The purpose of the Indigenous Portal is to inform visitors about UBC Vancouver’s commitment to Indigenous engagement on campus and beyond, in addition to being an information resource for Aboriginal students, faculty and the wider community.
On this site, the term most commonly used to refer to First Nation, Métis and Inuit people as a single group, including students, faculty and staff, is “Indigenous.” Where “Aboriginal” has been used, this is because the term still applies in the context in which it is used, for instance, “Aboriginal students.” In this case, UBC asks students to self-identify as Aboriginal rather than Indigenous. Therefore, it is better to maintain this reference in a formal context. Less formally, however, “Indigenous students” is used as the term “Indigenous” is increasingly being used by First Nations, Métis and Inuit people themselves when they refer to themselves in a collective manner, as are others. In other instances where “Aboriginal” is used, this is because it refers to something that continues to use this term.
The ovoid graphic used on this site and the larger graphic on the homepage are taken from the First Nation House of Learning’s logo, designed by Tsimshian artist Glen Wood (see below), which is also shared with Xwi7xwa Library. The ovoid is a common shape used in Northwest Coast Indigenous art and is used here in association with Indigenous initiatives at UBC Vancouver and its location in the Pacific Northwest.
Tsimshian artist Glen Wood created the First Nations House of Learning logo. It consists of a human face surrounded by two ravens, which also form the frame of a longhouse. The face is a humanoid with frog-like features and represents First Nations people. The house design represents the university, or “House of Learning,” which is the way some Aboriginal languages refer to schools. The Raven, a symbol of creativity and learning, is also known as a trickster or transformer in many First Nations cultures. As represented here, Raven is transforming the university to reflect First Nations cultures and philosophies, linking the university to First Nations communities.