Hello and welcome to the first EDI Dialogue and Learning Committee newsletter. As I write this, I am standing on the traditional and ancestral lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm people. The xʷməθkʷəy̓əm have lived here for at least 4000 years. I am a settler on these lands. I first came to Vancouver from Ontario starting in 2001 as a student at UBC. I have received, and continue to receive, so much from these lands, personally and professionally, despite being an uninvited guest. I offer my deep gratitude to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm as well as the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Stó:lō, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh for their care of these lands. Not just traditionally but today. I also offer my gratitude for all that I have and will continue to learn from Indigenous peoples. As part of what I receive from this teaching, I hope to support lasting and meaningful change of myself, my family and my community. Dear reader, I would love to do this with you.
On that note, I want to thank you. Thank you for your interest and commitment to a more Equitable, Diverse and Inclusive department, field, university and academic world. There is a lot of energy in the department and the world right now for EDI. This newsletter came out of a desire to communicate more about what is happening in the department, to share more resources and events to support your learning and to find ways to foster more meaningful dialogue within our community.
The theme of this first newsletter is an hugely important, timely and complex topic: Indigeneity in the Classroom at UBC: Inclusion and Representation. There is a hunger from students and faculty (Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike) for more Indigenous inclusion and representation in the classroom. However, this process needs to be taken with knowledge, care, respect and humility especially when students and professors are not Indigenous. We all know that when done without these principles, it can be harmful. It can be tempting just to avoid the entire issue. I relate to this, and I think a lot of us can. This would allow us to avoid making a mistake. However, as has been told to me and others by the Indigenous leadership at UBC, it is important to walk this path while knowing you will make a mistake but to walk humbly and with your ears and eyes open to feedback. While this can be scary, it is so important that we try.
Here are a few resources on this topic to help us along this path.
Dr. Lauren Emberson
Lead, EDI Dialogue & Learning Committee
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