Resources to build competencies related to reconciliation, Indigenization and decolonization

Compiled by Dr. Maï Yasué, Equity and Inclusion Strategist, UBC Equity & Inclusion Office

The following post provides a range of UBC and external resources curated to help students, faculty ands staff build their competencies related to reconciliation, Indigenization and decolonization.

UBC initiatives, guides, and tools

A selection of institutional and Faculty-based resources:

Indigenous Initiatives at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT)

Indigenous Initiatives at CTLT develops and offers programming, resources, and consultations focused on Indigenous engagement in curriculum, pedagogy, classroom climate, and professional development. CTLT provides support and professional development for faculty, teaching assistants, and graduate students who are teaching in face-to-face, blended, or online classes. Sign-up for their newsletter to receive regular updates.

Learn more

Indigenous Strategic Plan Implementation Toolkit

To help guide the implementation of the ISP, the Office of Indigenous Strategic Initiatives (OISI) has developed a set of tools which units can use to help situate themselves in relation to Indigenous engagement and to start aligning their work with the Plan.

Learn more

Weaving Relations Course 

Weaving Relations is a self-directed course developed jointly by the Faculty of Applied Science and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Weaving Relations explores Indigenous histories, people, and contexts, as well as settler colonialism in Canada, through the lens of Indigenous-Canadian relationships. The course considers how we got to where we are now, and how we can build a better future together. 

Learn more

Respect, Sincerity & Responsibility: Land Acknowledgements @ UBC

This self-paced, online course available through the Workplace Learning Platform covers foundational knowledge about what a land acknowledgement is and why we do them, explores and addresses some of the barriers many learners experience when doing land acknowledgements, and helps participants develop their own land acknowledgements.

Enrol now

Inclusive Teaching Resource from UBC Skylight: Science Centre for Learning and Teaching

Resources provided by UBC Skylight provide suggestions for different ways in which you can make your course and classroom environment more inclusive, including in relation to reconciliation and Indigenization. More broadly, UBC Skylight is a great place to connect with others engaged in this work.

Learn more

Indigenous Peoples Language Guide

Created in partnership with the First Nations House of Learning at UBC, this useful guide from UBC Brand & Marketing provides information on how to navigate the terminology and meanings associated with Indigenous peoples in order to produce the best — and most respectful — communication results. 

Learn more

Indigenous Finance Guidelines: A jointly sponsored initiative of Vice-President Research & Innovation and Vice-President Finance & Operations Portfolios

If you are going to invite Indigenous guests or speakers to UBC engagements, the Indigenous Finance Guidelines have been created to better support gift giving and compensation in reciprocal, respectful, relationship-based collaborations between Indigenous partners and UBC. The resource is of particular interest to those inviting Indigenous speakers or guests to classes or other UBC engagements. The Guidelines describe an alternative, flexible payment process piloted by the Indigenous Research Support Initiatives (IRSI) and conclude with a recommended financial process for wider adoption at UBC. 

Learn more

Two Spirit Teachings: Honouring the Sacred Space Between and Within All of Us

Starting at 1:03, the last two minutes of this video provide valuable perspectives that every aspiring school teacher should listen to. Harlan Pruden (nēhiyo/First Nations Cree), an Indigenous Knowledge Translation Lead at Chee Mamuk, an Indigenous health program at British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, and co-founder of the Two-Spirit Dry Lab ( discusses the notion of saying the “wrong thing” within this video that more broadly educates about Two-Spirit people and communities.

In addition to doing the “we will all make mistakes, assume the best intention” type talk, consider to also empower folks and remind them to call people in rather than call them out. I really loved how he started the question-and-answer period where he talks about worrying about saying the “wrong thing”.

Watch now

What I Learned in Class Today, First Nations and Indigenous Studies

A resource that helps with navigating tensions and supporting Indigenous students in the classroom. What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom is a research project that explores difficult discussions of Aboriginal issues that take place in classrooms at the University of British Columbia. The project examines the experiences of students, instructors, and administrators at the university to make these problems visible, better understand how difficulties arise, and to find ways to have more professional and productive classroom discussions.

Learn more

Speaker series, seminars and workshops

Speaker Series: Teaching & Learning in Science through the Lens of Indigeneity, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

This invited speaker series features prominent and influential thought leaders in inclusive STEM education. The series features guest speakers on topics relating to their expertise in inclusive STEM education that are of interest to the UBC Science teaching and learning community. Speakers will represent various disciplines (biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc.), identities (IBPOC, 2SLGBTQIA+, etc.), and specialties (curriculum, pedagogy, research). Participation open beyond Faculty of Science community depending on availability.

Sign-up now

Classroom Climate Series by Indigenous Initiatives, CTLT

The Classroom Climate Series is a set of professional development workshops offered once a month through the academic year and hosted by Indigenous Initiatives. The series provides a space for all members of the UBC teaching and learning community to share teaching and research practices, and to learn more about how to engage in conversations about place, power, and social location.

Learn more

Indigenous Speaker Series by the Office of Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office, Faculty of Medicine

Offering excellent seminars, the Indigenous Speakers Series is an original and important platform to begin, continue and advance the conversation about telling the truth and reconciling for the future.

Learn more

External resources and learning opportunities

The following resources are available beyond UBC:

Decolonization Is for Everyone by Nikki Sanchez, TEDxSFU

This is a great short TEDxSFU talk on decolonization by Nikki Sanchez (she/her), a Pipil and Irish/Scottish academic, Indigenous media maker, and environmental educator. Nikki discusses what colonization looks like and how it can be addressed through decolonization. “An equitable and just future depends on the courage we show today.”

Watch now

Land acknowledgement (a remote learning assignment)

This an assignment prompt for the land acknowledgements that I’ve used. I asked different students to do land acknowledgements and it proved a great way to build a sense of community (because people share details about themselves) and to teach them the art of connecting land acknowledgements to the topic goals of a session.

Learn more

Pulling Together Teachers and Instructors Series 2022

A six-part recorded webinar series offers opportunities to learn the importance of Indigenous worldviews and how to incorporate them into your teaching style and practice; assess current curriculum and pedagogy and considering them in relation to TRC, UNDRIP, and other Indigenous policies; review ethical and relational protocols within your institutions; and locate oneself within the work and what next steps are important to tangible outcomes. The Guide for Teachers and Instructors explores how to Indigenize your practice by building new relationships with Indigenous pedagogy and knowledge.

Learn more | Access guide

Camp Suzuki at Chá7elkwnech: Professional development for educators

A professional development retreat for educators of all backgrounds and grade levels (Kindergarten through to Post-Secondary) offers interactive and engaging seminars in Squamish Nation history, language, ethnobotany, culture, stories and stewardship in a welcoming, encouraging outdoor-education setting.

Learn more | Access summer 2023 program

Indigenous Corporate Training

Bob Joseph, founder and President of Indigenous Corporate Training, shares blog posts that provide great tips and resources on Indigenous engagement.

Learn more | Access blog

San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program

The San’yas team is a multi-racial team comprised of Elders, facilitators, registrars, curriculum developers, evaluation/researchers, and supported by Animikii an Indigenous technology company. The virtual team is located across the country from Nova Scotia to BC, continuing the mission of the program founder, Dr. Cheryl Ward.

Learn more

Short selection of book recommendations

A limited selection of engaging and short books to build your own understanding: 

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

“Richard Wagamese takes readers on the often-difficult journey through Saul’s life, from his painful forced separation from his family and land when he’s sent to a residential school to the brief salvation he finds in playing hockey. […] an unflinching portrayal of the harsh reality of life in 1960s Canada, where racism reigns and Saul’s spirit is destroyed by the alienating effects of cultural displacement.”

Learn more via CBC

Mamaskatch by Darrel J. McCleod

“Growing up in the tiny village of Smith, Alta., Darrel J. McLeod was surrounded by his Cree family’s history. In shifting and unpredictable stories, his mother, Bertha, shared narratives of their culture, their family and the cruelty that she and her sisters endured in residential school. […] The fractured narrative of Mamaskatch mirrors Bertha’s attempts to reckon with the trauma and abuse she faced in her own life, and captures an intensely moving portrait of a family of strong personalities, deep ties and the shared history that both binds and haunts them.” – from publisher Douglas & McIntyre

Learn more via CBC

An Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King

“Neither a traditional nor all-encompassing history of First Nations people in North America, The Inconvenient Indian is a personal meditation on what it means to be “Indian.” Thomas King explores the relationship between Natives and non-Natives since the fifteenth century and examines the way that popular culture has shaped our notion of Indigenous identity, while also reflecting on his own complicated relationship with activism.”

Learn more via CBC

Conversations with Canadians by Lee Maracle

“On her first book tour at the age of 26, Lee Maracle was asked a question from the audience, one she couldn’t possibly answer at that moment. But she has been thinking about it ever since. As time has passed, she has been asked countless similar questions, all of them too big to answer, but not too large to contemplate. These questions, which touch upon subjects such as citizenship, segregation, labour, law, prejudice and reconciliation (to name a few), are the heart of My Conversations with Canadians.”

Learn more via CBC