Dear members of the UBC community.
I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am speaking to you from the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.
Earlier this week, I had the honour of signing, on UBC’s behalf, a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tŝilhqot’in National Government.
The signing demonstrates our joint commitment to defining new paths toward meaningful reconciliation, recognition of Indigenous self-determination, and respect for Indigenous human rights as articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in the concrete advancement of UBC’s 2021 Indigenous Strategic Plan.
The MOU acts as a reminder of all we’ve learned together, and that we still have more to learn in partnership with each other about how to engage in community-based research that is reciprocal and respectful.
This is a major milestone in our relationship, a relationship that will continue to deepen, built on strong, resilient relationships and friendships as the foundation.
I acknowledge the years of relationship and trust building that have led to this Memorandum of Understanding and Indigenous Knowledge Protocol Agreement.
I would like to give special thanks to the UBC Indigenous Research Support Initiative for holding and supporting many of the researcher – community relationships, the Centre for Environmental Assessment Research and Allard School of Law for their role serving as research coordination and connection points with Tŝilhqot’in Nation.
UBC continues to strive to improve its research collaborations with Indigenous partners and I see this relationship between Tŝilhqot’in (chil-KOH-tin) and UBC as a model for healthy partnerships between academia and Indigenous Peoples.
Furthering the relationship between the Tŝilhqot’in people and UBC inspires new cutting-edge research and a mutually beneficial excellence in knowledge generation and education.
This MOU acts as a reminder of all we’ve learned together, and that we still have more to learn in partnership with each other about how to engage in community-based research that is mutually reciprocal and respectful.
This week’s unsung heroes are Dr. John -Tyler Binfet and Freya Green from the B.A.R.K. program at UBC Okanagan. Now in its eighth year, B.A.R.K. – or Building Academic Retention through K9s – is designed to support the emotional well-being of university students grappling with challenges around homesickness, social isolation, and integration into the university community.
B.A.R.K. programming consists of both intervention studies and community drop-in services. At this time of year, with the stress of exams and holidays, programs such as B.A.R.K. are more important than ever. Thank you, John-Tyler, Freya and all the canines of B.A.R.K.
Best wishes everyone, and stay safe.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor