Join IRSI in Welcoming Indigenous Scholars and Staff to UBC

UBC Okanagan Story Poles and UBC Vancouver Musqueam Welcome Pole

2020 was one of the most difficult years we have collectively faced, and with it now behind us, we’ve decided to publish a good news story on the blog to usher in the new year. To that end, we dedicate our first post of 2021 to welcoming the new Indigenous faculty and staff who joined UBC in 2020.  These exceptional individuals will undoubtedly strengthen and enhance the university, and we are excited for the opportunity to support their work this year and into the future.

President Santa Ono officially installed the Honourable Steven Point (xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl) as UBC’s 19th Chancellor at a ceremony in November 2020. A member of the Skowkale First Nation, Point is the first ever Indigenous person to be appointed to this highly regarded role.

Joining UBC’s Vancouver-Point Grey Campus on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Territory

The Faculty of Education’s Department of Educational Studies (EDST) welcomed new Professor Dr. Margaret Kovach (Sakewew p’sim iskwew). Of Nêhiyaw and Saulteaux ancestry, Dr. Kovach is the author of Indigenous Methodologies:  Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts. IRSI will present Dr. Kovach as part of the 2021 Speaker Series. Stay tuned for more information!

Dr. Harpell Montgomery (Monty), who is Mi’kmaq and Irish Canadian, joined UBC’s School of Social Work as an Associate Professor.

Dr. Billy-Ray Belcourt joined UBC’s Creative Writing Program as Assistant Professor. Dr. Belcourt is and award-winning poet, author and scholar and member of the Driftpile Cree Nation.

Dr. Amy Parent (Noxs Ts’aawit) also joined EDST as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Parent, who is of Nisga’a and settler ancestry, is on a one year leave from her position at SFU.

Nisga’a scholar Dr. Andrea Reid has accepted the position of Assistant Professor, Indigenous Fisheries with the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at UBC. Her post begins in January 2021.

Dr. Lindsay Lachance, who is from an Algonquin Anishinaabe family, joined UBC as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at UBC. Dr. Lachance is on leave until July, 2021.

Dr. Bernard C. Perley joined UBC as the new Director of the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies in the Faculty of Arts. An Indigenous anthropologist and leading scholar in the field of language revitalization, Dr. Perley is an enrolled member of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick.

Kayla Lar-Son joined the Xwi7xwa Library as the new Indigenous Programs and Services Librarian. Kayla is a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta, with mixed Ukrainian heritage.

Joining UBC’s Okanagan Campus on Syilx Okanagan Territory

Dr. Gabrielle Legault started as Assistant Professor, Indigenous Studies within the Department of Community, Culture and Global Studies. Dr. Legault is Métis and formerly held the position of Indigenous Community Liaison at UBC Okanagan.

Dr. Bill Cohen joined the School of Education as Assistant Professor. Dr. Cohen is Syilx Okanagan with extensive kinship ties throughout BC and Washington.

Dr. Kerrie Charnley and Dr. Monica Good joined the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) as Assistant Professors of Teaching. Dr. Charnley is Katzie First Nation and teaches English and Cultural Studies. Dr. Good teaches Spanish Language and World Literatures.

Dr. Michael Benoit joined the School of Engineering as Assistant Professor.

Although not new to UBC Okanagan, Adrienne Vedan has been appointed to the role of Senior Advisor to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor on Indigenous Affairs. She also still holds the position of Director of Aboriginal Programs and Services (APS). Adrienne is Syilx Okanagan and assumes her new role from Ian Cull, who has retired and will be missed.

Kristen Pike joined Adrienne’s team as Associate Director of APS in 2020, leaving her role at UBC’s Vancouver campus as Associate Director of Strategic Indigenous Enrolment Initiatives and partial secondment as Associate Director of the First Nations House of Learning. Kristen is Tŝilhqot'in and Syilx.

The School of Nursing welcomed Elder Jane Taylor as the Indigenous Health and Cultural Safety, Education, and Elder Research Advisor. Elder Taylor is a member of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation.

The School of Nursing also sends good wishes to Elder Jessie Nyberg as she retired in July of 2020. A member of the Canoe Creek Band of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, Elder Nyberg worked with Nursing for many years and helped found its Cultural Safety Program. 

UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan, launched in September 2020, includes a number of action items aimed making UBC an accessible, welcoming, and supportive environment for Indigenous faculty, staff and students. While we know that there is still work to be done in this area, we ask that you join us in welcoming these and other Indigenous individuals who are new to UBC, and make them feel valued, supported and at home.

Although this list is extensive, please forgive us for those we may have missed and let us know! And if you are an Indigenous faculty, staff, or student, or are working in collaboration with Indigenous communities, feel free to reach out and connect with IRSI anytime. At UBC Vancouver: At UBC Okanagan:

We are here to support and amplify your work!