Special Initiatives

Several noteworthy special initiatives developed under the Aboriginal Strategic Plan are noted here. For a more extensive account of activity across campus, please see the 2010 Implementation Report.

UBC Indian Residential School Initiative

UBC is committed to developing a better awareness and understanding of the Indian Residential School system that operated in Canada from 1875-1996 and had a profound impact on First Nations communities and the relations between Aboriginal people and a wider Canadian society.

From the 18th to the 21st of September 2013, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will be conducting the last of its National Events to be held on the west coast in Vancouver. UBC has taken the extraordinary step of suspending classes on September 18th so that students, faculty, and other members of the UBC community might more fully participate in this historic event, and many initiatives are underway on campus to plan and prepare for this event.

A website has been established to house information about events and initiatives, and provide an opportunity for visitors to connect with others working on similar projects: UBC Indian Residential School Initiative Site

Student Services

Providing more integrated and transparent services for Aboriginal students was identified as an early priority under the Plan. Work began immediately to reorganize services provided through the First Nations House of Learning, and to develop closer integration with other services on campus.

Many student services are provided through units in the VP Students portfolio. In the summer of 2010 after considerable discussion and planning, Graeme Joseph was appointed in the new position of Coordinator, Strategic Aboriginal Initiatives. Located in Brock Hall, the Coordinator works across the many units in the VP Students portfolio and elsewhere to effect closer integration of services and assure more timely and effective response to student needs.

Graeme Joseph
Rm 187, 1985 West Mall (The Longhouse)
604 800-9940

Teaching and Learning

As the Aboriginal Strategic Plan was forming, a student project in the First Nations Studies Program began documenting the experiences of Aboriginal and other students in classrooms where discussions of Aboriginal issues or issues of race and ethnicity developed in ways that were alienating or conflictual. That project, What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom, developed an online video archive of those experiences and an analysis of their common themes, and is featured on the Student Research page.

The project clearly identified the need for a forum through which faculty could better understand student concerns and develop more effective and professional techniques for conducting productive discussions of difficult issues. In the fall of 2009, the position of Coordinator of Aboriginal Initiatives was established within the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. The current coordinator, Amy Perreault, works with staff within this unit, with faculty groups, and with training programs for teaching assistants, new faculty, and administrators, to better understand the dynamics of classroom discussions of Aboriginal issues in a multicultural environment.

Amy Perreault
214-1961 East Mall (IK Barber Learning Centre)
604 827-4398

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