Great News

Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium: Saturday March 3 @ UBC Longhouse- Program Available Now!

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There are only a few days left before the 16th Annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium (IGSS). This year focuses on the Indigenous graduate student experience, with a highlight of our keynote speaker; Dr. Leroy Little Bear.

Limited tickets are still available, register here:

Here is this year’s final program. As part of our efforts to be a sustainable and environmentally-friendly initiative, we encourage you to save the program to your mobile devices instead of printing.

IGSS 2018 Final Program

We hope to see you there!

Congratulations to Dr. Shannon Leddy!

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Congratulations to Dr. Shannon Leddy on the successful defense of her Ph.D. dissertation: “Starting from now, learning to see: Introducing pre-service teachers to the process of Indigenous education through a phenomenological art inquiry”.

Dr. Leddy is now an Instructor in Indigenous Education (tenure track) with the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia.


SAGE Tea & Toast: Wednesday afternoons starting January 10 at the UBC Longhouse

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We are revamping Coffee and Catch Up- it will now be known as Tea and Toast!

There will also be a new time of 1230-200pm at the Longhouse. We will still meet every week on Wednesdays, and tea, coffee, and toast will be provided. You are encouraged to bring your lunch and join us for some social time with other Indigenous graduate students!

Please invite other Indigenous graduate students if they don’t know about SAGE, and encourage them to sign up for the SAGE mailing list so they can stay informed about all the SAGE events.



Congratulations to Kiera Kaia’tano:ron Brant-Birioukova!

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Congratulations to Kiera Kaia’tano:ron Brant-Birioukova on the successful defence of her M.A. thesis, “But How Does This Help Me?’: (Re)Thinking (Re)Conciliation in Teacher Education” at the University of Ottawa. She is now working towards a Ph.D in Education at the University of British Columbia.

Her thesis is available at

UBC to house Western Canada’s first residential school history centre

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Watch the announcement of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSC), to be built at UBC. This $5.5-million building in the heart of campus will recognize the history and experiences of residential school survivors, and memorialize the thousands of indigenous children who died while in attendance. 


Rendering of IRSC. Credit: Formline A+U.

The University of British Columbia formally announced today the construction of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSC). This $5.5-million building in the heart of campus will recognize the history and experiences of residential school survivors, and memorialize the thousands of indigenous children who died while in attendance.

Watch the event live at or on Facebook at

“While we are thankful for all of the First Nations leadership and UBC leadership that have brought this initiative to reality, the survivors and their families are first and foremost thankful for an accessible place of record,” said Cindy Tom-Lindley, a former residential school student at Kamloops Indian Residential School and executive director of the Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS).

Scheduled for completion in the 2017-18 academic year, IRSC will provide former students and their families with access to the records of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and give students and visitors ways to understand the history and lasting effects of Indian residential schools as a context for thinking about contemporary relationships. Advanced use of interactive media will give visitors the opportunity to explore extensive records and testimony and form their own understandings. The centre will also serve as a hub for academic and community research, education and public programming.

“The centre will provide the UBC community an opportunity for greater reflection on a difficult chapter in Canadian history,” said UBC President Santa Ono. “Recognition of our past is of critical importance to UBC and to all Canadians in planning our future. The centre will help us to collectively rethink the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in this country.”

An affiliate site to the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg, IRSC will particularly focus on the experiences of indigenous peoples in B.C., where many of the schools were located, and will provide local access to records for survivors and their families on the West Coast.

“An important function of this centre is to acknowledge the lives and histories of indigenous peoples in Canada,” said Linc Kesler, director of the UBC First Nations House of Learning. “Through both policy and inaction, the circumstances of indigenous peoples have often been invisible in all but the most superficial ways. It is a responsibility of the university and the educational system as a whole to change that and provide the basis for more informed interactions.”

Canada’s Indian residential school system started in the 1800s. The government-sponsored system forced an estimated 150,000 indigenous children out of their homes and into strict religious boarding schools. Many were physically and sexually abused, and some were used as test subjects in nutritional and other forms of experimentation. An estimated 6,000 children died while in attendance. The last residential school closed in 1996 in Saskatchewan.

PHOTOS:For building renderings, click here and here.


When complete, IRSC will be a donor-funded, two-storey building covering approximately 6,500 square feet, located between Koerner Library and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

IRSC is developed in collaboration with Indian Residential School Survivor Society and in consultation with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. For more information, click here.

Additional quotes

DeDe DeRose, Member of UBC President’s Advisory Committee on Aboriginal Affairs

“I am honoured to witness today’s historical announcement. By creating the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, UBC ensures that Justice Sinclair’s recommendation in the Truth and Reconciliation Report is achieved. The centre provides a place to house the history about the devastating impact that residential schools had on Aboriginal peoples that has been hidden from Canadians for generations. My mother, Cecilia (Dick) DeRose’s, 1950-51 residential school report card will be housed in this landmark centre along with other memorabilia. This centre will provide an important learning opportunity to all Canadians.”

Grand Chief Edward John, First Nations Summit

“We commend UBC for its work to establish the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. It will not only be an important resource for residential school survivors, it will also play an important role in the path of reconciliation by helping to preserve the history, and to tell the stories, of this very dark time in Canadian history. Reconciliation in Canada can only be achieved by acknowledging our collective history. It is critical to continue to provide opportunities for Canadians to be educated on the residential school system in Canada and the deep negative impacts on indigenous peoples and communities across this country.”

Sheryl Lightfoot, UBC Assistant Professor, First Nations and Indigenous Studies and Political Science

“The twin issues of reconciliation and re-setting relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples are truly global in scope, as forced residential schooling not only happened here in Canada but in other countries as well, including the United States, and so the legacies of this history are far-reaching as well. I am happy to see UBC host this centre, which will play an important role in public education and dialogue, with the hope of more just and respectful relationships in the future. I look forward to the opportunity to bring my students to this centre and actively engage them in these critical conversations.”

Aboriginal engagement at UBC

UBC has a long-standing commitment to aboriginal engagement, a key component of “Place and Promise”, the university’s strategic plan.

UBC has a number of programs and courses with an aboriginal focus, including Canada’s oldest aboriginal law program, an indigenous teacher education program, an aboriginal residency program for medical students, the First Nations Languages program, and the interdisciplinary First Nations and Indigenous Studies program. As well, a number of resources and initiatives at UBC focus on furthering the understandings of indigenous cultures and histories into its curriculum and operations.

UBC recognizes its Vancouver and Kelowna campuses are situated on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Musqueam Indian Band and the Okanagan First Nation.



First Nations Mother and Son Graduate From UBC Together

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May 26, 2016 – Watching a loved one graduate from university is a proud moment, but for Jocelyne and Randy Robinson, the pride will be twofold as the mother and son graduate from the University of British Columbia a day apart.

Randy, 31, who once worked as a janitor scrubbing toilets, is graduating from the Peter A. Allard School of Law. Jocelyne, a sculptor and single mother who raised seven children in East Vancouver, is graduating with a PhD in education.

The Robinsons are Algonquin from the Timiskaming First Nation in Quebec. They share a strong commitment to use their degrees to help improve the lives of other indigenous peoples.

“We’re overrepresented in the criminal justice system, but underrepresented as lawyers,” said Randy, who spent time during law school working at the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic in the Downtown Eastside. “Growing up, I saw the inequities that exist for indigenous peoples. I wanted to become a lawyer to give them a voice, so they have that perspective and advocacy of a fellow indigenous person in court.”For Jocelyne, pursuing a PhD was motivated by her experiences in the classroom as a high school educator. Her PhD work focused on ways to attract more indigenous students to careers in math and science.

“My goal is to leave a legacy behind for the next generation,” she said. “It wasn’t that long ago Aboriginal Peoples couldn’t go to university or practice law. Or even leave the reserve. It’s pretty incredible that we’re here.”

Randy’s graduation ceremony is May 25. Jocelyne’s is May 26. They’ll be celebrating their academic achievements together along with other Aboriginal graduates at the First Nations House of Learning’s annual graduation celebration at the UBC First Nations Longhouse on May 28.

STORY UPDATE: May 28th CTV news story

Source: Indigenous mother-son duo overcome odds, graduate from UBC – together

Page Modified: May 31, 2016

Successful Applicants for the 2016 Summer Sessional Lectureships

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The First Nations and Indigenous Studies program would like to congratulate June Scudeler and Lindsay Lachance as the successful applicants for the 2016 Summer Sessional Lectureships in the teaching of the following FNIS courses:

FNIS 210 003 (3) Indigenous Politics and Self-Determination
Term 1 (May – June, 2016)

FNIS 220 003 (3) Representation and Indigenous Cultural Politics
Term 2 (July – August, 2016)

Original Post at First Nations & Indigenous Studies (Facebook Page)