Yesterday, October 3rd 2016 the Indigenous Health and Research Education Gardens at the UBC Farm was given a new Musqueam name: xʷc̓ic̓əsəm – which means ‘place of growing’ in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language.
A sculpture, named the Thunder Child by Algonquin artist David Robinson was raised. A marking stone was dressed with ochre and eagle down. We are delighted that the UBC Farm community came together to witness this historic day. It was a momentous day for everyone to recognize the meaningful programs and activities in this space. Long on unceded ancestral xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territory, these lands have always been a place of learning, community and healing.
“We are honoured and grateful to the Musqueam to live, work and learn in their traditional territories. For me the significance of the ceremony that took place, is a reflection of the good intentions, purpose and relations between UBC and Musqueam people.” said Eduardo Jovel, Director of Indigenous Research Partnerships. “It’s about learning to be respectful of the land and the place. It’s about the ways we develop meaningful relationships to the land and enhance land-based teaching and pedagogies.”
The Indigenous Health Research & Education Garden (IHREG) has been based at the farm since 2007, and until 2013 was overseen by the former Institute for Aboriginal Health. Today, as part of the Indigenous Research Partnerships within UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems, the IHREG emphasises teaching, learning, and research.
It aims to serve educational and research needs related to Indigenous food sovereignty while increasing participants’ knowledge and access to both traditional and non-traditional plants. As with the other Indigenous programs at the UBC Farm, the IHREG is guided by the principle that ‘food is medicine,’ and thus that a holistic understanding of health and healing includes the food that people eat. The Indigenous Health Research and Education Garden grows over 40 varieties of medicinal plants that are native to the region. These are cared for and used by the Medicine Collective, a group of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge-keepers who lead medicine-making workshops and walks in the Garden with the community.
In addition to its international, community-based research, the IHREG supports the Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness program brings urban Indigenous and recent immigrant youth to the Garden from March to October. To find out more about the program, view the program booklet and watch the CRUW promotional videos and the CRUW video from SPARC BC on Vimeo.