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Native UW Scholars build connections at UBC

Seven students stand outside the UBC longhouse on a sunny day
NUW Scholars outside the First Nations House of Learning at the University of British Columbia. Photo credit: Marion Ferguson.

April 1, 2024

For the second year, the Canadian Studies Center, with generous support from the Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies (CAIIS), brought a group of Indigenous students to the University of British Columbia *(UBC) as part of the International Indigenous Paths project.

Six students stand around Dr. Bernard Perley in front of a blooming cherry tree.

NUW Scholars with Dr. Bernard Perley. Photo credit: Marion Ferguson.

Eight students from the CAIIS Native UW (NUW) Scholar program traveled with Marion Ferguson and Nadine Fabbi to the University of British Columbia over spring break to build and reinforce connections between the students and their peers, community, and physical space on the Vancouver campus. Over the course of four days, the group got familiar with campus by touring the First Nations House of Learning, the innovative X̱wi7x̱wa Library, and spending time in the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. Indigenous students from UBC led a campus tour and hosted the NUW Scholars for dinner and a beading circle in the šxʷta:təχʷəm Collegium – a community and physical space for self-identifying Indigenous students on campus. NUW scholars were also able to meet directly with graduate students and faculty on campus, including Dr. Bernard Perley, Director of the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies.

People stand in front of a mural

Mural by Ocean Hyland. Photo credit: Marion Ferguson.

This year, students had time to travel beyond campus, to experience more of Vancouver itself. The group enjoyed a meal at the only First Nations-owned and operated restaurant in the city, Salmon ‘n Bannock, and were given a walking tour of some of the many Indigenous murals painted throughout the city as part of the Vancouver Mural Festival. Beautiful spring weather made for a scenic visit to Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium.

The stated purpose of the International Indigenous Paths project is to increase Indigenous student participation in study abroad by developing connections and supportive structures for students, but along the way we have also learned that these trips are a very valuable way for students to see how Indigeneity is represented and supported by a different institution, and for us to learn from the successes and best practices of our colleagues at UBC.

Students sit in front of a large statue of an orca created by Indigenous artist Bill Reid

In front of “Killer Whale, Chief of the Undersea World,” by artist Bill Reid. Photo credit: Marion Ferguson.

The International Indigenous Paths project is funded by the IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) Program, through the U.S Department of State with funding provided by the United States Government and supported in its implementation by World Learning. This trip was supported with additional funding from the UW Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies and the UW Office of Global Affairs.