Public lecture Nov. 27 aims to bridge gap between university and indigenous knowledge

November 20, 2009 - 6:04am

Bridging the gap between people with indigenous knowledge and the academic setting is the focus of a free public lecture at Vancouver Island University (VIU) Nov. 27.

Dr. Mélody Martin and Dr. Laurie Meijer Drees, professors in VIU’s First Nations Studies Department, will present the lecture entitled Situating Indigenous Knowledge in the Academy as part of the Arts and Humanities Colloquium series.

In the last 25 years, there has been a significant increase in attempts to define, conceptualize, use and protect Indigenous Knowledge (IK).   In British Columbia, IK research has been tied extensively to the BC Treaty process while at the same time, academic institutions are currently displaying interest in “indigenizing” – or implementing IK – in their academic programs, curricula and institutional operations. 

Despite enthusiasm for this type of knowledge, little research has been conducted into the appropriateness and effectiveness of such initiatives within educational systems when the interests of Aboriginal stakeholders in IK, and protocols around IK have not been initially clarified. 

Recent research conducted by Drs. Martin and Meijer Drees suggests answers to basic questions related to IK and its place in post-secondary settings:  What is IK?  How is it expressed locally, in Coast Salish territory?  What is its place on this land, and within the academy? 

Focusing on VIU and our local First Nations communities, this presentation will strive to create a starting point for discussions related to IK and its application to post-secondary education.

The presentation runs 10 to 11:30 am, Nov. 27 in the Liberal Studies Lounge (Building 355, Room 211). Everyone is welcome. For information contact Katharina Rout( or Helen Brown (

Tags: In the Community