UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Project delivery with Indigenous communities and methods to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing Caron, Danilo


Influential inquiries, such as the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the 2019 National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, have emphasized the need to advance reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples. The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is influenced by such societal goals, but there is no definitive roadmap to reconciliation. AEC projects take place on treaty or unceded Indigenous land, which contributes to the imperative of developing project delivery methods that reflect the cultures and world views of the original inhabitants of the land. The problematic acquisition of Indigenous land by settler colonial society, combined with the increased acknowledgement of Indigenous knowledges, has elevated the practice of incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing in project design and delivery. As Winona LaDuke described, ‘Indigenous knowledge is the culturally and spiritually based way in which Indigenous people relate to their ecosystem’ (2002, p. 78). The challenge is creating the conditions for project teams to collaborate and learn from Indigenous Knowledge Keepers. This thesis aims to understand the project delivery methods used by two owners to incorporate Coast Salish values and knowledge in projects and to develop a framework to assist owners in choosing project delivery methods that facilitate the incorporation of Indigenous ways of knowing. Case studies for the City of Vancouver Sea2City Design Challenge and the University of British Columbia Gateway Building were completed to better understand the strategies and methods used by the project owners to facilitate the inclusion of Coast Salish knowledge in project design. The case studies were combined with findings from a literature review to create a framework to aid owners in this process. The Framework to Incorporate Indigenous Ways of Knowing is divided into three phases and four guiding principles. The phases include pre-project preparations and actions, project delivery actions and options, and post-project actions. The phased processes and considerations are iterative as owners complete projects. The framework’s guiding principles of responsibility to relationships, flexibility, Indigenous protocols, and continual learning were shown to be essential throughout the framework phases.

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