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 Elsa Doxtdator-Jansson

TLEF Engagement Assistant 

Elsa is Mohawk from the Grand River Six Nations, a Spitz Fellow and in her final year of the BCOM program at UBC Sauder. She works on the TLEF project in addition to her work at the Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC) as an Indigenous Engagement Coordinator. She has prior experience as a Policy Analyst, increasing Aboriginal businesses' access to overall federal procurement, and as a Project Assistant and Student Instructor in the Ch'nook Business Education Centre teaching accelerated businesses courses to the Musqueam, Heiltsuk, and Squamish Nations. The experience working at Ch'nook opened her eyes to the power of education in Indigenous communities and the integral social impact of business in community, inspiring the pursuit of a career in Indigenous business.

In her work on the TLEF Project, Elsa aspires to build a foundation for the Indigenization of Sauder curriculum so that future students can incorporate the innovative approach to Indigenous ways of knowing into their future business endeavours.