UBC Sustainability Scholar, Aaron Lao worked with the Musqueam First Nation (Musqueam) to identify principles for collaboration and engagement between the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Musqueam First Nation around sustainability and wellbeing. Aaron shares his internships experience.
WHAT’S THE CONNECTION BETWEEN UBC AND THE MUSQUEAM?
UBC’s Vancouver campus is located on the unceded, traditional territory of the Musqueam First Nation. Today, about half of approximately 1,300 Musqueam members live in the main Musqueam village, located adjacent to the southeastern portion of the University Endowment Lands.
Engagement between the university and the Musqueam community has developed over several decades with a
long-standing relationship between the Musqueam and the Museum of Anthropology.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL COLLABORATION?
There are a number of programs demonstrating the power of collaboration. Bridge Through Sport, Musqueam 101 and the Musqueam language programs are examples of a successful cross community collaboration. Another notable example is the Indigenous Community planning specialization at the School for Community and Regional Planning, which emerged in response to concerns surrounding the lack of Indigenous voices in planning
HOW DOES THIS PROJECT AIM TO SUPPORT MORE MEANINGFUL ENGAGEMENT?
For UBC community members, the report draws attention to designing a proposal effectively, making connections
respectfully, and the importance of building meaningful and lasting relationships.
For Musqueam community members, the report offers strategies for navigating the university, including advice on how to find the right person for collaboration and how to reach out and make the connection.
Overall, the report identifies six core principles: mutual benefit, timeliness, meaningful collaboration, listening & open communication, acknowledgment of history, and awareness of capacity. Ultimately, we all have a role to play in building a strong relationship between UBC and Musqueam, if not by direct collaboration, by education and awareness.
“It’s great to have these links between UBC and Musqueam. The UBC Sustainability Scholars Program, this wellbeing project, it’s really important for the relationship.”