Llgaay gwii gina sk'aadGa 'láas ad Xaaydas gina Gan unsid

Enhancing business education with Indigenous knowledge

A long-term initiative to Indigenize UBC Sauder

Through a Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) grant and with additional support from the BMO Indigenous Teaching Fund, UBC Sauder faculty and staff are working together to infuse our business education mission with Indigenous knowledge.

The goal of the project is to weave Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, and competencies into the pedagogy of UBC Sauder, and to ensure Indigenous students are engaging in a healthy, supportive learning environment. Curriculum resources and training opportunities are being developed to support faculty to approach Indigenous topics in an informed and sensitive manner. This work is in alignment with UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan, and specifically addresses goals 4, 6 and 7.

A future that includes reconciliation must also include the challenging work of decolonizing established worldviews and approaches to business, education and research. This project specifically makes space for this work, and integrates across other initiatives from Ch’nook Business Education and other UBC departments

About Ben Wells

TLEF Project Manager – Enhancing Business Education with Indigenous Knowledge

Ben Wells comes to UBC Sauder from a diverse background as an entrepreneur, facilitator, student and community builder. Ben is of mixed settler and Indigenous backgound, including the Shxw’ow’hamel near Hope, BC, Métis of North West Territories, and Irish, German and Italian. He was raised in the territories of the Tk’emlúps te Secwèpemc (Kamloops) and Haida, and moved to the lower mainland in 2010. Ben co-founded the worker-cooperative Shift Delivery in 2011. Departing Shift in 2019, Ben completed a BA in Psychology at UBC, graduating last April.

Ben believes that cultivating the responsible leaders of tomorrow means more than just teaching students how to interact with Indigenous peoples in a respectful way. “The project aims to expose students and faculty to the truths and injustices of the past, break down persistent stereotypes and bring the complexity and nuance of the Indigenous experience into the classroom.”

Ben Wells

About Maria Jose Athie Martinez

TLEF Project Assistant 

Maria Jose comes to UBC Sauder as a Ph.D. Candidate in Curriculum Studies from the UBC Faculty of Education. She has over two decades of experience developing curricula based on decolonized and Indigenous methodologies, focusing on the interests and needs of local Indigenous communities and elders. Maria Jose is a Two-Spirit Mestiz@ from Mexico, with mixed-race background: Lebanese, Basque, Spanish, English, French, and Indigenous from Guerrero State. She was born in Mexico City and raised in the traditional and unceded territory of the Mayan, in Quintana Roo, Mexico. She has been an uninvited visitor on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) traditional territories for over seven years now.

Maria Jose is honored to be part of this team and to witness the essential journey UBC Sauder is undertaking through the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives. She believes that these perspectives will facilitate unique approaches to business education and research, ultimately helping to enrich and expand the positive impacts UBC Sauder offers to its communities.

Maria Jose

About Eric Surette

TLEF Research and Engagement Assistant 

Eric is Nuu-chah-nulth, Gitxan and Kwakwaka’wakw, a Ch’nook scholar, currently completing his final year at UBC Sauder. Eric has abundant prior experience working with the Indigenous community at UBC. Over the course of his time at UBC, he has worked as both a Collegia Advisor for the Indigenous Collegia as well as a research assistant for Ch’nook Indigenous Business Education. These experiences have been instrumental in curating his understanding for what it’s like to be an Indigenous student at UBC, and it is with this understanding that he hopes to help Indigenize the curriculum within UBC Sauder. His vision is that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike can recognize and integrate the importance of Indigenous knowledge and it’sundeniable relevance in today's business world. As a member of the TLEF project team, Eric provides assistance with research, community engagement and developing curriculum resources.

Eric Surette Headshot