Aboriginal Engagement

The University engages Aboriginal people in mutually supportive and productive relationships, and works to integrate understandings of Indigenous cultures and histories into its curriculum and operations.

We are connected to this place …. We are the land, and the land is us.
Musqueam: A Living Culture

Collage photo demonstrating UBC Aboriginal engagement
The promise of this place is made to us all. In respect of the Musqueam and Okanagan lands on which the University sits, and with all voices raised to tell a new story, UBC advances educational opportunities with and for Aboriginal people on its campuses and in the wider community.

In response to the expressed needs and aspirations of Aboriginal peoples, UBC engages in research and generates curricula across the University that respect, reflect, and include Aboriginal cultures, histories, and systems of knowledge. In both academics and operations, the University addresses issues of ignorance and misunderstanding resulting from the educational failures of the past.

The University strives to ensure that Aboriginal students, staff, and faculty find their perceptions and experiences echoed in the classroom, on campus, and among their peers. Out of an environment of opportunity and support emerge new Aboriginal role models who light the way for future generations of scholars and citizens.

The promise of this place is true in any language:
welcome! (Musqueam)
ok-welcome (Okanagan)

Goal Expand educational opportunities for Aboriginal people and widen opportunities for all students to learn about Aboriginal issues and perspectives

Portfolio Action

Expand curriculum offerings focusing on Aboriginal issues and perspectives

  • Work closely with faculties to continue development of Aboriginal content in curricula and hiring initiatives that may result in Indigenous and expert faculty. Fully develop a University-wide discussion about the development of Aboriginal curricula across disciplines. (VPA, Provost Okanagan)

Expand the professional development available to administrators, faculty, staff, and students in working productively with Aboriginal colleagues and discussing Aboriginal issues

  • Continue building professional development opportunities and encourage wider participation through programs in the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, as well as the Academic Leadership Development Program, Aboriginal Initiatives and the DVC advisory committee (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan, VPHR)
  • Further develop professional development program for advisors and other service providers and leadership program for students, e.g. student leader orientation training modules (VPS)

Increase hiring of highly qualified Aboriginal faculty and staff

  • Encourage and support faculty initiatives to attract and retain highly qualified faculty and staff (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan)

Strengthen programs supporting the entry, academic success, social support and well-being of Aboriginal students

  • Work with bands, educational counsellors and Aboriginal education authorities to ensure that UBC processes are efficient, supportive and communicated clearly (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan)
  • Continue the work of the Associate Director, Strategic Aboriginal Enrolment Initiatives, Enrolment Services, and other units to identify and correct procedural inefficiencies and barriers in the support of Aboriginal students (Registrar, VPS, Provost Okanagan, AVPS)
  • Ensure that the Access Program at the Okanagan campus, established in 2010, is supported (DVC, Provost Okanagan, AVPS)
  • Ensure health and counselling services, and especially those in developing mental health and wellbeing programs, are fully responsive to Aboriginal students’ needs (VPS, AVPS)
  • Ensure continued integration of Aboriginal content into orientation and transition programs, and development of first-year Aboriginal student orientation initiatives (VPS, AVPS, FNHL)
  • Continue to support the expansion of the UBC-Langara Aboriginal Transfer Program Continued support of the Aboriginal Supportive Admissions Framework (AVPS)

Create and support programs that help prepare Aboriginal students for post-secondary education

  • Actively engage provincial and federal governments in advancing aboriginal education at all levels (VPA, DVC, VPER)
  • Continue and extend UBC programs that engage pre-university Aboriginal learners, such as the pilot program underway at UBC Okanagan in partnership with the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society or Aboriginal youth summer camps, and outreach programs developing through the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. Additional philanthropic support has been received to pilot a Saturday Middle School program (VPA, DVC, AVPS)
  • Solidify partnership with the En’owkin Centre to provide programs of studies to enable aboriginal student learning (DVC, Provost Okanagan, AVPS)

Goal Increase engagement and strengthen mutually supportive and productive relationships with Aboriginal communities

Portfolio Action

Develop critical community partnerships centered on initiatives of high value and priority for Aboriginal communities

  • Explore and develop critical initiatives, such as work for the proposed west coast affiliate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission National Research Centre (VPA, DVC)
  • Continue to develop community-based initiative (e.g. NITEP field centres, SCARP and SLAIS First Nations concentrations, and research initiatives, including practica such as the undergraduate community-based research practicum in the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program, and curricula collaboratively taught in communities, such as Forestry classes in Haida Gwaii), that are responsive to the critical education needs and aspirations of communities

Strengthen and expand research of benefit to Aboriginal communities developed with significant community collaboration

  • Further develop support for community-based and Aboriginal research in collaboration with the VP Research’s Community-Based Research Working Group; building on the Centennial Indigenous Research workshop, continue work towards the establishment of an Indigenous research initiative and supporting infrastructure; work involving endangered Indigenous languages and revitalization involving the First Nations Languages Program; Indigenous health research involving the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health, in particular on critical collaborative research with the First Nations Health Authority and communities; and continuing the work through UBC Library to stabilize critical community archives (VPA, VPRI, DVC, VPR(O), VPER)

Strengthen and expand student involvement in Aboriginal community-based research and service learning with Aboriginal organizations

  • Continue the development of collaborative student research with Aboriginal communities and organizations across the province through the First Nations Studies Program, School of Community Regional Planning (Indigenous Community Planning Specialization), School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (First Nations Concentration), the Faculties of Forestry and Applied Science, and other units (VPA, DVC)
  • Ensure that Service-Learning Initiatives adequately prepare students for meaningful work that is of clear benefit to Aboriginal community organizations (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan, VPS, AVPS, VPER)

Create venues for dialogue with Aboriginal communities, and the broader public, on significant issues

  • Continue to engage President’s Advisory Committee on Aboriginal Affairs (Vancouver) and Aboriginal Advisory Council (Okanagan) in their provision of advice to the university on its programs, initiatives, and their relevance to Aboriginal communities (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan)
  • Support accessible public programming through academic units that address issues of importance to Aboriginal communities and the public, e.g. FNIS/CTLT’s “Knowing the Land Beneath Our Feet”, FCCS’s Alterknowledge series and Aboriginal Programs and Services community programming (VPA, DVC, VPCCP, VPER)

Provide faculty and staff with the means and professional development opportunities to effectively collaborate with Aboriginal individuals and communities

  • Review existing funding opportunities and make recommendations on further requirements (VPA, DVC)

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