UBC Indigenous Strategic Initiative Fund - upcoming projects involving EOAS Faculty

September 9, 2022
Dr. Shandin Pete

EOAS Assistant Professor Shandin Pete will be involved with three upcoming projects funded through UBC's Indigenous Strategic Initiative Fund.

The first project, on which Shandin is the principal applicant, will explore the development of an Indigenous Science Research Seminar/Course Series. The focus of this project is to gain a better understanding for interest in and sustainability of a future course(s) on Indigenous Science Research, ways of knowing and Indigenous philosophies of science in the Faculty of Science at UBC. Shandin and colleagues seek to explore the development of a special topics pilot course in Indigenous Science, which will leverage the science and Indigenous expertise of the applicants. They plan to design the course to capture the diversity of Indigenous thought and perspectives of the Indigenous scholars’ respective Faculties and their own communities research traditions.

Shandin is a co-lead on “Yeendoo Diinehdoo Ji’heezrit Nits’oo Ts’o’ Nan He’aa (After Our Time, How Will the World Be)", a project led by the UBC Climate Emergency team and UBC Sustainability Hub, which will support the coordination and mobilization efforts of the Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG) to meet ambitious climate emission targets through expanded research and the practical application of Indigenous knowledge and science to develop climate solutions. In addition, the project will identify and enhance opportunities to support VGG’s nation-building efforts to develop skills and competencies that responds to the communities' climate emergency. The project will also learn with and from Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) about ethical, respectful and reciprocal partnerships that respect and activate multiple ways of knowing and being on the land and support Indigenous-led climate action. Finally, the project will engage students in multi-disciplinary and collaborative research initiatives that are at the intersection of Indigenous rights and climate justice.

Shandin and colleagues have also proposed to co-host UBC’s Inaugural First Salmon Ceremony in full and equal partnership with the Nations whose territories comprise what is now known as Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, as well as neighboring Tribes. This ceremony will create a remarkable on-campus opportunity for inter-cultural learning, for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to come together in celebration, and Indigenous Peoples to revitalize this cultural tradition. The resurgence of these ceremonies is central to the revitalization of Indigenous food and cultural systems and healing for Indigenous Peoples. In the Pacific Northwest, salmon are central to Indigenous lives, well-being, and knowledges. Since time immemorial, Indigenous Peoples from California to Kamchatka have acknowledged the annual return of salmon through ceremony to practice gratitude for the gift of salmon. This ceremony is a vital act of witnessing and intergenerational knowledge transfer where salmon are honoured through story, song, and prayer, and the first salmon caught is prepared, divided, and shared with those in attendance. Following this feast, bones and remains are gathered, placed on cedar boughs, and returned to the sea to nourish the waters and give thanks. This ceremony has been violently interrupted through colonization, thus altering the sacred balance between people and waters, but Indigenous Peoples across the Pacific Rim are putting it ‘violently’ back in place (the latter violence refers to the great strength and sound with which these practices are returning and made visible).

Learn more about Shandin's work: https://www.eoas.ubc.ca/people/shandinpete
Listen to his podcast Tribal Research Specialist
Read his most recent publication: Tribal Perspectives on Preventing the Introduction of Zebra Mussels into Flathead Lake