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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Community-university engagement : case study of a partnership on Coast Salish territory in British Columbia Bain, Margaret Mali


In the context of expanding community engagement efforts by universities and growing awareness of the past and current impacts of settler-colonialism in Canada, this study explores one Indigenous-settler, community-university partnership. Building on a framework of community-university engagement and decolonization, or decolonizing community-university engagement, this case study explores a partnership between Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society (Xyolhemeylh) and the Division of Health Care Communication at the University of British Columbia (UBC-DHCC). The ‘Community as Teacher’ program, which began in 2006 and is ongoing as of 2013, engages groups of UBC health professional students in 3-day cultural summer camps. The camps, designed to further connect Indigenous youth and families with their culture, were initiated by Stó:lō elders over 20 years ago. Xyolhemeylh staff coordinate the cultural camp program in collaboration with Stó:lō community groups. UBC-DHCC recruits UBC health professional students to participate in camps as part of the ‘Community as Teacher’ program. This qualitative case study draws primarily on analysis of program documents and interviews with four Xyolhemeylh and three UBC-DHCC participants. The findings of this study are framed within ‘Four Rs’, building upon existing frameworks of Indigenous community-university engagement (Butin, 2010; Kirkness & Barnhardt, 1991). Building on a foundation of relevance to the mission of both partners, both partners undertook risk-taking, based on their respective contexts, in establishing and continuing to invest in the relationship. Respect, as expressed by working ‘in a good way’, formed the basis for interpersonal relationship-building. This study provides a potential framework for practitioners and has implications for the Community as Teacher partnership, funding structures, and Indigenous-university partnerships.

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