Thank you for taking the time to explore the Indigenous context, as it relates to the School of Engineering, with us (the School’s Indigenous Caucus) this month. UBC Okanagan and the School of Engineering wish to acknowledge that the land on which the campus is situated is part of the unceded territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) Peoples. The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) was formed in 1981 as the inaugural First Nations government in the Okanagan which represents the 8 member communities: Okanagan Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Westbank First Nation, Penticton Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band, Lower and Upper Similkameen Indian Bands, and the Colville Confederated Tribes.
British Columbia and the Okanagan have an evolving relationship with First Nations. See, for example, the recent op-ed from Westbank First Nation Chief Christopher Derickson. Chief Derickson suggests that we start our journey towards reconciliation through “reflect(ing) on our present day realities.” Hopefully, our letters this month have led you to reflect and contemplate how you can contribute to reconciliation.
Don’t let the end of Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month stop you from continuing to learn more about the history and current circumstances related to Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Find ways to incorporate Indigenous themes into your day-to-day, whether that be in studying, teaching, or working. Consider reviewing the Aboriginal Peoples Survey to learn more about the social and economic conditions of Indigenous Peoples across Canada.
Together, all of us can play a role in moving towards reconciliation.
Drs. Benoit and Foulds
Drs. Collier and Tobber (incoming engineering faculty for July 2021)
School of Engineering Indigenous Caucus