handed down over the years about X̱wi7x̱wa. When you hear the story, you draw your own conclusions about its teaching. If you ever have lots of time, come over, and I’ll tell you the whole story. I believe the name X̱wi7x̱wa is the right name for you because of your early work in radio and television, which like the echo was a way to communicate. The library will carry your name and be known as X̱wi7x̱wa Library in your honour. I feel that the library is very important to the students who are studying here. It will be a place where they can read about what our people did in the past. I give you this paddle to help you in the future. Don’t leave home without it! My wife gives you this drum to remember this occasion.”

Head Librarian Gene Joseph Joins X̱wi7x̱wa Library

Former Head Librarian of the X̱wi7x̱wa Library (First Nations House of Learning Library) at the University of British Columbia, Gene Joseph is of Wet’suwet’en – Nadleh Whut’en descent. She is from the small village of Hagwilget in northern British Columbia. She has over three decades of experience in developing libraries for First Nations tribal councils, bands and organizations. One of Gene’s career highlights was the development of a legal research library for the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en First Nations in the Delgamuukw et al v. the Queen et al aboriginal title court case. It was one of the largest court cases held in Canada, as well as one of the first to extensively use computer systems in and out of the courtroom. More importantly to the First Nations people, there was extensive use of oral history in support of the case. Gene continued her commitment to aboriginal title through her work for the Haida aboriginal title case, working with the EAGLE (Environmental Aboriginal Guardianship through Law and Education) organization from 2002 to 2006. She continued her commitment to aboriginal title and rights through her work as a senior advisor and Director of Research and Litigation Support for White Raven Law from 2008 until her retirement in 2015.

Gene Joseph Interview

Gene Joseph and Anne Doyle Lead Students and Staff on a Huge Project

Gene Joseph and Ann Doyle lead students and staff in undertaking a huge project. Together they map “the X̱wi7x̱wa bibliographic database to MARC format, migrate the data to the UBC Library catalogue, and barcode the entire library collection so borrowers can browse online and materials can circulate to all borrowers with a UBC Library card.”

Reference: Doyle, A. M., Lawson, K., & Dupont, S. (2015) Indigenization of knowledge organization at the X̱wi7x̱wa library (PDF, 768KB)

Gene Joseph First Nations Scholarship Created at the UBC iSchool

In 1997, the British Columbia Library Association, the First Nations Interest Group, and the University of British Columbia First Nations House of Learning created an endowed scholarship in honour of Gene Joseph (MLS, 1982). The Gene Joseph Scholarship is awarded to an Aboriginal graduate student at UBC’s iSchool. The award is made on the recommendation of the School of Information (iSchool), the First Nations House of Learning and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Learn more here Gene Joseph Scholarship

More about Gene Joseph

First Nations House of Learning (FNHL) Subject Headings were Established as an Indigenous Thesaurus

“Susan Andrews apply to the Library of Congress MARC Standards Office to have X̱wi7x̱wa Library subject headings recognized as an internationally authorized Thesaurus. The application was accepted in 2005 and the newly named First Nations House of Learning (FNHL) Subject Headings were established as an Indigenous thesaurus, which could then be fully indexed in the authorized subject headings MARC field (650) with full subfield coding, thus enabling both browsable indexes and faceted searching by subtopic.”

Reference: Doyle, A. M., Lawson, K., & Dupont, S. (2015). Indigenization of knowledge organization at the X̱wi7x̱wa library. Journal of Library and Information Studies, 13(2), pp. 113

X̱wi7x̱wa Becomes Branch of UBC Library

X̱wi7x̱wa Library became a full branch of the UBC library system.

Read more here

New Reference Librarian position Created and Kim Lawson was Hired

Kim Lawson is a member of the Heiltsuk Nation. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from UBC iSchool, and has previously worked at X̱wi7x̱wa Library. Her work at the IRSHDC focuses on education, community engagement and research, where she sees the interconnectedness of cultural humility and information services as Indigenous informatics.

More about Kim Lawson

New Technical Services & Cataloguing Assistant Position Created and Eleanore Wellwood was Hired

Coming on board initially as a student assistant in 1966, then again in the late 1980s, Eleanore tried out a few different career paths before falling into library work. Eleanore joined X̱wi7x̱wa Library in 2009, as a Cataloging and Acquisitions Assistant. It was a huge learning curve, she remembers. “I’m from Vancouver but not Indigenous, so everything I’m learning is piling on as more and more learning.”

In her day-to-day work at X̱wi7x̱wa Library, she is involved in record enhancing, investigating, teaching and supervising graduate academic assistants. “We have the privilege and pleasure of enhancing the standard records so that they better reflect Indigenous approaches to knowledge.”

In the past, Eleanore has also worked as a library assistant at Interlibrary Loans and Woodward Library starting from 1990s to 2007, before moving to Crane Library in Brock Hall, which provides resources for UBC students, faculty and staff who are blind, visually impaired, or have print disabilities.

Eleanore Wellwood is one of UBC Library’s 2018 Employee Recognition Award winners, receiving the Unsung Hero Award for her outstanding work.

Read Eleanore's full interview HERE

Linc Kesler Develops UBC Aboriginal Strategic Plan & Ratification of the FNHL-UBC Library Agreement

Aboriginal Engagement Librarian Position Created and Sarah Dupont was Hired

UBC Launches Groundbreaking Aboriginal Journalism Course

Scholars and First Nations leaders are heralding a new course at the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism as a “groundbreaking” initiative in journalism education that promises to build stronger relationships between media and Aboriginal peoples in British Columbia.

Duncan McCue, an award-winning CBC-TV journalist, will teach the innovative course, called Reporting in Indigenous Communities (“RIIC”).

Learn more here

FNSP Launches Indigenous Foundations Web Resource

The UBC First Nations Studies Program has launched a new online information resource on topics relating to the histories, politics, and cultures of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

Erin Hanson, project manager, says that the idea for the site came from feedback received from students and instructors. They were frustrated, says Hanson, “that conversations in the classroom about Aboriginal topics could rarely move beyond an introductory level.” Faculty and staff at First Nations Studies created the site to address this gap in knowledge and make this foundational information available to people in an accessible format.

Learn more here - Indigenous Foundations

X̱wi7x̱wa Librarians Co-Author "Indigenization of Knowledge Organization"

X̱wi7x̱wa Librarians Ann Doyle, Kim Lawson and Sarah Dupont co author "Indegenization of knowledge organization at the X̱wi7x̱wa Library" in the Journal of Library and Information Studies.

Read more here

To learn more about how items at X̱wi7x̱wa Library are classified, watch this short video: Brian Deer Classification System

Indigenization of Knowledge Organization

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Post Installed at UBC

Brent Sparrow Jr. speaks about the Musqueam Post:

“This qeqən (post) tells the story of the origin of our name xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam). The old people spoke of a small lake called xʷməm̓qʷe:m (Camosun Bog) where the sʔi:ɬqəy̓ (double-headed serpent) originated. They were warned as youth to be cautious and not go near or they would surely die. This sʔi:ɬqəy̓ was so massive its winding path from the lake to the stal̕əw̓ (river) became the creek flowing through Musqueam to this day. Everything the serpent passed over died and from its droppings bloomed a new plant, the məθkʷəy̓. For this reason the people of long ago named that place xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam – place of the məθkʷəy̓)

This qeqən represents our xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) ancestors and our ongoing connection to them and this land through their teachings. The figure is holding the sʔi:ɬqəy̓’s tail to showcase this sχʷəy̓em̓’s (ancient history) passage through generations, relating how we became known as xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people – People of the məθkʷəy̓ plant. The scalloping reflects the sʔi:ɬqəy̓’s path and trigons represent the unique məθkʷəy̓ plant. The sʔi:ɬqəy̓’s stomach is said to have been as big as a storage basket, designed here as an oval. I drew upon these traditional design elements to depict this rich history.”

Learn more here

Time lapse video of the installation of the Musqueam post

Photo Gallery of the creation of the Musqueam post

Photo Gallery of the dedication ceremony

Haida Canoe Installed at UBC

November 24, 2016 – The Haida Looplex X canoe was recently installed in the UBC Faculty of Forestry’s Forest Sciences Centre atrium. The installation was formally announced during a ceremony for the event. The canoe is one of four fibreglass replicas of the famous “Lootas” (or “wave-eater”), a traditional Haida canoe, carved by the late Bill Reid and a team Haida carvers from a single red cedar log using traditional building methods for the 1986 World’s Fair in Vancouver.

Read more here

Reconciliation Post Installed at UBC

April 4, 2017 – The day started out under a bank of rain clouds at the University of British Columbia and ended with a Haida totem pole being raised under sunshine to the cheers of thousands.

On April 1st, Reconciliation Pole, as it’s officially known, a 55-foot red cedar pole carved by 7idansuu (Edenshaw), James Hart, Haida Hereditary Chief and Master Carver, was raised according to Haida tradition at the south end of campus beside the Forest Sciences Centre.

Read more here

Timelapse video of reconciliation post installation at UBC

c̓əsnaʔəm leləm̓:New Totem Park House Name

October 9, 2017 – At a wonderful and moving unveiling ceremony on Wednesday, September 27, the new name for Building 7 at Totem Park Residence was gifted to UBC and UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS) by the Musqueam Nation. SHHS is so honoured to be gifted this very important name in Musqueam history and culture: c̓əsnaʔəm House, or c̓əsnaʔəm leləm̓.

Read more here

Future Health Professionals Get Crucial Indigenous Culture Training

October 20, 2017 – Students from 11 of UBC’s health-related programs will come together for the first time on Thursday for a new learning experience designed to help them better serve Indigenous people.

The UBC 23-24 Indigenous Cultural Safety Interdisciplinary Learning Experience was launched this month as a required component for students in medicine, genetic counselling, midwifery, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pharmacy, dental hygiene, dentistry, dietetics, nursing, and social work. Next year, students in audiology and speech language pathology will also take part.

Read more here

New UBC Public Health Program Will Train Indigenous Health Leaders

A new public health program offered at the University of British Columbia aims to address health inequities by training Indigenous health leaders working in communities across the country.

The Certificate, and Graduate Certificate, in Indigenous Public Health Program – representing the first of its kind in Canada – will be available through the Faculty of Medicine’s Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health (CEIH) in summer and winter sessions, starting in August. It will offer specialized training in core disciplines of public health, including biostatistics, health policy, and environmental health, aiming to equip participants with the skills needed to address public health issues in Indigenous communities.

Read more here

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Street Signs at UBC

The Musqueam street signs were created in partnership with the Musqueam First Nation to give a bilingual experience while travelling on campus and acknowledge the linguistic heritage of the UBC Vancouver campus. The names do not refer to traditional sites but instead to UBC’s geography. For example, the word “middle” used for Main Mall reflects its central position on campus.

Musqueam’s language, hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, uses a place-based directional system which refers to the land and flow of water (e.g. upriver or downriver, inland and towards the shore) and not cardinal directions such as north, south, east, and west.

The names chosen by Musqueam seek to educate us about the way they perceive place, movement across the land, and to show everyone how their language and culture is intrinsically connected to their territory.

Read more here

Bell Family Legacy Supports First Nations House of Learning

Retired Canadian diplomat and Corporate Director, John P. Bell, a graduate of UBC Commerce class of 1962, recently provided for a gift in his will to support the First Nations House of Learning at UBC, which is housed in the First Nations Longhouse. His father, businessman and philanthropist Jack Bell, was the lead donor for the Longhouse project which was completed nearly 30 years ago.

Read more here

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Flag Raised at UBC

February 25, 2019 – The flag of the Musqueam Indian Band was permanently raised on the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus today, thus formally signifying the university’s recognition of the Musqueam in whose traditional, ancestral and unceded lands the university is located. It joins the provincial and UBC flags in the SUB North Plaza.

Read more here

Sarah Dupont is Appointed Head of X̱wi7x̱wa Library

Ms. Dupont, Métis, is from Prince George, BC and an alumnus of the University of Northern BC. She received a Masters of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta, where her research interests focused on information seeking behaviours of urban Métis youth. Ms. Dupont oversees the operation and direction of Xwi7xwa Library.

X̱wi7x̱wa Library Features in Leading Publications

X̱wi7x̱wa Library appears in several online feature articles from Pique Newsmagazine, YES! Magazine and Library Journal

Karleen Delaurier-Lyle Becomes X̱wi7x̱wa Library's Permanent Information Services Librarian

Karleen is Anishinabek, Cree, mixed settler ancestry and a member of the Berens River First Nation. She was born and raised on the unceded, ancestral, and traditional territory of the Syilx/Okanagan People. She received her BA from UBCO in Indigenous Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies. Afterward, she earned her Master’s in Library and Information Studies at UBC Vancouver.

Kayla Lar-Son Joins X̱wi7x̱wa Library as Indigenous Programs and Services Librarian

Kayla Lar-Son is a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta, with mix Ukrainian heritage, and is originally from Tofield Alberta. She holds a BA in Native Studies from the University of Alberta, 2016, and an MLIS from the University of Alberta, 2018. Her research interests are Indigenous librarianship, data sovereignty, Indigenous Knowledge transmission, and critical librarianship.

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Art Installation on Campus

Ten cast bronze pieces created by Musqueam artist Brent Sparrow, collectively known as ʔəlqsən (Point Grey), were recently installed on concrete pillars lining the walkway separating the UBC Bus Exchange from the new MacInnes Field.

ʔəlqsən is the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ word for ‘point of land’, “Point Grey” is the English designation for a major point of land within Musqueam territory where many Musqueam village sites are and that include some major villages such as xʷməθkʷəy̓əm and ʔəy̓alməxʷ.

Sparrow created two different wood carvings featuring images of eagles, thunderbirds and salmon which were then cast in bronze.

A community-based selection panel comprised of three Musqueam community members, including a UBC student, and a faculty member from the Museum of Anthropology chose Sparrow’s design.

Read more here

Language Revitalization as a Site for Reconciliation

Language revitalization could serve as a site for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the town of Kapuskasing.

That’s according to Language Sciences affiliate member, UBC Interdisciplinary Studies alumna and University of Western Ontario doctoral student Ricki-Lynn Achilles, who is working with Terrence Sutherland, Kapuskasing Friendship Centre cultural resource coordinator, to run a language program and camp to help youths and families develop their conversational fluency in Cree in a low-anxiety environment.

Ricki-Lynn completed her Master’s at UBC with a focus in Linguistic Anthropology. Her thesis examined the interconnectivity of identity, emotions, and language revitalization, specifically aiming to understand how to create low-stress language learning environments.

Read their discussion HERE on how language revitalization in Canada is affected by white racism, and what being antiracist means in this area of research.

First Nations House of Learning Statement on Louise Riel Day

November 16, 2020, is the 135th anniversary of the execution of famed Métis leader, Louis Riel. Thus, it is a day for sombre contemplation of the person, but more so the struggle he led to have Métis land rights, culture and autonomy formally recognized during Canada’s era of westward expansion.

Read more here

UBC's Dr. Sheryl Lightfoot Appointed United Nations Representative on Rights of Indigenous People

Dr. Sheryl Lightfoot is no stranger to firsts.

The UBC professor was not only the first person in her family to attend university but she was also the first to go on to earn her master’s degree and PhD before eventually becoming a faculty member.

Today, Dr. Lightfoot continued the tradition when she was named the North American member on the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The announcement marks the first time an Indigenous woman from Canada has been appointed to the prestigious position.

Read more here

Dr. Eduardo Jovel Appointed Interim Director of the First Nations House of Learning

Dr. Jovel, whose traditional name is Itz Cohuatl, is an Indigenous scholar of Pipil and Mayan ancestry. His academic training includes Ethnobotany, Mycology, and Natural Products Chemistry. His research intersects with Indigenous Health and Wellness, Indigenous land-based Education, Gender, Research Ethics, and Indigenous food sovereignty. He is the founder and Director of xwc̓ic̓əsəm Garden at UBC Farm, focusing on restoring community leadership on self-determined land-based education and research, and, respectfully, mobilization of Indigenous knowledge. Dr. Jovel has worked with Indigenous people in Peru, Ecuador, the United States, New Zealand, Mexico, and Canada.

Masters of Education in Indigenous Education Launched

The program will help fulfill some of the important goals and actions set out in UBC’s strategic plan, Shaping UBC’s Next Century, the Faculty’s strategic plan, Learning Transformed, and UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan, which provide the framework for Faculty and unit-level commitments that form UBC’s response to the Calls to Action released with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Final Report.

Read more here

30th Anniversary of First Nations Longhouse