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Save The Date: March 3, 2018, 16th Annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium (IGSS)

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The 16th Annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium (IGSS) will be hosted at UBC Vancouver in the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. The Call for Papers will be going out soon, with an anticipated submission deadline of January 15th, so save the date and start preparing your presentations!

If you are interested in helping to organize IGSS, please email SAGE at grad.sage@ubc.ca The first planning meeting will occur Thursday November 16th at the UBC longhouse (joining via Skype is also an option), and we are always grateful for help on the day of the event.

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First Nations House of Learning Remembers Beau Dick

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March 28, 2017 – The staff at the First Nations House of Learning acknowledges with great sadness the passing of their dear friend Beau Dick, Kwakwaka’wakw hereditary chief, renowned master carver, and for the past four years resident artist at UBC.

“We’re all tremendously saddened by Beau’s passing, and extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and nation,” said Debra Martel, associate director of the First Nations House of Learning.

During his time at UBC, Beau was a mainstay presence at the Aboriginal student lunches, held weekly at the Longhouse’s Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, where often he generously shared a song or story, captivating everyone with his vivid and sincere expressions, and ready smile.

He is also remembered for hosting at the Longhouse, in 2014, the beginning of Awalaskenis II, the second leg of a traditional shaming ceremony that involved trekking with supporters to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to break copper to symbolize the Crown’s broken relationship with Indigenous peoples and the ongoing harm being done to the environment. It also served as a challenge to the government to mend these relations.

Prior to this event, Beau participated along with others in a welcome ceremony for Arvind Gupta, then the new UBC president.

Earlier that year, he hosted a potlatch at the Longhouse, which involved name giving, feasting, and dancing with sacred, seldom seen masks.

“He touched many students, staff and faculty here at UBC,” said Debra Martel. “His songs, stories and conversations always underscored his message of unity, community and a wish for everyone to respect and understand each other. He will be deeply missed.”

For more information, please see: http://aboriginal.ubc.ca/2017/03/28/fnhl-remembers-beau-dick/

Facing ‘colonial history’ key for Indigenous youth: Crime Prevention Ottawa

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Broader cultural education could help steer Indigenous youth away from criminal justice system, author says

CBC News Posted: Feb 14, 2017 4:54 PM ETLast Updated: Feb 14, 2017 8:53 PM ET

Melanie Bania presented the results of her study on preventing the criminalization of Indigenous youth at Ottawa City Hall on Tuesday. (Giacomo Panico/CBC )

A renewed focus on broader cultural education that confronts rather than ignores Canada’s “colonial history” could help steer Indigenous youth away from the criminal justice system, according to a new report by Crime Prevention Ottawa.

The report, titled Culture as Catalyst: Preventing the Criminalization of Indigenous Youth, was released during a presentation at Ottawa City Hall Tuesday morning.

Marc Maracle is the chair of the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition, which helped lay the groundwork and provide background information for the report. (Roger Dubois/CBC)

According to the report, traumatic events stemming from “colonizing policies” such as the residential school system contribute to the disproportionately high rates of poverty, poor education and unsafe housing experienced by Indigenous people in Canada.
As a result, the paper concludes, Indigenous youth and adults are highly over-represented in the Canadian criminal justice system.
“The research also shows that a connection to culture is very important for all young people, but that for Indigenous people in particular that connection to culture is directly linked to their sense of identity,” said Melanie Bania, the report’s author. Read More…

Researcher targets ‘glaring’ gaps in indigenous health care

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Carrie Bourassa takes reins of Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health
010217_Carrie_Bourassa

Dr. Carrie Bourassa is the new scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, which is based at Health Sciences North’s Research Institute. Supplied photo.

The “glaring” health gaps between indigenous people and the rest of Canada is widening, says the new scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health.

“It’s pretty bleak,” said Dr. Carrie Bourassa, who took over the position Feb. 1.

The institute is being established in Sudbury with the Health Sciences North Research Institute, where researchers are engaged in cutting-edge research on healthy aging, cancer care, infectious diseases, precision medicine and northern and Indigenous health. It’s the first time an Institute has been established outside of a large urban centre.

Bourassa’s role, among many others, will be to train and mentor new scholars in indigenous health research, and to make sure research creates opportunities to close those gaps.

“From diabetes to HIV and AIDS to suicide rates, we really need to get a handle on the underlying impact,” Bourassa said.

Most of the issues stem from the intergenerational trauma associated with the ongoing impact of colonization, she said. Researchers can’t seem to get a handle on the complex ways those underlying social detriments interact.

She said she knows the solution can be found in communities, because they are the ones who understand the issues better than anyone else. Read More…

 

Pickard, Aaron. Researcher targets ‘glaring’ gaps in indigenous health care. February 17, 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.sudbury.com/local-news/researcher-targets-glaring-gaps-in-indigenous-health-care-525752

Celebrating indigenous culture through animated film

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Ten inspiring animated shorts from 2016

December 29, 2016

With films like Pocahontas, Apocalypto, Peter Pan and The Green Inferno, it’s safe to say that Hollywood has a deplorable track record when it comes to its portrayal of Indigenous Peoples. Perhaps it’s to be expected given that films tend to be produced through a Eurocentric lens. Even when production companies try to get it right, they still somehow manage to fail–such as the case with Disney’s Moana.

It makes us all the more grateful that Hollywood has lost its monopoly on film. New Independent film makers are constantly emerging to give us something genuine, heartfelt and inspired to watch with family and friends.

This year was particularly exciting for indigenous film. Among the hundreds–if not, thousands–of feature films, documentaries and television shows that indigenous filmmakers made in 2016, indigenous nations started releasing their own independently-produced films to tell their own stories in their own words and languages.

We also saw a sturdy wave of truly inspiring animated shorts that celebrate indigenous culture, breathing new life into the incredibly rich and equally important tradition of storytelling.

We loved these animated shorts so much we just had to share them with you. Read more…

 

Source: Schertow, John Ahni. January 18, 2017. Celebrating indigenous culture through animated film. Retrieved from:  https://intercontinentalcry.org/celebrating-indigenous-culture-animated-film/

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 http://aboriginal.ubc.ca/live-broadcast/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/universityofbc


“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.

Background

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.

 

Source: http://news.ubc.ca/2016/09/12/ubc-to-house-western-canadas-first-residential-school-history-centre/

Victory in the Release of Guatemalan Political Prisoner Rigoberto Juarez

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August 6, 2016

By Linda Ferrer

July 22, 2016 marked a day of victory, not only for Rigoberto Juarez Mateo, but also for the Indigenous Q’anjob’al Maya community in the municipality of Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. In a split decision made by Judges Yasmin Barrios, Patricia Bustamante, and Gerbi Sical, seven Ancestral Authorities, including Rigoberto Juarez, Domingo Baltazar, Ermitano Lopez Reyes, Sotero Adalberto Villatoro, Francisco Juan Pedro, Mynor Lopez, and Arturo Pablo were released from prison, five of whom were acquitted of all charges.

Sixteen months ago, Rigoberto Juarez, one of nine Ancestral Authorities, was detained for his advocacy against two private hydroelectric and mining companies, Hidra Energia and Hidro Santa Cruz, respectively, for their failing to comply and consult with Indigenous communities’ prior to accessing licensure for their projects. Posing a threat to their natural resources, land, and way of life, those who resisted the projects faced threats, coercion, and were sometimes kidnapped, raped, or even murdered. Rigoberto Juarez and Domingo Baltazar, two well-known Indigenous leaders, traveled to Guatemala City to file reports on these various human rights violations to the Department of Public Ministry and the United Nations Commission for Human Rights but both were arrested by police without warrant or charges. They were illegally imprisoned without due process on that day of March 23, 2015. Rigoberto Juarez was placed in High Risk Group A preventive detention center for false accusations in a series of crimes which the private companies claimed against them. Sixteen charges were then made against him, including public disturbances of peaceful demonstrations, kidnapping, and intent to commit crimes. However, the lack of evidence and factual grounds for the heinous charges that were made only indicate that the hydroelectric and mining companies, working with the Mayor and judicial system of Guatemala, strategically organized the persecution and arrest of the community leaders in order to remove their voice and actions from the resistance movement he had begun and committed to since 2008. Read more…