Indigenous Initiatives Learning Community goes on qeqən House Posts Walking Tour

Susan A. Point, Imich Siiyem – Welcome Good People, 1997. Stop 5, Museum of Anthropology.

The Indigenous Initiatives (II) Learning Community is a peer-driven professional development community intended for participants who took part in a series of workshops on integrating Indigenous perspectives into their work (the II Design Series).

The purpose of the II Learning Community is to support members to support members to articulate and take actions on their own professional development goals and learning related to Indigenous engagement in teaching and learning. This year we have introduced some more structure to the program to support deeper connections for participants with their own practices.

Since stepping into the new year, the II Learning Community participated in a self-guided walking tour of the Musqueam house posts on campus. We used qeqən House Posts, the guide developed by Jordan Wilson, a member of the Musqueam First Nation, to help us situate the relationships between Musqueam’s house posts and the history of how UBC came to be situated here. qeqən is an initiative of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery.


Brent Sparrow Jr., qiyəplenəxʷ house post, 2012. Stop 3, Allard School of Law.

We had the opportunity to hear reflections from a couple of participants about  the walking tour, how they can further their learning on being guests on Musqueam territory, and how this impacts their teaching. 

“When I was an undergraduate student at UBC, I hadn’t noticed much Indigenous representation across campus, especially of Musqueam culture given where UBC is situated. Admittedly, a large part of it was my own lack of awareness. Now, as a faculty member, I wanted to do what I can to make sure that future students don’t make the same mistake of lacking awareness. The qeqən walking tour was helpful in emphasizing Musqueam presence on campus, particularly the posts that many people walk by every day without paying attention to their significance. What I learned during the walking tour, I will implement into my Jump Start sessions with first year students so that as I show them where their classes are, they’ll see the locations of their classes in relation to these posts, and think about the posts’ significance every time they walk my the posts.” — Ben Cheung, Lecturer, Indigenous Initiatives Coordinator, Department of Psychology

“As I stood in front of the House Post at Totem Park observing the design and weathered look of the wood, my attention turned to the plaque commemorating the origins of the name of the student residences there. My mind was taken back to childhood in the 1960s or 70s when my parents brought my sisters and I out to visit the site of what I would call “Totem Park” somewhere on what is now UBC’s South Campus. Nestled in a bit of a wooded glade was a wooden Long House and two or more “totem poles”. This memory has spurred me to want to learn more about what happened to that original site.” — Catherine Douglas, Lecturer, Vancouver School of Economics


Interested in doing your own self-guided tour? Contact the Belkin to take part in one of their facilitated tours or pick up a copy of the qeqən booklet at CTLT.