Recognizing and combating colonial practices within institutions

Monday, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day! This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, as part of the Celebrate Canada program, which also includes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27) and Canada Day (July 1).

Helen Brown & Elder Vera Newman
Helen Brown & Elder Vera Newman, ‘Namgis First Nation, in Yalis (Alert Bay, Commorant Island, BC). Photo credit Gwantilakw Cranmer, ‘Namgis First Nation.

We recommend joining in a live stream at 6:00 pm tonight from UBC’s Museum of Anthropology’s event, featuring Indigenous hip hop dancers.

Native hip hop festival


Hold the date! To cap off our month-long program for National Indigenous History Month, APSC is hosting a panel of Indigenous faculty on June 29, 3:30-5:00pm.

Indigenous Perspectives within Applied Science Professions and Academia

Our goal is to help raise awareness, engage in dialogue, and discuss actions that we can and should be taking as a Faculty. This panel will elevate Indigenous voices within our disciplines and share practices and knowledge Indigenous people bring to enrich the work of our Faculty.

Event information

Dr. Helen Brown, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, research and engagement 

Helen focuses her research through participatory and Indigenous-led studies to promote equity at the intersections of health and justice. Read about how Helen, as lead researcher, has woven in the importance of community collaboration, building relationships and reinforcing cultural connection in her research: Art and Journaling Helps Break Down Prison Walls for Indigenous Men. This article reinforces how colonialism, through the institutions, practices and carceral system, continue to harm Indigenous people. The article also serves to show how Helen’s work, in collaboration with Elders, community partners, peers and others, has helped to recognize and combat the acceptance of colonial practices within our institutions.

About the featured photo above, Helen says: 

Elder Vera and I have been working together on community and Indigenous led project on culture and health promotion. Our research team is called “Sanala” – Kwakwala word for “To be whole”.

For more info, visit: 2019 CUES Fund Recipients

Helen’s work is, first and foremost, relationship-centred, guided by trauma-informed practices, cultural safety and decolonializing methodologies. Helen co-leads, with Dr. Amanda Slaunwhite  of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, the UBC Transformative Health and Justice established research cluster funded by the UBC Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, a network of Indigenous Elder, peers, academic and graduate trainees.  Read more about Helen's  research and her cross-disciplinary New Frontier's research project.

Dr. Madjid Mohseni, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering has a proven record of mobilizing research into practice

As the Scientific Director of RESEAU Centre for Mobilizing Innovation RESEAU-CMI (a Centre of Excellence funded through Tri-Agency, that evolved from an NSERC Strategic Network, RES’EAU-WaterNET -2008-2019), he has successfully led multidisciplinary research teams in conducting community-based water improvement projects in Indigenous communities. Madjid has dedicated his expertise and research activities towards pursuing water health equity for Indigenous and rural communities in Canada.

 About his work, Madjid says:

We understand and uphold that decisions and solutions on First Nation water issues must be done with First Nations involvement and input. RESEAU’s “Community Circle” approach involves the decision-makers at the First Nation, operators, community members, and leaders in a truly First Nation driven First Nation-led process with allies like RESEAU and Industry partners to derive a workable and sustainable solution. RESEAU has collaborated with several First Nations to eliminate their long-term drinking water advisories.

The "Community Circle" is built on an obligation rooted in norms of critical engagement that are constitutive of scientific inquiry.  Read more at RESEAU-CMI's Website.

Learn more about Indigenous history


Watch this short video about Work 2 Give: A Journey of Healing, to learn more about how impactful and relevant the work we do is for Indigenous peoples and communities. 

Read this summary on RESEAU by the BBC: Finding a solution to Canada's Indigenous water crisis - BBC News

Watch this explainer video on RESEAU Centre for Mobilizing Innovation

Engineers Canada partnered with the Canadian Urban Institute for a virtual screening of Douglas Cardinal: Architect of the Future on June 3. Written by his wife, Idoia Arana-Beobide Cardinal, and produced by Douglas Cardinal, the 30-minute film is a biographic film of the world-renowned architect and explores how his Anishinaabe culture and the Indigenous knowledge system fuels his architectural creativity. The film screening was followed by a live conversation between Cardinal and Randy Herrmann, a member of Engineers Canada’s Indigenous Advisory Committee and Director of the Engineering Access Program (ENGAP) at the University of Manitoba. Unfortunately, the film is not yet available to stream, however the conversation is wonderful to watch:  Engineers Canada celebrates Indigenous engineers during Indigenous History Month.   


Reconciliation requires more than shock and outrage — it takes action


How can you use your skills and gifts to make a difference for Indigenous peoples?

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