New Faculty, Initiatives, and Events

Submitted by Dr. Jo-ann Archibald, Q’um Q’um Xiiem, Associate Dean for Indigenous Education

Greetings from the Faculty of Education! I am pleased to present highlights from the 2008/09 academic year and to tell you about some of our plans for the 2009/10 academic year.


We welcome two new Indigenous faculty members: Drs. Mark Aquash and Tracy Friedel. Dr. Mark Aquash is from Walpole Island First Nation in southern Ontario. He completed his Ed.D. from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Dr. Aquash is the NITEP Director and also joins the Educational Studies Department. His bio and information about NITEP faculty and program activities are included in the NITEP submission for this newsletter. Dr. Tracy Friedel is Métis from Stony Plain, Alberta. She joins the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy. Dr. Friedel completed her Ph.D. in the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. Her research focuses on urban Aboriginal young people and place based education. Dr. Michael Marker, Ts”kel Director has returned from his sabbatical.  Dr. Rod McCormick is in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education. Dr. Jan Hare will be on sabbatical during 2009/10. I am the Associate Dean for Indigenous Education and am a member of the Department of Educational Studies. We are either finalizing or searching for four new Indigenous faculty positions, which we hope will reach fruition by the end of the 2009-10 academic year. There are many faculty members who teach NITEP courses and who work with Indigenous graduate students. Their involvement is greatly appreciated. Our Indigenous faculty membership is growing and we look forward to working cooperatively within our Faculty of Education and across the university on Indigenous undergraduate and graduate education and research.

Indigenous Academic Initiatives and Events

In March 2009, SAGE (Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement), the Indigenous Education Institute of Canada, Ts”kel Graduate Studies, and the First Nations House of Learning sponsored the seventh annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium. The theme Travelling Canoes: Carrying Indigenous Knowledges for Transdisciplinary Communities brought eighty-five participants together to hear keynote speakers, Drs. Charles Menzies from the UBC Department

of Anthropology and Makere Stewart-Harawira from the University of Alberta, Education Faculty. Twenty graduate students presented highlights of their research and Musqueam Elders Rose Point and Larry Grant also shared their wisdom. This annual symposium is organized by graduate students. Look for announcements for the March 2010, eighth annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium.

SAGE continues to offer a province-wide inter-institutional and multi-disciplinary peer support and mentoring program for Indigenous graduate students and students involved in Indigenous research. Our sites are located at the University of British Columba (Vancouver and Okanagan), Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, and the University of Northern British Columbia. This past year the SAGE membership participated in a research study that examined the transitional experiences of Aboriginal students as they enrolled in and completed their studies. In 2009-10, three transitional pilots will take place at seven universities in B.C. – Aboriginal Transitions: Undergraduate to Graduate

(AT:U2G). Various types of information about accessing, applying to, entering, and completing masters’ programs will be developed and housed on a web portal. An undergraduate version of SAGE will be implemented at participating universities. The undergraduate SAGE will use and evaluate the materials as well as engage in social media/networking. We are very excited about this transition initiative.

The Indigenous Education Institute of Canada (IEIC) partnered with other centers and institutes to host visiting scholars from New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and from across Canada. In 2008, the IEIC became the university sponsor for the annual theme issue of the Canadian Journal of Native Education. The senior editors, Jo-ann Archibald (UBC), Celia Haig-Brown (York University), and Lynne Davis (Trent University) worked with ten graduate students to publish Indigenous Knowledges and the University. This theme issue included twenty articles by thirty-three authors making it a very rich volume. The 2010 theme issue Connecting to Spirit in Research will be co-edited by Jo-ann Archibald (UBC), Jean Paul Restoule (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/ University of Toronto), and graduate students from their respective universities.

In the coming year, we look forward to working with the UBC Teacher Education Office in the development of a core course about Aboriginal Education that all teacher education candidates will take, and to engaging in planning for future Indigenous graduate programs of study, particularly at the doctoral level.

If you have any questions about Indigenous Education within the Faculty of Education please contact me or Faye Deabreu at