Meaningful Reconciliation

Our engagement process was designed to be somewhat analogous to the story of the raising of the Reconciliation Pole, installed here at UBC in April 2017.

With the launch of the 2020 ISP on September 14, 2020, UBC became the first university in North America to commit to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), thus taking a human rights-based approach to its Indigenous strategic framework.

The Reconciliation Pole took a team of experienced carvers to complete over a number of months, led by Haida artist James Hart, with a small amount of carving by some members of the university community as a way of sharing ownership of the pole’s message of reconciliation. The pole depicts First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples’ genocidal experience with this country’s residential school system and how, despite this past, Indigenous peoples are celebrating their culture and implementing their rights.

With the consent of Musqueam, the pole was raised through the efforts of hundreds of people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, young and old, who together pulled on a handful of ropes in the same direction. This image alone is a powerful symbol of unity and a demonstration of what can be achieved when we work towards a common set of goals. The implementation of this Plan, like the pole raising, will take a major collective effort, with all leadership, Faculties and units pulling in the same direction from their specific locations.

We honour, celebrate and thank the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam) and Syilx Okanagan peoples on whose territories the main campuses of the University of British Columbia have the privilege to be situated.