Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 54.38
Liaison Jennifer Martel
Submission Date Jan. 31, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of the Fraser Valley
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Indigenization at UFV

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

While Colleges and Universities across Canada are increasingly seeking ways of better supporting reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples, the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) has been taking several leadership steps to 'walk the talk' through the implementation of several innovative and leading actions related to reconciliation over the past several years.

We wish to submit these efforts for consideration for an Innovation and Leadership credit as they directly relate to several areas of achievement outlined in STARS, including sustainability planning (specifically, the Indigenization Plan), public engagement (specifically, public engagement), and student support (specifically, support for under-represented groups).

While we are proud of our work in this area to date, we recognize that there is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done to support reconciliation at UFV and abroad.

Programs, policies, and initiatives that demonstrate UFV’s reconciliation and Indigenization efforts include:

UFV's Strategic Indigenization Plan
In September of 2005, Aboriginal Access Services received Aboriginal Special Projects Funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education – Aboriginal Branch to work on the project Indigenizing UFV to strategically plan post-secondary education for Indigenous communities in traditional Sto:lo, Nlaka’pamux and the In-SHUCK-ch territory.

The project began by talking to people about developing an Aboriginal Studies department, enhancing Aboriginal research capacity, boosting Aboriginal enrolment, and improving retention and success of Aboriginal learners at UFV.

UFV Aboriginal Access Services worked closely with the Aboriginal Community Council sub-committee to develop plans and make recommendations for post-secondary education at and with the University of the Fraser Valley. The resulting document which was circulated to Aboriginal leaders, Elders, community education staff and to Aboriginal educators encouraged open discussion on the development and improvement of Aboriginal post-secondary education programs and services with the University of the Fraser Valley.


UFV's Indigenous Affairs Office
The Indigenous Affairs Office was established in the Summer of 2009 in response to the recommendations of the Aboriginal Community Council and UFV's Indigenization plan.

The Office reports to the Vice Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic and is the primary point of contact in the development of a Department of Indigenous Affairs at UFV.

The senior advisor on Indigenous Affairs advises and works with senior management and faculty on the:
- Development of Indigenous programs
- Recruitment and retention of Aboriginal faculty and staff
- Recruitment and retention of Aboriginal learners
- Development of strong linkages and relationships with Aboriginal communities


UFV's Indigenization Committee
The Indigenization Committee of the Senate has the responsibility to advise the Senate on measures to ensure alignment of academic, budgetary, and other priorities of the Senate with UFV’s Indigenization plans and initiatives. The committee is made of of the following:
- 12 regional representatives from the First Nations, Tribal, Métis, or Inuit community, or Aboriginal
community organizations, approved by Senate
- 3 Aboriginal Elders, one male and one female, and 1 UFV Elder-in-Residence, approved by Senate
- Provost and Vice President, Academic or designate
- Dean or Associate Dean, approved by Senate
- 5 UFV faculty members, approved by Senate, at least one of whom is a senator
- Director of Indigenous Student Centre or designate
- Senior Advisor on Indigenous Affairs
- 2 self-identified Aboriginal students, one of whom is recommended by the Student Union Society, approved
by Senate
- Teaching and Learning Specialist (Indigenization)


UFV’s Territorial Acknowledgement
UFV recognizes and honours the contribution that Aboriginal people have made − and continue to make − to our community. The university supports Indigenous learners and seeks to incorporate indigenous ways of knowing in the curriculum.Territory acknowledgement is a way that people insert an awareness of Indigenous presence and land rights in everyday life. UFV’s Territorial Acknowledgment:

“Long before Canada was formed, the Stó:lō (people of the river) occupied the land on which UFV is located. They lived in the Fraser Valley and lower Fraser Canyon of British Columbia, and they spoke Halq'eméylem, also known as the upriver dialect.”


UFV's Indigenous Studies Curriculum Committee (ISCC)
The UFV Indigenous Studies Curriculum Committee is mandated with researching and informing the process of Indigenization, the development of Indigenous Studies curriculum and programming at UFV.

The ISCC is a university wide committee of selected faculty members responsible for maintaining communication between faculties, and faculties and other academic units, to foster, coordinate, evaluate and make recommendations on the constitution and delivery of Indigenous Studies curricula that supports the goals of the university’s Strategic, Education and Strategic Enrolment Plans, and Indigenization initiatives.

The ISCC advises and reports to the Provost and Vice President Academic or Vice Provost and Associate Vice President Academic on matters related to the design and delivery of Indigenous Studies courses or programs at UFV.


UFV's Indigenous Honorary Doctorates
The Honorary Doctorate Degree is the highest form of recognition offered by the University of the Fraser Valley. The following recipients have received an Indigenous Honorary Doctorate:
- Steven Point (2000)
- Linnea Battel (2003)
- Elizabeth Herrling (2004)
- Stan Greene (2007)
- Tantoo Cardinal; Chief Frank Malloway (2010)
- Madeleine Maclvor (2011)
- Ray Silver (2012)
- George Littlechild (2013)
- Margo Kane (2015)
- Dr. Nadine Caron (2017)
- Siyamiyateliyot Elizabeth Phillips (2018)


UFV's Gathering Place
On May 11, 2012, the University of the Fraser Valley celebrated the opening of a new building at the Canada Education Park in Chilliwack.

The new building includes space for an Aboriginal Centre and a Gathering Place modeled after a Sto:lo longhouse. The entire wing housing these facilities was developed in consultation with the Aboriginal community.

The gathering place brings a modern touch to a traditional communal long-house design, with a sunken floor surrounded by layered bench seating, and a warm setting featuring B.C. wood. It is configured for traditional-style presentations and can hold approximately 200 people. The recessed floor resonates with a connection to mother earth.

The Gathering Place was built with special funding from the provincial government.


UFV's Ceremonial Use of Smoke Procedures
This document defines the procedure for smudging and other ceremonial use of smoke to honour the multicultural characteristics of the student body at UFV and to respect culturally sensitive ceremonies.

Its purpose is to honour the multicultural characteristic of the student body at UFV and to respect culturally sensitive ceremonies, smudging and other ceremonial use of smoke are accepted practices on UFV campuses.


UFV's Indigenous Students Centre
The purpose of our Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) is to provide easy-access resources and a friendly, home-away-from-home environment to help students in reaching their maximum potential. The ISS work to provide cultural and academic support, to help bridge the gap between the University and Indigenous peoples, and to help facilitate the Indigenization of UFV

Cultural events are open to all students, and include lunches, circle meetings, Elder visits and gatherings, workshops, welcoming ceremonies, and several other activities on and off campus.

ISC Services Include
- Advocate for students with other UFV departments
- Make referrals and coordinate requests within UFV and to community agencies and other institutions.
- Provide academic support, tutoring, and liaison with other UFV departments
- Act as a liaison with post-secondary education authorities and First Nation organizations.
- Provide information on courses with Indigenous content
- Provide academic and trades program information
- Assist with applications and admissions processes
- Provide information on scholarships and bursaries


UFV's Indigenous Studies
As part of UFV Bachelor of Arts, students have the option to complete an Indigenous major or minor.

In order to provide breadth of learning, courses are organized around four themes: Indigenous History, Social Relations and Governance, Land and Culture, and World View and Spirituality.

The program is focused on Indigenous ways of knowing, Indigenous issues, contemporary challenges, and processes of decolonization with the aim of improving Indigenous/settler society relations and forging new paths and relations.

All students have the opportunity to enrich their learning by participating in field trips, circle learning, interaction with Elders, Stó:lō cultural teachings, and special guest lectures.


UFV Courses with Indigenous content
32 courses have Indigenous content; however, only 17 of these courses have been developed in cooperation with and/or under the advisement of the Indigenous community. The seventeen are the newest developed courses, including Halq’emeylem (HALQ), First Nation Studies (FNST), Stό:lō History (HIST 103), and the Education (EDUC) courses developed for the new Aboriginal Culture and Language Support diploma. The courses are as follows: -
ADED 330x: Special Topics: Histories of Aboriginal Adult Education
ANTH 111: First Nations in British Columbia—Traditional Cultures
ANTH 112: Aboriginal Peoples in B.C.: Contemporary Issues
CMNS 099: Introduction to Written Communications
CRIM 211: Indigenous Peoples, Crime and Criminal Justice
EDUC 275: Contemporary Issues and Policies in Aboriginal Education
EDUC 290: Introduction to Aboriginal Culture and Language Education
EDUC 291: Intermediate Studies in Aboriginal Culture and Language Education
EDUC 447: Indigenous Youth and Schooling
ENGL 170x: Literature in Context: Aboriginal Cultures
FNST 101: Stό:lō Nation Development
FNST 102: Stό:lō Traditional Ways of Healing and Helping
FNST 201: Stό:lō Communications and World View
FNST 202: Stό:lō Social Structure
FNST 230: ACLS Praticum
GEOG 447: Aboriginal Geography
HALQ 101: Halq’eméylem Language I
HALQ 102: Halq’eméylem Language II
HALQ 201: Intermediate Halq’eméylem I
HALQ 202: Intermediate Halq’eméylem II
HALQ 210: Advanced Halq’eméylem I: Translation Skills
HALQ 215: Advanced Halq’eméylem II: Transcription and Orthography Development
HALQ 220: Advanced Halq’eméylem III: Composition and Story-Telling
HALQ 310: Advanced Halq’eméylem IV: Curriculum Development and Teaching

HIST 103: Stό:lō History
HIST 226: Native and Newcomer Relations in Canada
HIST 326: The History of Native Peoples in Canada
HIST 426: Indigenous Peoples and Warfare in Canada: Pre-contact to the Present
HIST 458: History of Indigenous Peoples in Latin America
SCMS 387: Canadian Native Peoples
SCMS 388: Minority Indigenous Peoples of the World
SOWK 392: First Nations Social Work

UFV Indigenous Teaching Garden
Showcasing carvings, benches, newly designed walkways, and Indigenous plants, UFV’s Indigenous Teaching Garden offers a peaceful and reflective spot to expand personal education. Find it tucked beside the Student Union Building on Abbotsford’s campus.


UFV's Shakespeare Garden
The Shakespeare Garden features indigenous plants as well as cultivars from other parts of the world, growing together in S’ólh Téméxw (the name for the territory of the Stó:lō people. In English, it can be translated as ‘our world’ or ‘our land’).

Some of the plants are in the garden because they are mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. Others are there because they have significance in Stó:lō culture. Plant signs identify the plants in English, Halq’emeylem (where available), and Latin binomial nomenclature.

The garden aims to create a space of beauty, healing, and contemplation–a space for quiet enjoyment and a space to reflect on reconciliation, particularly between Settler Canada and Indigenous Peoples, but also more broadly, to include the everyday ways that we acknowledge past wrongs, stop, and make amends.

The garden provides an outdoor educational space where students, faculty, and staff can learn about the plants and related stories, as appropriate, and that the garden will be a space of healing and beauty.

UFV’s Associate Vice-President, Indigenous
In 2022, UFV appointed Shirley Anne Swelchalot Shwwha:yathel Hardman as UFV’s inaugural Associate Vice-President, Indigenous (effective October 17, 2022). Shirley has also taken on the role of Interim Chair, Indigenous Studies.

Swelchalot is a resident of the nation of Shxwha:y Village, where she is a status member. This places Shirley just 15 minutes from the Chilliwack campus and 20 minutes from the Abbotsford campus. This location allows Shirley to actively engage in her community gatherings, cultural activities, and participate in the teachings and stories of the Shxwha:y and the Stó:lō people. These lived experiences have steeped Shirley in the reality of Indigenous history in Stó:lō Téméxw (the Fraser Valley), the contemporary strengths that exist, and the vision for the Stó:lō future.

When she moved back to S’olh Téméxw, one of her first roles was as District Aboriginal Education Coordinator for the Fraser Cascade School District. This led to her serving on, and then chairing, the Aboriginal Community Council at what was then University College of the Fraser Valley. Shirley’s first role at UFV in 2001 was as Aboriginal Access coordinator. While the primary focus of this position was to support Indigenous students and run a resource and access centre where students could come for help and find a home away from home, she quickly decided that for UFV to truly embrace Indigenous students, it needed to make the entire university feel like home, particularly given that it is situated on the ancestral lands of her Stó:lō relatives.

Indigenizing efforts by Swelchalot led to cultural events on campus including mini-powwows, the appointment of Elders in Residence, Indigenous protocol at UFV events, land acknowledgments, Indigenous art installations, and the use of Halq’emeylem in the university’s official coat of arms and in names for entities like the art gallery and events like New Student Orientation. Indigenizing at UFV has also meant the development of Halq’emeylem language courses, and Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledge certificates, diplomas, and a major and minor in Indigenous Studies as well as community events in partnership with local Indigenous nations and communities. UFV’s new strategic plan reflects these and further Indigenization goals and plans.

In addition to the various academic roles held by Swelchalot, she has over 15 years of experience teaching and mentoring students at UFV, UBC, and SFU (2008 to present). Courses taught include the History of Residential Schools, Indigenous Youth and Schooling, Indigenous Methodology, Indigeneity and Technology, Social Change, Social Issues in Education, and Introduction to Aboriginal Culture and Language Education.

UFV’s Researcher Uncovers Unmarked Graves at Kamloops Residential School
Dr. Sarah Beaulieu, a University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) anthropologist, presented a summary of her ground penetrating radar (GPR) investigation to media Thursday morning at an event held by Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, highlighting 200 “targets of interest” of what are likely to indicate human burials.

The Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation have identified Beaulieu as a collaborating researcher who’s work confirmed the probable unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS).

Beaulieu emphasized that remote sensing such as GPR is not the only means of knowing children went missing in Indian Residential School contexts. Beaulieu added that this fact has been recognized by Indigenous communities for generations, and that remote sensing provides specific coordinates to this truth.

Beaulieu, a specialist in conflict archaeology, joined Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Legal Council, KIRS survivors and other experts at the virtual and in-person gathering at the Coast Kamloops Hotel & Conference Centre.

Beaulieu’s collaborative approach with communities is a vital component of her work. In addition to partnering with Indigenous communities, she has used ground-penetrating radar to identify grave sites at internment camps that were established in Canada during World War I to confine more than 8,500 Canadian residents of Austro-Hungarian and German origin. According to Beaulieu, her work highlights her commitment to being of service to stories and histories that have been marginalized and often undocumented.

UFV’s Sqwélqwel Newsletter
Students who have self-identified will have this newsletter sent to their student email once per month.
The Sqwélqwel Newsletter provides information on:
Upcoming activities, events, and workshops
Elder's schedules
Funding information (bursaries and scholarships)
UFV updates + announcements
General reminders
Student support services


UFV Today - Indigenous Blog Posts
UFV Today is UFV’s news and events source. UFV Today provides indigenous specific stories and blog posts available on their website.


UFV’s Teaching and Learning Centre - Indigenization
The Teaching and Learning Centre has a Teaching and Learning Specialist for Indigenization and regularly offers employees workshops as well as other learning opportunities related to Indigenization.


UFV’s Indigenizing the Academy: Weaving Knowledge Systems Resource Materials
Lorna Andrews has created in collaboration with the Library a bibliographic collection of materials to support Weaving Knowledge Systems. The bibliography is seen as a start, blending

Western and Indigenous educational views.
The resources are a mixture of documents freely available online and UFV subscription journal articles.

Weaving Knowledge Systems (formerly Indigenizing the Curriculum) is a two-day workshop that provides you with hands-on experience and resources that will bring together Indigenous and Western worldviews based on your subject area. We will explore experiential activities to weave cultural safety/humility, Indigenous Ways of knowing and being, Indigenous worldviews, into your course(s)/practice.


The Aboriginal Community Council
The Aboriginal Community Council (Council) membership draws a cross-section of knowledgeable and experienced representatives from Indigenous Bands, schools, organizations and public-school districts. The Council was formed in 1995 at the invitation of UFV to provide advice, recommendations and guidance to enhance the participation and success of Indigenous learners attending UFV.

Over the years the Council has grown and, in many ways, gained momentum and strength through its quarterly meetings. Initially, in some instances, the Council was criticized as being “merely a sounding board” and not really providing voice to the needs of Indigenous learners and communities. More recently however, the Council has been instrumental in guiding and prioritizing the development of UFV’s proposals for Aboriginal Special Projects Funding, the Indian Studies Support Program, the Canada Research Chair and other relevant calls for proposals.

Past projects
By understanding what has taken place, we can perhaps identify some “promising practices”. Understanding what has worked and what can be improved will assist us to collaboratively undertake new projects and practices. UFV’s lengthy history of partnering and delivering programs and services in Indigenous communities can be captured by highlighting a few of these initiatives: -

Toti:lthet Centre: Officially in 1992 the Coqualeetza Centre and the University College of the Fraser Valley signed an affiliation agreement to promote post-secondary educational opportunities for First Nations’ people within Sto:lo territories and beyond. At that time Coqualeetza Cultural Centre, representing the twenty four bands of the Sto:lo people, was incorporated under the Societies Act of British Columbia, possessed a B.C. private trade school license, and operated a community learning centre for First Nations’ people, the Toti:lthet Centre.

Sai’kuz Substance Abuse Counseling Certificate program: The Carrier Sekani partnered with UFV in 1999 to address that community’s endeavor to stop the cycle of substance abuse. Delivering a program in Vanderhoof at the Potlatch House on the Sai’kuz (Stoney Creek) Reserve, UFV adapted the curriculum of its Substance Abuse Counseling Certificate program to meet the needs of the students within the community. UFV instructors traveled to Vanderhoof to deliver the program. The success of this program was most evident in the reciprocal learning. Faculty carried away lessons that can not be found in texts and the community benefited by training their own people to offer substance abuse counseling creating grassroots, native-run treatment options that respect First Nations traditions.

Fraser-Cascade School District #78: The most recent partnership struck between UFV and the Indigenous community is one which will see the development of twenty curriculum packages for the Fraser-Cascade school district #78. This partnership brings together teachers, administrators, community cultural resource people, the UFV Teacher Education program, Aboriginal Access Services and recent Development Standard Term Certificate (Halq’emeylem Language Teacher) graduates to work collaboratively to develop relevant, respectful Indigenous curriculum for grades k-10.

In summary, these projects provide only a snapshot of the collaboration between local Indigenous communities and UFV. What the partnerships clearly demonstrate is the heartfelt commitment by Indigenous peoples to promote education in our communities. Equally evident is UFV’s willingness to accept the challenges inherent in Indigenous postsecondary education. There is undoubtedly a collective commitment made by local Indigenous leaders and the institution to share vision, policy, action and governance for Indigenous post-secondary education that meet the needs of both the individuals and the diversity of the Indigenous communities.

UFV’s Indigenous Media
UFV’s Medis Space provides numerous Indigenous related videos and content, including “Indigenous Knowledge of Climate Change.

“Indigenous Knowledge and Governance in the Context of Climate Change: Latest Global Findings” with Tero Mustonen, Director, Snowchange Cooperative, Finland & Kaisu Mustonen, Researcher, Snowchange Cooperative, Finland. Snowchange was started in late 2000 to document and work with local and Indigenous communities of the Northern regions as well as with the Arctic Council, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment, National Science Foundation (USA). Snowchange has created books, photo albums, international conferences, political changes – Snowchange represents the positive change the North needs.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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