Langara College partners with Williams Lake First Nation on two funded applied research projects

Dec 5, 2022

Vancouver, BC – snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College’s Applied Research Centre has received funding for two projects guided by instructor Georgina Martin. Both projects involve partnerships with Williams Lake First Nation and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC).

The first, Secwepemc Culture to Wellness: An Intergenerational Model of Healing from Trauma Caused by Indian Hospitals & Residential Schools in British Columbia, was awarded $360,000 from the College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF).

Residential schools and Indian hospitals interrupted Secwepemc language and cultural knowledge transfer between generations. This project responds to these harms by embodying the knowledge of elders, the land, community leaders and educators. A key objective is to develop a model of healing that restores the transfer of ancestral knowledge from elders to youth with the goal of supporting the community by reducing alienation and suicide among Secwepemc youth.

“This project offers students the opportunity to learn about and practice community-based research while advancing the TRC’s support for healing from the horrifying history of residential schools,” said Martin. “Williams Lake First Nation will guide and support the process in support of their community.”

Partnering with Williams Lake First Nation and the IRSHDC helps ensure the healing model reflects and aligns with Indigenous community values and priorities. A healing program that puts the teachings into action to directly benefit youth and the wider community will be piloted and refined for implementation and adaptation by Secwepemc and other First Nations.

The second project, Empowering Repatriation of Residential School Archival Systems was awarded $50,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). This project will develop a model of community driven archival research to restore knowledge and dismantle untruths. The goal is to support the community by reducing alienation and empowering healing through sharing truths of the dark history of St. Joseph’s Mission.

Indigenous knowledges and priorities will guide both projects from the outset. In addition to promoting healing from trauma and reconnecting the generations, these projects support Indigenous sovereignty and control as Indigenous researchers and community members take ownership of their healing and reinvigorate a vibrant culture.

Applied research provides significant opportunities for Langara students to build first-hand experience. The funding will support the hiring of up to 16 student research assistants (RAs), and 20 community members and research staff who will receive careful training and experience working with community using Indigenous methodologies. In addition, training will be provided for up to 20 Secwepemc youth, and Secwepemc community members will be trained as peer researchers, building capacity that remains in the community.

Langara College acknowledges the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in these projects.

About Dr. Martin
Dr. Georgina Martin is an instructor in Aboriginal Studies at Langara College and for the past year and a half has served on the Tri-Council’s National Indigenous Research working group. She will provide the leadership and oversight of the project, ensuring its effective and efficient monitoring and management. As an experienced community-based researcher and community member who has built strong relationships with community partners through the development of this project stemming from past research, Dr. Martin will ensure meaningful participation of the partners and participants. This project builds on Dr. Martin’s PhD research with WLFN based on community protocols, intergenerational trauma and reconciliation. Co-applicants bring complementary experience.

About Williams Lake First Nation
The T’exelcemc, or Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN), is a member of the Secwepemc Nation (Shuswap people) located in the central interior of British Columbia. The Nation’s mandate and mission is to become a healthy and prosperous community and continue to develop effective governance. Since the mid 1990s WLFN has been an economic opportunity driver in the Central Cariboo, the main enterprises owned and operated by WLFN include UNITY Cannabis, Sugar Cane Cannabis, Sugar Cane Petroleum Products, Sugar Cane Archaeology, Chief Will-yum Campsite, Coyote Rock Real Estate Development, Coyote Rock Golf Course, and Borland Creek Logging. These enterprises do not only serve WLFN’s on and off-reserve members but the general public and tourists passing through our community.

About snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College
Located in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies education to more than 23,000 students annually. With more than 1,700 courses and 130 programs, Langara’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. Langara is also known as snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓, a name given to it by the Musqueam people on whose unceded traditional territory the College is located.

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Mark Dawson
Manager, Public Affairs