UBC's Indigenous Strategic Plan and IRSI

ISP and IRSI graphic


UBC’s 2020 Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) is now official, having launched on September 14th with a virtual celebration. The ISP continues the work of UBC’s 2009 Aboriginal Strategic Plan and responds to the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the calls for justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). 

Acting as a blueprint, the ISP identifies eight unique goals and 43 actions that UBC will undertake collectively in order to achieve its stated vision of being “a leading university globally in the implementation of Indigenous peoples’ human rights.”

In this blog post, we take a look at how IRSI’s activities support and align with some of the specific actions of the ISP. As can be seen in the above graphic, IRSI's activities are especially relevant to ISP Goals #3: Moving Research Forward; #4: Indigenizing Our Curriculum; and #7: Providing Tools for Success. 

Goal 3

Support research initiatives that are reciprocal, community-led, legitimize Indigenous ways of knowing and promote Indigenous peoples’ self-determination

What the ISP says:

ISP Goal 3 action items call for UBC to catalyze research that is co-developed with and led by Indigenous communities, as well as to co-develop research protocols and ethical research guidelines to ensure students and Faculties approach research collaborations respectfully and appropriately.  This goal also calls for UBC to provide Indigenous people engaged in research with equitable and timely compensation.

IRSI’s related activities:

ISP Goal #3 speaks directly to the mandate of IRSI:

IRSI's Mandate: To provide professional research support and services to Indigenous communities and university researchers to undertake collaborative projects based on community-led interests, reciprocal relationships, and principles of mutual accountability.

Accordingly, many of IRSI's core activities align with this Goal. For example, we are catalyzing community-led research by connecting communities that have a research need with scholars who can best support them and by facilitating ongoing research partnerships. We also identify funding opportunities for Indigenous research collaborations and support the development of grant applications as needed.

Based on an extensive engagement process with Indigenous community partners and researchers, IRSI has co-developed Principles of Engagement for Indigenous research and Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. We are currently working to co-create ethics guidelines specific to Indigenous, community-led research. Collectively, these three sets of guidelines will eventually form a Framework for Indigenous Research at UBC.

IRSI also supports community-led research by working with research partners to co-develop Memorandums of Understanding, Project Charters and other community-specific research agreements and protocols. We are currently working to create an overarching Indigenous Community Research Protocol.

Additionally, IRSI is in the final stages of development of Indigenous Finance Guidelines for UBC staff and faculty to follow when working with Indigenous partners.


ISP Goal 4

Include Indigenous ways of knowing, culture, histories, experiences and worldviews in curriculum delivered across Faculties, programs and campuses

What the ISP says:

ISP Goal 4 calls for substantive Indigenous content in all academic programs; equitable and timely compensation to Indigenous people who support the Indigenization of curriculum; and partnering with Indigenous communities to develop Indigenous Knowledge programs.

IRSI’s related activities:

IRSI is working to develop a two-part learning series on pre-engagement for Indigenous research collaborations. The Indigenous Finance Guidelines IRSI has developed will apply to Indigenous People supporting curriculum development. And our ongoing work to facilitate partnerships and relationships, as well as to connect researchers and community, align with action items under this ISP Goal. 


ISP Goal 7

Forge a network of Indigenous peoples’ human rights resources for students, faculty, staff and communities

What the ISP says:

The ISP Goal calls for a number of tasks related to IRSI’s work, including the creation of an Indigenous research information and communication portal; an online database of current Indigenous programs, initiatives and courses at the University; the development and delivery of Indigenous history and issues training for all faculty and staff; and the creation of structures and mechanisms to support Indigenous communities to partner with UBC.

IRSI’s related activities:

IRSI is working to create a database of Indigenous research partners and collaborations. 

IRSI’s website contains a section dedicated to Indigenous community partners, with information, tools and resources specific to these audiences. We also publish a quarterly newsletter and regular blog articles to disseminate information and share resources related to Indigenous research and researchers.

IRSI’s Environmental Scan of Indigenous curricula and courses at UBC, as well as OCAP and pre-engagement training also contribute to the realization of this ISP goal.

And a number of IRSI activities support the necessary structures and mechanisms for community partnering, including Indigenous Community Research Protocol agreements, a dedicated Indigenous Community Liaison on the IRSI team, and outreach activities via IRSI social media platforms and ongoing events.