Day: October 2, 2015

Presentation by Dr. Sean Wilson, “Conducting a Research Ceremony, or How to Catch Fish”, Oct 14, 2015, 10:30 am – 12 noon

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Dr. Shawn Wilson, Indigenous author of “Research as Ceremony” will be a featured speaker on Oct 14, 2015, 10:30 am – 12:00 noon at the UBC Longhouse- Sty-Wet-Tan Hall, 1985 West Mall. Everyone is welcome.

Title: “Conducting a Research Ceremony, or How to Catch Fish.”

Standardized testing, key performance indicators and demonstrable learning outcomes may not have much relevance to traditional Indigenous Knowledge.  However, in order to ensure our survival for these past several millennia, Indigenous people have developed ways of evaluating behaviour.  Indigenous axiology considers how we evaluate everything from the abstract and conceptual to the practical and mundane: What is good or bad for our communities? Which topics are worth researching? Is this food healthy for my grandchildren? How do I peer-review this article for the International Journal of Indigenous Peoples? Recognizing the importance of sakihiwawin allows us to evaluate our relationships with the world and guide our actions. Rather than delivering on KPIs, sakihiwawin helps us answer the more important question, “Who am I going to go fishing with?”

Sponsors: SAGE, UBC: Indigenous Education Institute of Canada & NITEP (Faculty of Education); First Nations & Indigenous Studies (Faculty of Arts); and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, Social Justice & the Indigenous Pedagogies Network (Faculty of Arts). Thanks to the First Nations House of Learning for use of the Longhouse.

Oct 14, 2015. 12:30 – 2:00 pm. Graduate students and faculty are invited to join Dr. Shawn Wilson for an informal discussion and light lunch at Scarfe 308A. Bring your questions for discussion; there will not be a presentation.

Yukon conference hears of uneasy relationship between science and traditional knowledge

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Yukon conference hears of uneasy relationship between science and traditional knowledge

‘It is a battle to train young biologists to try and understand our ways of thinking’

By Philippe Morin, CBC News Posted: Sep 30, 2015 7:00 AM CT 

Billy Archie of the Aklavik Community Corporation said he's often had to re-explain his knowledge of arctic char to different biologists who come and go.

Billy Archie of the Aklavik Community Corporation said he’s often had to re-explain his knowledge of arctic char to different biologists who come and go. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Aboriginal hunters and members of wildlife management boards are in Whitehorse this week, talking about how traditional knowledge can be better incorporated into scientific research.

The Yukon government hosts the Yukon North Slope Conference every three years, in partnership with the region’s Wildlife Management Advisory Council.

One panel at the two-day conference gathered Inuvialuit harvesters from the Mackenzie Delta region of the N.W.T., who discussed their experiences with scientists and research teams.

Some had good things to say — while others described a confusing and sometimes insulting process.

Billy Archie of the Aklavik Community Corporation said he’s often had to re-explain his knowledge of arctic char, as many different biologists — working for government or universities — come and go from the region.

“I lost count now,” Archie said. “It is a battle to train young biologists to try and understand our ways of thinking and what we see.”

Douglas Esagok, an Inuvik-based director with the Inuvialuit Game Council says some academic researchers often visit communities only once.

“They come and they go and you never see them again. It’s a flash in the pan,” Esagok said.

Integrating traditional knowledge

The Yukon North Slope Conference is not looking only at the relationships between communities and visiting researchers.

There’s also a larger issue being considered — how traditional knowledge, a term which encompasses family stories, first-hand observation and even stories told over multiple generations, can be incorporated into scientific research.

‘The tendency is that scientists will listen to what’s being said and only some of that is considered valid,’ said Brenda Parlee, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Brenda Parlee, an assistant professor with the University of Alberta’s department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, says there’s often a disconnect between the scientific community and the northerners whose lives and environment they study.

“A lot of traditional knowledge has yet to be documented in a format where it’s easily included in decision making,” Parlee said.

“The tendency is that scientists will listen to what’s being said and only some of that is considered valid.”

Parlee argues that traditional knowledge is scientifically valid and deserves more consideration.

“People have been hunting in the same places, watching the same kind of indicators, doing the same kind of land use activities for generation after generation after generation,” Parlee said.

“If you look at the litmus test for what is good rigorous science, that is good rigorous science.”

Randall Pokiak, a harvester who helped negotiate the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, said the relationship between scientists and aboriginal communities is ideally a two-way street. He said science can help explain what traditional knowledge cannot.

Randall Pokiak told the conference that communities need science to explain what traditional knowledge cannot. ‘Climate change really made a big difference,’ he said. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

“Climate change really made a big difference,” Pokiak said. “Our knowledge was good until the about the mid-1980s. After that, now we don’t know what’s happening to that changing environment.”

“We’ve got to start basically gaining some new knowledge.”

$1M Fund To Open Doors For Aboriginal Women Studying Business

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By Public Affairs on September 23, 2015

Students studying in the Ch’nook Indigenous Business Education initiative program

September 22, 2015 – A $1-million gift from the family of Warren and Maureen Spitz will fund a new awards program at UBC’s Sauder School of Business benefiting Aboriginal women pursuing business studies. The Spitz Fellows Program was created in collaboration with the philanthropic Toronto-based family and accepted its first student this month.

“Our hope is that the Spitz Fellows Program will create opportunities for women to empower themselves and succeed in their educational, career and life goals,” said Warren Spitz, president and CEO, UCS Forest Group. “Our aim is to provide the support recipients need to invest fully in their studies and become leaders at Sauder and beyond.

With the aim of eliminating financial barriers to success, the program provides up to two Spitz Family Awards for Aboriginal Women annually, with each recipient eligible to receive $10,000 per academic year during a bachelor of commerce program and additional funds as necessary.

Spitz Fellows will be invited to play an active role at Sauder in the Ch’nook Indigenous Business Education initiative, a program focused on promoting business education in Aboriginal communities. As Ch’nook Scholars, they will help encourage business education among Aboriginal high school students, attend networking events and conferences with fellow Aboriginal business students across British Columbia, and gain access to valuable internship opportunities created through the program.

“At Sauder, we firmly believe that business education can be used as a powerful tool to transform lives and strengthen communities,” said Sauder’s Dean Robert Helsley, Grosvenor Professor of Cities, Business Economics and Public Policy. “We’re thankful the Spitz family shares this vision and greatly appreciate their generous support and partnership in developing this initiative.”

The gift to support the creation of the Spitz Fellows Program is part of UBC’s start an evolution campaign, the largest fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian history.

“At UBC we feel it’s vital to ensure that our students have the support they need to excel in their academic lives and beyond,” said Martha Piper, interim president. “We greatly appreciate the generosity of the Spitz family and thank them for helping to create this new pathway for Aboriginal women at UBC to reach their full potential.” Read More…