UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Respect, reciprocity, and right relations : learning and co-producing stories about the Chinese market gardens at Musqueam Ling, Sarah Wai Yee Ling


This thesis demonstrates the significance of the Chinese market gardens that once populated the Musqueam reserve, underscoring the respectful and reciprocal relationships that were formed historically. Through reflecting upon the collaborative processes by which stories about this history were recovered and recorded, this thesis also explains how the values that animated the relations between Chinese farmers and their Musqueam hosts served as an inspiration for the process of revitalizing these stories in the present. By recounting my involvement in developing collaborative educational initiatives on the unceded lands of the Musqueam people, I hope to provide my own limited insights into some of the core principles that any collaborator and researcher must learn, and some of the pre-conceptions they must unlearn, if they are going to make the serious commitment to ethically and respectfully collaborate with Indigenous knowledge keepers. Through experiences that challenged me to deepen my understanding of my roles and responsibilities as a visitor to these lands, and as a student and staff member working at the University of British Columbia (UBC), the reader can perhaps learn from my path rather than make common mistakes that outsiders often inflict upon Indigenous communities. The creation of educational resources involved non-Musqueam individuals working in collaboration with members of the community in order to identify needs and bring together the necessary resources. Such partnerships require constant care and a willingness to reflect continually upon how decisions are made, and how consensus is maintained through iterative and repeated consultations throughout the process from beginning to end. I conclude that collaborative knowledge making in general, and in particular with Indigenous communities, involves a) a considerable amount of time devoted to create and foster long term relationships; b) a genuine commitment to develop a connection to the territory and language of the community; c) a humble and respectful openness to recognizing misconceptions that need to be unlearned and work practices that need to be changed; and d) an attention to how reciprocal relations are needed both to identify and to create meaningful ways to give back to the community.

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