Hello From Indigenous Initiatives
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Hello 2023!

Happy New Year! The Indigenous Initiatives team hopes that your holiday season was full of rest and relaxation. We had a busy 2022 and we are so excited to connect, share, and work with you in 2023. 




In This Newsletter 

1. Updates from Indigenous Initiatives 
2. Upcoming Workshops & Events 
3. Kinship Corner  
4. Across Our Desks 




Updates from Indigenous Initiatives

🎉 Welcome to the Team! 🎉

Heather Commodore, PhD

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam)-UBC Resource Curator Manager

On the traditional and unceded land of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people, Heather is the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam)-UBC Resource Curator Manager, Indigenous Initiatives at the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT) at the University of British Columbia. In addition to community membership to the Soowahlie First Nation and the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Indian Band, Heather is also of Stó꞉lō and Lax-Kw'alaams (Port Simpson) Tsimshian Nation ancestry. She was born and spent the majority of her early years in Upper Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as some time in Richmond and Chilliwack, British Columbia. She has worked in education on BC First Nation lands and territories for more than 25 years, with a focus on Indigenous studies and educational leadership. She graduated from the UBC Vancouver Campus (B.Ed. 1998, MEd 2003, PhD 2018). As an Indigenous educator and member of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) community, she understands the importance of feeling a connection to community and land. Her commitment to her family, culture, justice, and education influences her desire to make an effort to be a proactive force in maintaining these links. She also believes that it is crucial to provide Indigenous voices, Elders, and culture a place in the academy.

Lauren llaanaay Casey

Educational Consultant: Anti-Racist and Indigenous Initiatives
Pronouns: any pronouns

Lauren joined the CTLT Indigenous Initiatives team in December 2022 as Educational Consultant: Anti-Racist and Indigenous Initiatives. Lauren comes to the land colonially known as Vancouver from Haida Gwaii, which is the home of her Nuni‘s (grandmother‘s) people. Lauren is a registered member of the Skidegate Band, of the Haida Nation. Her family‘s crest is the Hummingbird, of the Juus Clan, on her father‘s side. She is the great-great-granddaughter of Chief Skidegate (Edward Collinson), and Emma Young. On her mother‘s side she is of Cree Métis heritage from the Red River Valley, through southern Alberta. Lauren‘s traditional name is llaanaay, given to her by her Nuni, which means Beloved Friend in Haida, specifically the X̱aayda Kil dialect from the southern part of the island. Lauren calls the land of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ her second home, as an uninvited guest. It is with great care that she walks gently on the land of her cousins‘ ancestors, knowing the responsibility her role as a guest carries.
Lauren attended the University of British Columbia, prior to working in the areas of health governance, public relations, and education. She specialized in Issues Management for several organizations, most significantly for two years as Issues Manager with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Lauren has been involved in the MMIWG movement from a very young age, including advocacy, activism and support work in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. Lauren‘s previous roles at UBC include Manager, Indigenous Initiatives at the Sauder School of Business and Indigenous Support Specialist and Educator at the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO).
Her commitment to serving Indigenous peoples locally, in BC, and across Turtle Island is what led Lauren to the work she has done for more than 10 years. It is the Grandmothers, the Elders, and the Knowledge Keepers in communities across this land that Lauren credits with educating her to better understand Indigenous history, culture and ways of knowing. This sacred knowledge is what guides Lauren in her work every day.
In her spare time Lauren can most often be found curling up with a book (she will read anything!), spending time with her large, boisterous family, or even working weekends at a local pub, just for the atmosphere.

Join Our Team!


Educational Consultant: Anti-Racist Teaching & Learning

Apply by February 13, 2023 @ 11:59pm
Job ID: JR11265

The Educational Consultant: Anti-Racist Teaching and Learning provides professional development programming, design, facilitation, and consulting services to the UBC teaching and learning community that embeds the values and experiences of BIPOC communities through intersectional, anti-oppressive and decolonial approaches to pedagogy and design. 




Upcoming Events and Workshops
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Incorporating Indigenous topics and voices into university classrooms is essential. Educational institutions have historically excluded Indigenous knowledges and privileged others. Not only is this an important pedagogical shift in curriculum, it is also a needed shift in order to create safer classrooms for Indigenous students; but where do you get started? Educating yourself first is fundamental in growing confidence in holding the complexities of these meaningful conversations.

In this session we will:
  • Explore introductory Indigenous topics through the Indigenous Foundations resource. We will touch on such topics as: terminology, basics of Indigenous land rights (for example: what is the difference between ceded and unceded?), and essentials of the colonial history of Canada.
  • Examine and share pedagogical approaches to building confidence in incorporating elemental Indigenous voices and worldviews in the framework of your course design.
  • Develop critical reflection within your course design, in understanding the impacts and triggers these conversations can have on Indigenous students and how to better support them.
  • During this session there will be discussion, opportunities for questions, and explore how to incorporate Indigenous Foundations and other helpful resources in your classroom.

Indigenous Initiatives Virtual Coffee Drop-In

Do you have questions about how to thoughtfully integrate Indigenous content and representation into your course work? Curious about how to offer meaningful land acknowledgements in online meetings or events at UBC? Indigenous Initiatives‘ Virtual Coffee Drop-ins are great place to explore these topics, connect with others on the same learning path, or just get to know our team. Click on the date you'd like to register!




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Kinship Corner

This section of our newsletter we are curating for Indigenous community at UBC to share heart filling spaces we can come together and gather. For non-Indigenous allies, we encourage you to always double check if events in this section are specifically for Indigenous community before RSVP-ing.  
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18th Annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium (IGSS)

Join us for the 18th Annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium. The IGSS will be held over two Saturdays with a keynote address on the opening day and student presentations to follow.

Date(s): March 6 & 13, 2021

Time: 9am – 3pm (PST)

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Alex Wilson will present on Saturday, March 6

Contact: grad.sage@ubc.ca or gps_indigenous@sfu.ca for more information

Job Posting: SAGE (Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement) Provincial Coordinator and UBC Indigenous Graduate Student Mentor

SAGE is looking for a highly motivated Indigenous graduate student to support leadership, communication, and Indigenous graduate development activities in the role of SAGE Provincial Coordinator and UBC Indigenous Graduate Student Mentor. In addition, this role will support the expansion of SAGE across Faculties, Units, and a broader range of disciplines across UBC-Vancouver and UBC-Okanagan Campus.




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Job Posting: Program Coordinator

The Office of Indigenous Strategic Initiatives (OISI) offers programming, resources, and consultations focused on Indigenous engagement. Our work is across campus (UBC-Okanagan and UBC-Vancouver) ISP initiative that supports the development of skills, resources, and capacity around Indigenous engagement and strategic Indigenous initiatives.

This Program Coordinator (PC) will provide program support within the OISI team for guiding ISP (Indigenous Strategic Plan) implementation through workshops (e.g. support planning, developing materials); conducting research and analysis of data relating to OISI projects; programming and collaborative ISP initiatives; synthesizing materials and preparing briefs in preparation for ISP-related engagement and consultations; and coordinating strategic programs and projects for the OISI team.

Job Posting: Curator, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art

The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art celebrates the vital and diverse Indigenous cultures of the Northwest Coast through the extraordinary work of Bill Reid and the presentation of exceptional contemporary art. We respectfully acknowledge the xʷməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and all the Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast, on whose traditional and unceded territories we live and work.

The Gallery is seeking a full-time Curator to facilitate exhibition and public education programs that are driven by Indigenous priorities and values. This position acknowledges that Indigenous knowledge, lived community experience, and respectful relationships are key to furthering the Bill Reid Gallery‘s vision and mandate.

This is an excellent opportunity for an experienced candidate to work alongside colleagues and community to showcase the best contemporary Indigenous art in one of Vancouver‘s unique exhibition spaces.

Indigenous Initiatives at Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
The University of British Columbia, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Traditional Territory
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre 217 – 1961 East Mall, Vancouver, CA V6T1Z1
Visit our website at http://indigenousinitiatives.ctlt.ubc.ca/